By: Jen Blackstock
It was a great win for diabetes on Sunday night as Bret Michaels, lead singer for the rock band Poison and reality TV star, was crowned the latest Celebrity Apprentice winner after struggling with several medical scares in the past month. Just as impressive is that throughout the season, Michaels’ various wins raised more than $390,000 for the American Diabetes Association, including the final challenge prize from Snapple, worth $250,000. The 47-year old Michaels has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was six years old.
Throughout the season, Michaels shone in the competition and consistently impressed the host and creator of the show, Donald Trump. He joined the cast of the third season of Celebrity Apprentice known as a rock and roll badboy and the star of Rock of Love, a VH1 dating show. In joining Celebrity Apprentice, he wanted to raise money for diabetes and, as he told Entertainment Weekly, “show people that you don’t just get lucky, especially in the music business for 20 years. I wanted Trump to see that I could win by really working hard and being creative.”
And boy, did he show Trump, and the world, how hard he can work. To say that the season was a struggle for Michaels is an understatement. First, he was dealing with a grueling schedule, much tougher than being on tour, with 4:45 AM wake-up calls and workdays that lasted until 1:00 AM, only to start over again the next morning. Combining this with controlling his diabetes was a challenge, to say the least. Several times throughout the show, we could see Michaels struggling with his sugar levels, his energy, and his spirit, yet he always came out doing a great job and impressing Trump.
In the middle of the season, Michaels learned that his daughter Raine may also have type 1 diabetes, and he had to go through the emotions of that revelation on camera. But then, another great challenge began. In April, he underwent an emergency appendectomy while on tour in San Antonio. Soon afterward, he suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or bleeding at the base of the skull. This was followed by a stroke. The latest discovery came just last week, when he learned that he has a hole in his heart. He will undergo surgery to repair the hole in the fall, once his body is free of all of the drugs, including blood thinners, that he is taking for his three other health problems. Doctors believe that none of these medical difficulties is related to each other or to his diabetes.
Despite all of his recent scares, Michaels is in great spirits. He even performed on the finale of American Idol, and he is continuing to raise awareness and money for diabetes. To ride the wave of his Celebrity Apprentice win, he has partnered with www.bandannawarehouse.com, where you can purchase a special edition bandanna similar to those he wears. Net proceeds from the sale of the bandannas will help support the American Diabetes Association. It’s just another step in Michaels’ heroic journey to combat the disease he has lived with most of his life.
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