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Hamill treated for breast cancer

The Baltimore Sun

Olympic gold medal skater Dorothy Hamill is being treated for breast cancer at Johns Hopkins' Kimmel Cancer Center.

"I'm OK," Hamill said last night in a short telephone interview. "I'm still a little woozy. It's been kind of a hit in the head."

Hamill, 51, had to leave the starring role in the 19-stop national touring company of Broadway on Ice, but she said she would like to rejoin the cast later this month.

"I'll be up to normal things soon, but I've got to take it easy right now," she said.

Longtime friend Dean Moye, a production manager for Cirque du Soleil, said Hamill decided to go public with her treatment because she wanted to be honest about her absence from the show.

"She's been dealing with this for longer than she'd want anyone to know," Moye said. "She's got a good support team around her. It's still very early in the process. They're still doing tests to determine what steps to take next."

Hamill, who settled in Baltimore a decade ago with her daughter Alexandra, spent last fall on a promotional tour for her autobiography, A Skating Life: My Story.

The three-time U.S. figure skating champion won the Olympic gold medal in 1976 at age 19, then earned the world title a month later. She turned professional and later toured with the Ice Capades. Her distinctive "wedge" haircut and big smile made tens of thousands of young girls stumble bleary-eyed to their local rinks before dawn, determined to be the next Hamill.

In her book, she wrote frankly about her two divorces, bankruptcy and battles with depression and osteoarthritis, a degeneration of the cartilage surrounding the joints.

But in an interview last September with The Sun, Hamill said she felt "really blessed."

"I feel really lucky. Yes, I've had ups and downs, but I have my health and I have a great life, and I think it takes the downs to appreciate the ups," she said. "And I'm just so lucky that skating has always been there for me."

Last month, while the Broadway tour was on the West Coast, she joined Brian Boitano and Barry Manilow in a skating show at AT&T; Park in San Francisco that was taped for the Style network and televised Christmas week. Hamill brought down the house with her interpretation of Manilow's hit, "Weekend in New England."

During her stay in the Bay Area, she and Boitano visited patients at the George Mark Children's House in San Leandro, a pediatric hospice, and donated part of the proceeds from the show to it.

She finished the year on the Broadway on Ice tour and returned to Baltimore for surgery earlier this week. Boitano is filling in for her this weekend in Sarasota, Fla., and the next two dates on the tour.

Hamill said she would like to return to the ice Jan. 16 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and finish the final four dates of the season.

"That's just Dorothy," Moye said. "Whether she bangs her knee or bangs her head, she wants to get right back out there."

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