Yamin's condition has become a connecting point for children with diabetes and has opened doors to corporate sponsors, says Tamara Hubbard, special events coordinator for the Central Virginia Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Hubbard discovered Yamin had diabetes while reading about the top 24 contestants on the "Idol" Web site. When she realized he was speaking publicly about his condition, she saw an opportunity.
Through some contacts in L.A., Hubbard had a banner of support from the foundation delivered backstage to Yamin May 2. It was signed by several local children who have diabetes. The picture made the "Idol" Web site.
Then Hubbard rallied about a dozen children to witness the hoopla surrounding the filming of Yamin's May 12 homecoming in Richmond.
One of them, Ward, woke at 5 a.m. in Fredericksburg, traveling with his mom for the chance to see Yamin. They arrived just in time to see him emerge from a stretch limo and dash down the red carpet at Clear Channel's Basie Road radio studios.
Fox producers tracked Yamin, 27, from the Executive Mansion to The Diamond. When the segment aired May 17 the night he was eliminated it drew tears from Yamin and, of course, Paula Abdul.
It also caught glimpses of the $3 blue "Cure Diabetes" bracelet one of Hubbard's group members slipped Yamin. He wore it throughout the day. Then Hubbard met Yamin at The Diamond, just before an autograph session.
"Did you get that on tape?" she asked a reporter, laughing, after she says Elliott told her, "I look forward to working with you guys in the future."
"We're hoping to solidify an official partnership," Hubbard says.
One snag in Yamin's image came up in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article, which reported that Yamin smoked a cigarette during his visit. Hubbard didn't see it and isn't sure if the singer smokes. "I would hate for the kids to see that," she says. "But he's an adult."
Nonetheless, Yamin has already given the foundation a boost. The organization has sold 1,200 "Vote for Elliott" T-shirts and received calls from across the country, Hubbard says. She dreams of a fund-raising concert with Yamin.
The new star says he'll be back in Richmond in two to three weeks just enough time for a brief break before heading back to L.A. June 13 to rehearse for the "American Idol" summer tour. S Click here for more News and Features