Famous Allergy Sufferer: Clay Aiken


 

Since its debut in the summer of 2002, American Idol has been one of the most popular shows on American television. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the show is one of only three shows that has enjoyed the top slot in the Nielson ratings for five consecutive seasons.

Although he did not officially win first place on American Idol, Clay Aiken gained eminent fame and success following his appearance on the show's second season. In addition to musical accomplishments including nine tours and the sale of over six million albums, Aiken has written a New York Times bestselling memoir, produced and hosted television shows, made guest appearances on several other shows like The View, starred in Broadway's Spamalot, and devoted considerable effort to charity.

Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Aiken has been singing nearly all of his life. He joined the Raleigh Boychoir as a young boy. As a teenager, he participated in the high school choir, church choir, musicals, and local theater productions. Following high school, he was the lead singer in a local band called "Just By Chance". He produced three demo albums as a birthday gift for his mother at the age of 19.

Aiken began his post-high school education at Campbell University before he attended the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in special education. It was during this period in his life that he solidified his interest in special education. In fact, it was the mother of an autistic boy whom he tutored who encouraged him to sign up for American Idol.

During an appearance on The Tyra Banks Show, Aiken explained that he is allergic to “tree nuts, mushrooms, shellfish, coffee, chocolate, and mint.” Like many others with nut allergies, he can get hives in the presence of tree nuts even if he doesn't ingest them.

Certainly, the way Aiken rose to stardom, his model behavior as a celebrity, and his down-to-earth and genuine personality have enabled him to connect with his fans. But more than just basking in the adoration of the millions who love him and his work, Aiken has reached out to the needy of the world. He created the National Inclusion Project, which aims to place children with learning disabilities in environments with their non-disabled peers; he is a UNICEF ambassador; and he was appointed to a two-year term on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

One can't help but wonder if Aiken's own experience with food allergies has helped him be empathetic to other individuals who struggle with things beyond their own control.

To learn more about food allergies, please see the Food Allergy FAQ and visit our Food Allergy/Anaphylaxis Solution Guide.

Food Allergy Related Products:

Food Allergy Cards
Epi-Pen Protectube
Ana-Tote Auto Injector Case
Food Allergy T-Shirts for Children


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