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Elliott Yamin and Inspired by Diabetes

Six Until Me interview with Elliott Yamin

It's strange, how diabetes makes conversations between strangers easy.  Even when that stranger happens to be Elliott Yamin, American Idol finalist and singer of the Top 20 single "Wait For You."

During our interview, we talked about his type 1 diabetes diagnosis at the age of 16.  "I was feeling ill for about 2 1/2 weeks.  My mom [who has type 2 diabetes] tested my blood sugar and it was high.  This all happened on a Sunday, so we went to the emergency room, where they tested my blood sugar at 870 mg/dl."

Holy crap, 870 mg/dl? 

"So it was an instant change for you and your family, I'm guessing."

"Sort of.  We had a gradual change in diets, but I was rebellious about it.  I had to learn the hard way to take care of myself."

We traded stories about some of the more difficult moments with diabetes.  He talked about being on stage and under the hot lights, then dipping neatly into a low.

"There was a regular Pepsi there, so I grabbed it and drank it down real fast.  I felt better, but it was tough because drinking down all that carbonated soda so fast, I kept burping through the sound checks.  You know?"

I couldn't help but laugh - I'd love the opportunity to burp through a soundcheck.

Elliott spent several years on multiple daily injections and experienced a number of hypoglycemic seizures.  It wasn't until he was 21 years old, when he met a co-worker who was wearing an insulin pump, that he started thinking about pump therapy

"He showed me his pump and how it worked and all that."  He made an appointment with his co-worker's endocrinologist and worked hard to lower his A1C in preparation for the pump.  About four months later, he was hooked up and pumping.

As diabetics often do, we touched upon "a cure."Elliott Yamin

"I want a cure.  Of course I want a cure.  And I think we're getting close.  I'm happy to be able to use my position and my voice to be involved in these great programs and charities.  It would be a sin for me not to do anything [to raise awareness]." 

I agreed.  "Raising awareness is important.  It's good that you're public about your disease, unlike some celebrities."

"Well, it sucks.  Diabetes sucks sometimes."

Finally, a celebrity who acknowledges that it's not an easy condition.  He gets it.  Diabetes can really suck.  Raising awareness and working towards a cure is crucial.

One event that Elliott is involved with is the Inspired by Diabetes campaign.  This campaign asks people with diabetes, as well as their family, friends and healthcare professionals, to express how diabetes has impacted their lives — and share those stories with others around the world.  Elliott will be helping to judge entries in the Inspired by Diabetes Creative Expression Competition and is donating a package of concert tickets and backstage passes for U.S. grand prize winners.

"Dream big," he offered his words of wisdom to the diabetes community, as we ended our phone call.  "Always dream big.  And continue to watch your blood sugars.  It's hard for young people to see how diabetes affects us long-term.  Understand that it's controllable.  We can live long and healthy lives." 

Thanks, Elliott. 


Elliot is my 10-year-old daughter's newest hero and crush. She's cut out everything she can find about him and plastered it all over her room - thanks for posting this so I can make her happy today! :)

oh that is just way too cool! I can't believe you got to talk to him. FWIW, he was my favorite on AI. :)

That is pretty cool. I am glad that he is so open about his struggles and triumphs with diabetes. It is nice to see a public figure with diabetes who knows a little something and is involved.

Yay! I love Elliott. I loved him even before I knew he had diabetes, but the diabetes part certainly didn't hurt my "celeb crush" at all. LOL. I'm glad you got a chance to interview him. I hope he was as great in person as he seems.

Thanks for a great interview, Kerri. It's cool to be able to identify with someone in the public eye and great that he is so out front about it.

When will you be talking to Hallie?

Congrats on meeting and interviewing Elliott. Great job with the article. I remember hearing that his blood sugar level was high when he was diagnosed but I didn't know that it was over 800. WOW!

His hole shy thing was cute before, but the new teeth - he's a hottie.

I can only imagine my head exploding at 800, I didn't even no that was even possible...


Great interview! I didn't know Elliott had diabetes. I really enjoyed his American Idol performances!

What a great interview with a cool guy!

Now I wish I would have watched American Idol.

This is a great story, and that pic of him is adorable.

But where is the pump bulge? I wish more celebrities would do photo shoots with the pump visible (or at least visible to those who know where to look). That was my problem with Ms. America's diabetes - where did she put her pump when wearing a pageant dress?

Thank you for this article. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only two years old. She hides her diabetes from the other kids, because she is embarassed. I worry about her because she doesn't take very good care of her self (she is almost 15 now). I really worry about her driving soon as well. She is a beautiful girl with a good singing voice. She makes good grades and is a great volleyball player. I hope for a cure before she has any permanent damage to her eyes, kidneys, or other organs. She is not on the pump, because my insurance won't cover it. She takes more than four shots a day. Anyway, it's nice to see people with Diabetes really making it in the World. It offers my daughter and other diabetics hope! Thanks again.

Like others, I didn't know Elliott has diabetes. Great interview. I have always loved his voice--but I so admire his taking a vocal stand for diabetes.
Thanks, Keri.

Hey Kerri, that's cool you got to interview him. I didn't watch AI, but I know he's a big star now, right? I like that there's a young guy out there talking about his diabetes and acknowledging it ain't a bowl of cherries! :)

Rock on.

for anyone who was following that year on American Idol there were actually 2 kids with D - Elliot and kevin Covais. It was a big year for the D home team.

Great interview, Kerri! I also met Elliott this week and thought he was a doll--you can check out my entry about him and the Inspired by Diabetes contest when it goes up next Friday at DiabetesSelfManagement.com.

great Interview! I loved him on idol and now I love him even more!

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