Washington, DC — Today I’ll be speaking at MediaPost’s Diagnosis Digital: Healthcare Marketing In A Multi-Screen Age conference. Our topic is all about understanding “patients” as people who sometimes happen to need healthcare. That got me thinking about stories I’d seen recently that brought real life to the forefront. Real life interrupted by and lived with health challenges. These are three that I couldn’t look away from:

Carly’s Cafe

Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking when she was two years old. Doctors told her parents that she would never have intellectual abilities beyond those of a small child.

Carly remained largely unreachable to them until she was ten years old when she reached over to her therapists laptop and typed “HELP TEETH HURT.” That moment was the beginning of a break through that led her to share her life – and first-hand experience of autism – with her family, though tens of thousands of social media followers, and ultimately in a book she wrote with her father. 

In this video. she gives us the real experience of having autism. Just two minutes lived through her mind.

Angelo Merendino’s Photographs

Five months after Angelo married the love of his life, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. They were in for the fight of their lives and believed they would win it.

Angelo decided to photograph the battle to humanize the face of cancer on the face of his wife. And to always remember where they’d been. The photographs will break your heart and take you inside their fight.

More from the collection. Angelo’s entire site and story.

HealthCentral’s Immersive Stories

HealthCentral recently launched a storytelling series called Live Now. Live Bold. It profiles people living with disease and takes you entirely inside their lives – their childhood stories, daily struggles, and hard questions.

Through video, text and photography, each storyteller is able to create an immersive media experience that you can easily lose an hour exploring.

Her Health Central profile. Her take on the project.

Posted by: Leigh Householder

Finds from: Eric Davis and Bruce Rooke

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at trends.health)

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.