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PostSubject: Parade.com Article   November 2nd 2007, 1:36 pm

http://www.parade.com/celebrity/articles/071101-elliott-yamin.html

I love you I love you

'Don't Let the Disease Hold You Back'
American Idol's Elliott Yamin reflects on his diabetes...his music...and his true love

Published: November 1, 2007

Elliott Yamin is proud. And he has every reason to be. The 29-year-old’s first single, “Wait for You,” just went gold; he’s still basking in the American Idol glow (he came in an impressive third in Idol ’s fifth season); he’s learned to manage his Type I diabetes and, as spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association, help others do the same.

In an exclusive interview, Yamin spoke with Parade.com’s Caitlin O’Toole about his illness, his fame, Idol …and the love of his life.

On Being Diagnosed With Diabetes

“I was diagnosed at a very young age. I was 15 going on 16. It was hard for me to adjust to treating my diabetes, but it was also hard to admit that I had it. I was in denial. That was a big hump for me to get over. I didn’t understand how I could just go from being a normal kid to having this incurable lifelong disease in a matter of a day’s time. I was very angry. I was very upset. I didn’t know how to deal with it and I didn’t want to tell people, I was embarrassed by it. And I certainly didn’t want to seem like some charity case.”

On ‘Inspired by Diabetes’

“There’s a competition called Inspired by Diabetes. It’s a freedom of expression competition where diabetics can share their stories through art, through music, through paintings and so forth. They can win trips to Italy, they can win backstage passes and concert tickets to my shows, it’s a really cool way for people to share their stories with everybody through art.”

“It benefits another program called Life for a Child, which raises money for developing countries around the world where there are kids with diabetes that lack insulin and medical care. So we’re also raising money to bring diabetics insulin who don’t have insulin.”

On Managing His Diabetes on Tour

“There are times during the day where I’m just relaxing and then I start getting dizzy and start getting anxious leading up to show time. All the anxiety that comes along with this gig affects my blood sugar. I just have to be more keen about how my body feels and check my blood sugar more often. Even so, I still get my highs and lows. But as long as I recognize the signs right away and correct them them, I am fine.”

“Quite frankly, I’m tired of taking insulin and pumping my stomach every three days and pricking my finger and drawing blood out of it every day – it’s a tedious, meticulous, annoying disease that never goes away. And I want to get rid of it like everybody else does.”

On Diabetes and Romantic Relationships

“I’m a little apprehensive about wearing the insulin pump—I have this catheter in my stomach. Some people just don’t know about it. They don’t know what diabetes is. People don’t know what insulin pumps are. So socially, you feel like an outcast a little bit. You have to tell people, ‘ this is what’s going on, this is why I have this thing on my stomach.’”

On the Love of His Life

“I have a beautiful girlfriend at home. Her name is Jamie Paetz. She’s a model, she’s 27, and she’s very beautiful. She’s the love of my life.”

On Being a Role Model

“I have no choice but to do my part and do what I can to find a cure and be a positive role model. I made a point of that from the very beginning that I was going to use my platform to do some good things and to do some better—whether it’s people with diabetes or cancer patients. It’s just such a simple thing to give to people. It’s just the right thing to do. Things can always be worse, and I always look at that.”

”It’s just important for me to spread my cheer and spread positivity around and help people. I come from a family with big hearts, so I love to put smiles on people’s faces. It’s one thing to do concerts, but going to hospitals to meet kids who are sick makes it all worthwhile for me.“

On Hearing Himself on the Radio for the First Time

“I was driving around L.A. And one of my buddies called me and said, ‘Hey you’re on KISS FM,’ and I turned it on and I got really jittery and anxious and nervous. I knew that I had arrived and it was official. I felt really proud.”

On Being 90% Deaf in One Ear

"Music’s something you feel. You have to feel it first before you hear it. So that’s something I’ve always felt. It’s always been in my blood. But [my partial deafness] never affected my singing or my musical gift.”

On American Idol

“I don’t have anything to do with that show anymore. That was two years ago. They treated us great. They’re great people, all of them. Simon’s a nice guy, he’s a good guy. Paula’s a little nuts but she’s great, and Randy’s a sweet, really cool guy.“

On His Gold Record "Wait for You"

“I didn’t know how huge the song was going to be when I recorded it but I knew it was going to be something special. But it’s really taken me and my young career to new heights that I’ve only dreamed of. It feels amazing, it feels great.”

His Advice to Others Facing Serious Illness

“Stay positive. Never lose sight of your goals and your dreams, because they are all attainable—no matter what you have or what you’re going through. I think the fact that I am living my dream and being really productive and embarking on all my lifelong aspirations is proof enough that if I can do it, anyone can. I try to tell everybody to dream big and go after their dreams. And don’t let the disease hold you back.”

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