Scott MacIntyre was “American Idol’s” first visually impaired contestant and now as he begins life after the show, Scott reveals – for the first time – the disease that almost cost him his life.
“I say blindness is only half of my story, I’ve been through so much more than that,” he told Access Hollywood’s “Dish of Salt” Laura Saltman on Friday.
“I dealt with kidney failure for two years,” he revealed to Access. “[It’s] something that I didn’t intentionally didn’t bring up on this show because, you know, the blindness is obvious, but I didn’t want to be voted for based on my challenges.”
For a time, his battle with kidney failure hindered the thing he loved to do most.
“I actually remember a time when I didn’t have enough strength to even sit and sing and vocalize on the piano,” he explained. “My body was so overloaded from kidney failure. It’s a very draining process. It’s not good and that really kind of took a year of my life.”
He was diagnosed with the disease in 2005, but remained hopeful a donor would be found. In the meantime, he had traveled to London to study music and even received a master’s degree. But with his kidney progressively worsening, Scott returned to the U.S. to begin emergency dialysis.
It was then that someone from outside his family stepped up to help save Scott’s life.
“Finally in August 2007, the wife of my former piano instructor from Arizona State University donated her kidney to me, and she’s doing well, and I’m doing well. It’s just a miracle everyday that I’m alive now,” he told Laura.
When it comes to his visual impairment, Scott said despite the advances in technology and medicine, he’s not looking for a cure.
“A lot of people ask me if there was something out there would I take the risk of trying to improve my eyesight and actually gain my sight and I don’t know if I would,” he told Laura. “I think everything happens for a reason and I think this is a blessing in disguise.”
Scott also revealed that his younger sister Katelyn – who is also visually impaired – is also struggling with her own battle with kidney failure.
“We don’t know what’s going on either… it’s undiagnosed,” he said of Katelyn’s health. “We’re waiting for a lot of things to come back, [but] she does [have a donor.] It’s actually been going on the whole time I’ve been on ‘American Idol.’”
In fact, his sister’s battle was something Scott decided to keep private while he competed on “Idol.”
“I didn’t’ want people to know… I didn’t want to bring it up” Scott explained. “If people would just pray for her that everything goes well this coming week. She has surgery coming up very soon.”
Yet, despite all the struggles in his life, Scott said he is looking forward to the road ahead.
“I’m actually really excited to be moving on with life after ‘Idol.’” he said. “I’m looking forward to the tour, but also I have a huge catalog of music actually that’s just waiting to be released so I’m going to be working on that. I’m really excited to share that with all of my fans.”