Monday, November 12, 2012
PHOENIX — Mayo Clinic kidney transplant patients were entertained by "American Idol" finalist and Scottsdale resident Scott MacIntyre as they gathered for their annual transplant reunion on the Phoenix campus of Mayo Clinic on Saturday, Nov. 10.
The event was a special homecoming for MacIntyre, 26, a singer/songwriter/pianist. He made history as the first blind contestant on American Idol, finishing in the top 10 finals in season eight in 2009. But what he chose not to reveal during that season was that at 19 he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease, a life-threatening event that almost ended his career before it began. His medical journey led him to Mayo Clinic in Arizona, where, in 2007, he underwent a kidney transplant, thanks to a kidney donated by the wife of his former piano teacher.
In celebration of that life-saving transplant, and "other gifts in his life," according to MacIntyre, he performed his new song, "I Am Hope." Between songs, he spoke briefly about the challenges he has faced, not only from blindness, but as a kidney transplant recipient. The lyrics, written by MacIntyre, include, "When all your strength of heart is gone, when you are barely holding on, reach for me&I am hope."
MacIntyre impressed patients at Mayo Clinic's kidney transplant reunion in 2011, when he talked about overcoming adversity, having been blind since birth. When he then revealed that he had undergone a kidney transplant, the room fell silent momentarily and the crowd then rose for a standing ovation.
His musical talent began to emerge when he taught himself piano by 3 and then went on to take classical lessons and study at the Royal Conservatory of Music before relocating to Arizona. At 14, MacIntyre was admitted into the Barrett Honors College and Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University. He graduated summa cum laude from ASU at 19 and later earned a master's degree from the Royal Holloway University of London and the Royal College of Music in London.
Earlier in 2012, MacIntyre's autobiography, By Faith, Not by Sight, was released. The book chronicles his story as a blind prodigy and his efforts in dealing with the illness that changed his life.
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