Photographs are used to capture exciting moments – like a birthday, wedding or your daughter’s first step – and when these photographs are combined, they tell the story of your life. Renowned photographer Emily Blincoe wants to share the lives of three women in her new photography project called LiveHer These three women are living with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), a serious autoimmune liver disease that affects the bile ducts in the liver. Emily hopes to raise awareness of this rare disease and educate women about the need for regular liver testing.
This was a very special project for Emily, given that her own mother, Debbie P, has PBC. She was inspired by her mom’s strength as she developed these creative and colorful compositions that shine a light on the unique experiences these women face. Emily also aims to support and inspire women who have PBC by capturing the indomitable spirit of women who take control of their health and truly thrive despite PBC.
Speaking of her experience in the photography project, Bel K., one of the women featured in the campaign, said, “Emily has an eye for color. As sick as I am right now, she was the only person who made me look and feel beautiful.”
“Her photographs were able to depict our journey with PBC, including the ups and downs, and show the strength of the women in the PBC community.”
Check out other powerful images from LiveHer and learn more about PBC below!
PBC affects 1 in 1000 women over 40
Considered rare, PBC is a progressive autoimmune disease more common in women than men. Most people with PBC are diagnosed in their 50’s, but that wasn’t the case for Brandi B., one of the LiveHer women, who was diagnosed at age 34. Fortunately for Brandi, her PBC is under control and she is mostly able to enjoy her life – including building her own home alongside her husband. Check out those tools!
Extreme fatigue and itching are symptoms of PBC
Many PBC patients do not experience any symptoms until the disease has advanced. Most common are itching and fatigue. Other symptoms may include yellowing of the eyes and skin, abdominal pain, and dry throat and eyes. Emily captured this tender moment between her mother, Debbie, and her dog as she prepped for the day.
Regular liver tests are important
The liver is vital, but often forgotten. Did you know it performs over 500 important functions in the body? That’s why getting an early and accurate diagnosis is important. For Debbie, she found out she had PBC early when she went through routine blood work as she planned for her retirement. This photograph is one of Emily’s favorite. She has commented on it saying “Proof that my mom is an angel.”
PBC is a leading cause of liver transplant
Although PBC is rare, it has been the second leading cause of liver transplant in women in the U.S. since 1988. It has been a long road for Bel, who is still waiting on the liver transplant list. If undetected or left untreated, PBC can lead to liver scarring, cirrhosis, liver failure and even death.
Elevated ALP is a biomarker for PBC
Alkaline phosphatase, also known as ALP, is a biomarker (a disease indicator) that can be tested in the blood as a way to diagnose PBC and track disease progression. ALP levels can be easily confirmed through routine blood tests such as a comprehensive metabolic panel, so be sure to ask your doctor about this test at your next checkup!
Watch how women thrive with PBC
Watch the photographic journey of three women with PBC.
If you want to learn more about these women, then follow the LiveHer Facebook page to see weekly updates that will reveal intimate new photos of these women, their unique journeys with PBC, from the early to late stages of the disease, and offer followers educational information along the way.
This content is sponsored by Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.