By Staff Writer - February 11, 2021
We can all agree on one thing – 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging years in our nation’s history. Despite these challenges, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton has made a difference in the lives of others with a publishing milestone.
In February 2020, Hamilton released the children’s book “Fritzy Finds a Hat” to help families talk with their children as they tackle the difficult topic of cancer. The story follows Fritzy, a young boy who loves to skate and learns his mom has cancer. Throughout the imaginative picture book, Fritzy searches for the perfect hat to give his mom as she undergoes cancer treatments.
The book teaches children a powerful message of how their love and support sometimes can be the best medicine. It also expresses to parents the importance of involving children in the conversation in some way and allowing them to help. The subject is personal for Hamilton, who as a teenager lost his mother to cancer, and later faced and survived his own diagnosis of cancer. He has founded several education and survivorship programs and is a member of Moffitt’s national Board of Advisors.
“There was a big period of time where cancer was the ‘C’ word — you didn’t say it. And I think times have changed a lot since then [in terms of] the different options for treatment, how we celebrate survivorship, how we celebrate those battles won,” said Hamilton, a father of four. “But still, for a child to witness a parent or a loved one going through difficult treatments, it is good to be able to empower them to participate — in a healthy way — so that they know they can really have an impact and go through it with their loved one.”
When asked what kind of reassurances he thought children need when they hear their parents have cancer, Hamilton replied, “Ultimately, everybody wants to know that mom is going to be okay. I think this book creates a conversation. It creates a really healthy path toward people knowing that they can do something, that they can participate in this thing and be a part of the healing or provide assistance or to let that person going through cancer know that they are not alone in this, that we are here to support.”
He added, “We don’t necessarily have to shield our children as a default; we can empower our children and in a way that is healthy and cool and fun. It’s awesome to give our kids that level of power and confidence that they can do something [to help] in that way.”
Since launching this children’s book on World Cancer Day last year, there have been multiple live events with Hamilton reading the book, some including children and families impacted by cancer. Hamilton has also appeared on multiple television and radio shows to promote the book, which is available at Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.
Hamilton worked in partnership with Moffitt Cancer Center to develop the story. Proceeds from book sales support cancer research and Moffitt’s Families First Program, which is designed to help parents and their children adjust to the changes that occur within the family when a parent has cancer.