Sheryl Crow made a deal with Scott Hamilton: She'd sing at the Olympic figure-skating champion's 12th annual "An Evening With Scott Hamilton and Friends" benefit at Quicken Loans Arena if he taught her to skate.
"When the Winter Olympics roll around, I always love watching the ice skating," the 49-year-old nine-time Grammy winner says. "It's such a beautiful sport."
Apparently, Hamilton has held up his end of the bargain. Crow will be performing hits such as "All I Wanna Do" while the likes of Olympic gold medalists Kristi Yamaguchi and Dorothy Hamill glide across the ice at the Nov. 5 fundraiser for The Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative. The Cleveland Clinic program provides research funding and support to cancer patients and caregivers. Crow even hints that she might show off her beginner's moves. "All I can say is that people should buy a ticket and come to the show," she teases.
But Crow's motivation for serving as the event's musical guest goes far beyond fulfilling any ice-princess dream. She became good friends with Hamilton and his family after moving to Nashville in 2008 and meeting his wife, Tracie, at a mutual friend's girls'-night-out dinner. And, like Hamilton, Crow is a cancer survivor. She was successfully treated for stage 1 breast cancer in 2006.
"The cold hard reality is that sometimes we don't [see] what our lives look like until we're forced to look at them," she says. "That was what my diagnosis did."
The biggest change Crow subsequently made was becoming a single mother. She adopted sons Wyatt, 4, and Levi, 1, in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
"A lot of times we cling to the picture of what life is supposed to look like: You're supposed to get married, have a house and stability, then have children," she says. "You can live your life based on that picture and miss out on real opportunities."
Crow also decided against removing the small blue tattoos that are applied to a breast cancer patient's body before radiation therapy so doctors can specifically target treatment areas. For her, they are enduring reminders of the value of her life. But Crow doesn't live in fear of a recurrence.
"Fear," she says, "really doesn't serve any purpose."