Since joining Jumo Health, I have been impressed by how much my colleagues know about the families that we feature in our content. They speak about families they have met as if they are friends.
Fast forward six months into the job, and I am traveling to go on my first patient filming, which features Vaughn Ripley.
Vaughn was diagnosed with hemophilia A when he was an infant. Hemophilia is a condition in which a person’s blood does not clot properly due to lack of clotting factor. This means that when a person is injured, a wound can bleed too much, which stopped him from participating in activities he was interested in, like baseball and football. As a teenager, after living with hemophilia A, he was diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis C, and was told he had less than 2 years to live. Vaughn openly talks about his struggles with depression and substance abuse, and credits his wife, Kristine, for being his partner through it all. Together, they were able to lift Vaughn out of his depression, and today they live a fulfilling life with their two kids and family pets.
I was anxiously awaiting my trip down to Maryland. I had seen an existing video of Vaughn, and this guy is charismatic. I wondered what he and his family would be like in person.
Vaughn brought himself, his wife, and two children to the filming. We met at a campsite where Vaughn and his family were able to hang out doing things they love to do, like swimming in the Potomac River, riding bikes on the nature path, and hanging out chatting at the picnic tables.
His family automatically made us feel comfortable. We were sharing sunscreen, bug spray, and popsicles. Fast forward a few hours and Vaughn is driving my colleague Becca and me around the campsite in his off-road Jeep, the kind without doors or a roof… there is never a dull moment!
The following day, we walked in with our film crew to Vaughn and his wife cooking us bacon and bullet proof coffee. After a few minutes, I forgot we had only met Vaughn and his family the day before. It felt completely natural to hang out, film, record podcasts, share meals, and play around with their pets in the house. What was even cooler was to hear Vaughn give his interviews. He speaks candidly about his conditions and how they have impacted his life, but he doesn’t let his diseases define him. As charismatic as he is on screen, he is equally as engaging in person. I was truly interested in every piece of his story that he shared with us.
After a quick piano concert performed by Vaughn’s daughter, Becca and I were ready to hit the road and drive back home.
We left Vaughn’s house that evening with a renewed sense of purpose, full of energy and ready to help share his story.
This is what makes working at Jumo Health so special. We feature real patients and are able to provide authentic content as a result. Now, I can honestly say that this was a family and an experience I’ll never forget.
Interested in joining the team and working with families like Vaughn's to share their stories with the world? Check out our careers section.
About Alex Premkumar, MPH
Alex Premkumar is the senior account manager at Jumo Health. She received her MPH from Emory University. Alex lives in New York City with her husband and (very) large goldendoodle.