EXCLUSIVE: Casey Abrams Talks American Idol Tour, IBD Awareness

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Casey Abrams, a THG favorite from this past season of American Idol, is currently touring the nation with Scotty, Lauren and other season 10 finalists. But he's doing a lot more than that, too.

He's working with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, helping to bring attention to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the condition that almost forced him to withdraw from Idol. In the following exclusive interview, Casey speaks on his hospitalization, the tour and this important cause...

Tell us about your hospitalization during Idol. How close were you to dropping out?
I was extremely close, I had to miss one episode because I didn't have enough blood in my system. And after that I was in and out of the hospital for the next three weeks.

What was the experience like overall?
The experience was painful but more fun. I was living my dream, doing what I wanted artistically and doing it in front of millions. But, behind the scenes, I had to rest a lot, use the bathroom at least like 12 times a day, there was always blood in my stool, horrible stomach cramps, I felt so sick sometimes. But the fact that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity made me fight a little harder.

How is the tour going?
The tour is awesome, I'm staying up longer at night and talking to more and more fans in different cities (which is hard to believe: I have fans). It's fun because I get to hang out with the band and the other idols, They are all super funny and great musicians. My health is perfect, too. No symptoms have been coming around even after all the lack of sleep.

In what direction do you see your career going?
I want to try acting a little bit. But I definitely want to keep doing music. Jack Black is an inspiration because he's acting in movies and sings good music.

Talk about your involvement with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
I'm working with the CCFA and Janssen Biotech, Inc. on the IBD Icons campaign (www.IBDIcons.com) to spread awareness and try to inspire people that you can succeed in life even with a pretty tough chronic disease. I've been meeting with people from the CCFA in three cities while on tour and I've really been impressed and inspired myself by their stories. Once finalists are chosen and it's time to vote, Janssen will donate $1 to the CCFA for every vote to help with research and education.

What advice would you have for those with IBD?
Don't be afraid to talk about it, even though it's an embarrassing topic to discuss. I waited too long after I had my symptoms to see a doctor, so it was harder to deal with. See a doctor early on to get on a treatment that will help you control the condition. No matter what, You can't let having IBD stop you from doing whatever it is you want to do. Whether that dream is - becoming a rock-star or being in the military or even going to school - you need to keep jumping the IBD hurdles.

Is there anything our readers can do to help?
If they have IBD, go to www.IBDIcons.com and tell us their story for a chance to be named an IBD Icon and see me perform live in Las Vegas.  If they don't have IBD, they can still become a fan to get contest updates and spread the word about the program to help raise awareness.

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