Scott Hamilton is counting his blessings.
After being diagnosed with his third brain tumor last summer, the Olympic figure skater learned at a February check-up that the growth — a benign pituitary tumor — has shrunk in size without treatment. Hamilton will open up about his health crises — and enduring determination — in the new PEOPLE and ABC News special People Icons: Heroes & Survivors, airing Tuesday, March 14, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
“The nature of them is to grow, and without treatment, they have no reason to shrink,” Hamilton, 58, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “So I was the recipient of a spectacular miracle. I’m keeping an eye on it, and there’s no treatment needed at this time.”
The gold medalist previously beat testicular cancer in 1997 and two similar benign tumors in 2004 and 2010 before he was diagnosed with his latest in August 2016.
After the latest health discovery, Hamilton made some changes in his life — and found solace in his Christian faith.
“I kind of heard a little voice when I first got the news, to get strong, so I decided to do that,” he says. “And it was about that same time that I realized things like that love to feed on sugar, and I go, ‘I don’t really want to do anything to give it anything it wants.’ So I just decided to give up sugar. That was the end of August, and I went back at the end of November, and they scanned it again, and it hadn’t grown at all. So I stayed with the program, eliminated all the unhealthy stuff — have been getting strong — and have been pouring myself into the word, and I really tried to draw as close to the Lord as possible. I went back Feb. 10, I checked in, got my MRI done, and it actually shrunk.”
- Tune in to People Icons: Heroes & Survivors on Tuesday, March 14, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC for more on these and other inspiring stories.
Hamilton — who with wife Tracie, 46, has four children: Jean Paul, 15, Aidan, 13, Evelyne, 13, and Maxx, 8 — says that the positive prognosis has only inspired him to make even more of a difference with his Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, which raises money and awareness to fight cancer.
“When something like this happens, it’s unbelievable. It would be like somebody…with any form of cancer or illness, it all of a sudden goes away? What? Without treatment? That’s crazy,” says Hamilton, who drinks a lot of water and added supplements and essential oils to his diet. “It was quite miraculous what happened. I never anticipated that at all.”
As for why the tumor has decreased in size, doctors said there is no medical explanation.
“The doctors basically said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,’ ” Hamilton says. “And it was very funny, the surgeon that I would use if I were to take it out, I go, ‘Can you explain this?’ He just smiled and looked at me and goes, ‘God.’ That’s it. Whoa. I was just a blubbering mess, like, ‘I’m not worthy of this.’ There’s so many other people out there who could benefit from this miracle.”