Guest: Emily Blincoe
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Emily Blincoe from Nashville, TN is a photographer with LiveHer and an Instagram sensation. LiveHer aims to empower and inspire patients to take control of their PBC by showcasing real stories from three different women affected by this disease, one of the women is Emily Blincoe’s mother. The photography captures the indomitable spirit and strength of these special women who work every day to overcome the challenges of PBC, striving to take control of their health and truly thrive. LiveHer was sponsored by Intercept Pharmaceuticals.
Segment Overview: Emily Blincoe, photographer and Instagram star, shares about her involvement in a new national photography project called LiveHer to raise awareness of Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) and the importance of liver health.
Neal Howard: Welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Our guest is Emily Blincoe. She’s up from Nashville Tennessee. She’s a renowned photographer and Instagram star. She’s joining us today on the program to talk about her involvement in a brand new national photography project called ‘LiveHer’. It’s an effort to raise awareness of primary biliary cholangitis or PBC and she’s also going to talk about the importance of liver health. Welcome to the program Emily. How are you?
Emily Blincoe: Hey Neal. I’m great. How are you?
N: Doing well. This is the first time I’ve ever interviewed someone who’s a photographer and also involved in health care. What type of a photographer would you describe yourself as?
E: I am a commercial lifestyle photographer. Most of the time I end up working with like brands and creating content for them and their social media. This is my first time doing anything in the medical field as well, which is really exciting to try something new.
N: You’ve branched out into the medical field. What prompted you to start photography based on the medical field or some problem they’re in?
E: I found out through my agency about an opportunity to tell stories of women who have PBC and I was like, “Whoa! That’s great.”, because my mom actually has PBC and from what I knew it was like very rare thing. I was like, “Oh this feels like something I definitely want to be a part of.”. Then we kind of spent quite a few months like shaping this project into something that I could have my mom actually be a part of the project, which was really also a first for me to be working with my mom for something so personal.
N: I understand that PBC is a genetic condition. Are there any concerns about your health based on your mom’s condition?
E: Through this project I learned a lot more about PBC including that it can be hereditary or genetic, which was quite concerning to me at first but I know now kind of what I need to do in order to make sure to have regular liver blood tests as part of my routine to make sure that I don’t have that and so far so good.
N: When you say regular, are you talking yearly, bi-annually?
E: I’m not sure if it’s every twice a year or once a year but I know that like possibly talking to your doctor you have a better idea of how often you need to check that. But I think for sure at least once a year.
N: Are there are lots of women that are involved in this photography initiative with you?
E: Yes. Three women and one of them was being my mom, Debbie and Brandi who lives at five Springfield and then we went down to the Dominican Republic to be with Belle who splits her time between the Dominican Republic and the United States. There were three of them for this project, but there of course other people outside of the three who live with this disease as well.
N: Photography is a visual medium of course and it’s like film and movies and TV. When you’re talking about a disease, one that I understand doesn’t have symptoms, there’s nothing outwardly that you can see readily. They’re not missing hair anything like that. How does the photography I guess differ from other types of photography, say you’re cancer patients, what type of image are you trying to portray to raise awareness for this condition?
E: I think my goal in this was to capture kind of the spirit of these women and their strength and also what their day-to-day lives look like. That was really my goal. There are some symptoms like when with Belle in the Dominican Republic, she suffers from fatigue and she has a lot of like itching. We were able to document that in the photograph and also she has some spots within her back and different parts of her body that were another thing that we’re able to document. But as far as my mother, she is very healthy and she likes to run marathons. I wanted to include, try to give a visual picture of like what your life is like here. Because it doesn’t always mean that having this disease, doesn’t always take away from everything that you’re doing or so, like my mom who has a very healthy lifestyle so I wanted to show that. Being aware that you have this disease can give you an opportunity to make the best choices for your own life. You’re like living a more healthy lifestyle.
N: Letting them know that these women are living their lives, everything is normal and then they’ve got this thing that is affecting them and maybe causing them to need a transplant.
E: That is a possibility depending on what stage you are in, in this disease that is a possibility. Like I said my mom is pretty healthy and so I’ve only ever viewed this disease like through the lens of her. It was really interesting to be a part of this project because I was able to see people, how other people are living and how they’re affected. For example Belle, is in a later stage and she is seeking a transplant right now. She needs a transplant to live and that was something that I hadn’t had an experience with before. It was really touching to see how she lives her life and knowing that she needs a transplant to live. Have this going undiagnosed and people can cut a lot of problems, which is why it’s important to get regular blood screening so you can get diagnosed. Sometimes it can be a little difficult to be diagnosed by it, so it’s good to not wait around for someone to ask you to get a liver blood test, but you should ask people to have that done as well.
N: The name of the project is ‘LiveHer’. Talk about where we can go online and learn more about this campaign.
E: The ‘LiveHer’ project is was a combination of liver and her spelled ‘LiveHer’. That’s the name because it primarily does affect women and ages like 35 to 60 typically. You can go and see, go on Facebook and learn a lot more if you type in the liveher into Facebook search. You should be able to find the page. You’ll be able to see like all the photos we made and videos and find more information there.
N: What do you see on the horizon for this program. Is this something that you see building up steam and continuing for the next 20-30 years as awareness is raised?
E: I hope so. I’ve been, something that I become really passionate about and I know that we’re already talking about continuing this project through at least the next coming year with me being involved. But I hope that continues to be campaigns to raise awareness because if we don’t know then we can’t do anything about this. I hope that it’s something that every woman is thinking about and aware of. That would be wonderful.
N: Emily Blincoe, thank you so much for coming in today.
E: Thank you Neal.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, listen in and download at SoundCloud.