Making a Difference: Two Stories

Catie Heil

Catie Heil

Brittnee Bennett and Danny Holt

Danny Holt and Brittnee Bennett

Life seems to move at a hectic pace these days, and we too often overlook events and stories that add richness and depth to our lives.  To that end, I wanted to take a few moments to highlight two very special members of the Any Lab Test Now team.  One who helped save a man’s life, and another who helped a customer during the last few months of her life.  These extraordinary women reached out and made a big difference in the lives of those they touched.

It was an ordinary day last October when a customer came into the St. George Any Lab Test Now location.  The customer, Danny Holt, said that he had a few challenges with a low grade fever at night, which led him to Any Lab Test Now.  At the time he arrived, he was actually feeling better and had recently completed a marathon.  As a triathlete he was the picture of health, but he did admit to having “needle anxiety”.    Lucky for Danny, Brittnee Bennett, the Medical Assistant, was there to help him work through his questions.  Due to her sense of empathy and kindness, he agreed to the test and he left feeling good about it.  Within a few hours, Danny received an urgent call telling him to get to a hospital immediately due a low white blood cell count.    Since he was feeling good at the time, he couldn’t comprehend how he could have a serious health issue.  He did go to his physician and within 48 hours he learned at he had a very aggressive form of leukemia.  After two months of treatment, he is in full remission and he is a firm believer that Brittnee’s kindness and empathy saved his life.    Due to gently listening and kindly guiding a customer through an uncomfortable situation, Brittnee led him to a decision that gave him excellent prospects for living a long and full life.

Catie Heil, noticed that the customer coming in for lab work looked frail, so she asked the customer if it would be okay if they prayed together for a few moments.  This had a calming effect for this very sick woman, and led to the customer opening up to Catie about the challenges she was having with her illness and how it was affecting her family.   There were times in which the customer was too sick to make it to the lab, so Catie would go to her house for the draw.  Through these moments Catie could tell that the customer was very ill.  One day the customer said that she’d love to have a party, but she was new to the area so she didn’t know many folks.  Catie quickly jumped into action and organized a party to celebrate life and to support her customer.  Within thirty hours the customer passed away.  Although it was a very sad occasion, the family said that the party gave their loved one a sense of joy and peace as she reached the final phase of her life.

So if you think that an ordinary day can’t open up an opportunity to change the lives of those around us, just think of Brittnee and Catie.    They are an example to all of us, and the world is a better place because of them.

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Vitamin D and Mental Health


vitamin-d-and-depression-01 (Photo credit: Life Mental Health)

Now that the days are longer, you’ll have the opportunity to get more Vitamin D while enjoying your outside activities.  Even with the extra exposure to the rays, you may still may have low Vitamin D levels due to using sunscreen, as well as your ability to absorb the vitamin from the sun.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to wear sunscreen, but sunscreen is one reason that 60% of the US population is deficient in this important vitamin.  The good news is that you can take supplements, so don’t think that you have to risk skin cancer in order to get your “D”.

So why is this vitamin so important?  Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression, fatigue, cancer, and the list goes on and on.  Just Google ”vitamin D deficiency” and you’ll see a plethora of disease states related to low vitamin D levels.

I want to focus depression and Vitamin D.  With a family history of mild to severe depression, I’ve always been interested in natural ways to combat this mental disorder that can take the joy from life.  Recently I checked my Vitamin D levels at Any Lab Test Now, and learned that I, too, am deficient, and I immediately started taking Vitamin D2 and D3 drops under my tongue.  I was surprised that one of the side effects was a feeling of serenity and joy.  I have always considered myself to be a calm and centered person, but now I have a smile on my face even when under considerable stress.   My levels are still on the low side, so I take the supplements each day and check my levels once a quarter.  It’s important to remember that too much Vitamin D has negative effects, so be sure to get a simple blood test to make sure that your levels are low prior to taking supplements.

It’s a simple test and, if you have low Vitamin D levels, it can make a world of difference on your mental outlook, as well as offer a defense to life threatening diseases.

If you have noticed a difference after taking Vitamin D supplements, be sure to share your story.  I’d love to hear from you.

Just a few other links about Vitamin D:

Sometimes the simple things can make a huge difference in your health and wellbeing.  Get screened today and start living the best life possible.


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Holiday Shopping; A New Plan

Now that holiday items are on the store shelves, it’s time to start planning for holiday shopping.  I must admit that in the past, I’ve been rather thoughtless with my holiday shopping.  I don’t mean thoughtless with the gifts I purchase, but thoughtless related to where I’m spending my holiday money.  This year I’m going to change my spending habits in three ways:

The first change is to buy gifts, supplies and decorations from local or small businesses.  My daughters love music, so one of my first stops will be CD Warehouse, owned by Andy and Kathy Boyle.  Another stop will be the local shops on Marietta Square, including Doodlebugz and the Marietta Wine Shop.  I’ll also visit some of my favorite websites, for unique glassware, for interesting book related gifts and which has fun retro toys and gifts and is owned by Gary and Deb Pruitt.

I’ll also buy food from the local farmer’s markets for some of my holiday cooking.  The North Georgia apples are in season, and I’m getting them straight from the farm.  Local food is not only fresher, but it also reduces the environmental impact since the fruits and vegetables don’t have to be shipped to the grocery market.

Finally, I’m going to respond to all of the surveys I receive.  I rarely respond to these types of surveys due my busy schedule.  But it’s important to provide businesses feedback on service levels and I want to take the extra time to give my feedback whether it’s a negative or positive experience.

I’ll continue to Blog, Tweet, Pin and Foursquare my experiences, so stay tuned.

So what changes will you make during the upcoming holiday season?  Share some of your favorite local businesses or small business websites. 

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The Summer Olympics 2012: A Fond Farewell


I must confess that the only time I watch a swimming, gymnastics or water polo event is every four years as I tune into the Summer Olympics.  So why were so many of us glued to the TV for the past two weeks watching sports in which we don’t even understand many of the rules?  After all when is the last time you actually went to a track and field event or a gymnastics meet?

There are several reasons that I make sure to tune to the Olympic events:


Olympic athletes are the best in the world and it’s always a joy to watch them perform in such a wonderful venue.

Great Reflection of Human Nature

The Olympics are a great reflection of humanity by showing the best of sportsmanship. When we see Mo Farah a British Somali who trains in Eugene, OR win gold over his American training partner, Galen Rupp, both hug each other in support after Farah won gold and Rupp won silver, it is a wonderful example of competition and friendship.

National Pride

As we cheered on our athletes and reviewed the daily medal count, we know that all of the countries competing are watching their athletes even if it is the one woman from Saudi Arabia or Keshorn Walcott, the Gold Medalist (Javelin) from Trinidad and Tobago.


Olympic athlete’s work many hours each day for years to achieve a goal that for many ends when the games are over, and the lucky stood on a podium to accepting a medal.


Then there is the story of redemption — Michael Phelps making some mistakes in his personal life after the 2008 Olympics and then coming back all the wiser and representing the US as a great example of a competitor.

So I look back fondly at the great feats of athleticism over the last two weeks, and then plan for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  With only 18 months until the next event, I better get busy learning more about curling.


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Inside The Games Blog By Roald

Cheer when you’re losing: Roald’s perspective on the value of losing.

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The Importance of Failing


At the age of six I watched the 1968 Olympics and it was then that I decided that I was going to the Olympics one day.    Since I was born with spina bifida, the doctors told my parents that I shouldn’t engage in sports, but they still allowed me to pursue my dream.  Being of Scandinavian descent, I guess it was a natural fit for me to take up the javelin.   We still laugh about the day that I was throwing apples from my mother’s garden over the house without thinking that there might be people or cars on the other side of the house.  After a good tongue lashing, I decided to channel all of my throwing energy into the javelin.  I started serious training at the age of 14 and there were days in which I’d have to ride my bike for forty miles just for a two hour coaching session.

Now over forty years after my resolution to go to the Olympics, I can proudly say that I’m a two time Olympian and I’ve participated in eight Olympic Trials, recently winning a silver medal at the UK Olympic trials held in Birmingham, England at the age of 50.  The next “oldest” person at the trials wasn’t even born when I competed in 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.  There were days in which my body ached to such an extreme due to the 5+ hours a day of training, as well as the mental stamina, that I contemplated the wisdom of my choice to set such a lofty goal at such an “old” age.  But just as I made my goal to go to the Olympics 44 years ago, I was determined to give it my all, which included not only long workouts but also restricting my diet and not partaking of my beloved beer.

With this experience, I tell my children that it’s important not to give up on your dreams and to be willing to fail.  Only through failure do you learn how to improve and to overcome the biggest obstacle of all, which is the little voice in our heads that tells us if we fail, we have lost.    It’s also important to love what you do, which makes it’s easier to push yourself on the days in which you’d rather just take it easy, and finally, it’s that simple statement about the journey and the destination.  If you enjoy the journey, you’re more likely to enjoy the destination no matter the outcome.

So if you are passionate about something, whether it is a sport, a hobby or work, be sure to experience it to the fullest and take each day as a way to fulfill your dream of being “your” best and your life will be fulfilling.  I’d like to write more, but I need to go workout now.  The 2016 Olympic trials are just around the corner and who knows ?????

Roald Bradstock

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Facebook: A Positive View of Life

I’ve been on Facebook a few years, but I was a bit hesitant because I spend so much time on the computer for work that I feared that I would start to live my entire life in a “virtual environment”.  I also have to admit that my primary objective was seeking a way to connect with franchisees in order to support them in their social media efforts.

But then I started to engage with former colleagues, classmates, childhood friends, and friends who now live far away.  Now that I’m an active Facebook user, I noticed how much I enjoy the “positive affirmations” from the Facebook postings.  Although we all have days in which things just don’t seem to go right, we tend to post things that are the highlights of our day and not the petty and mundane issues each of us face on a day to day basis.  It’s also fun to see all of the wonderful things my friends are doing — special vacations, graduations, weddings, births, and so much more, as well as support them when they have a loss of a loved one, pet or are faced with health issues.

My experiences seem to be right in line with the research by the PEW Internet and American Life Project.  Their research shows that Facebook users……….

  • Are more trusting than others
  • Have more close relationships
  • Get more social support
  •  Are much more politically engaged

The report also confirms that Facebook revives dormant relationships.  The average Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends, and the friends list contains:

  • 22% people from high school
  • 12% extended family
  • 10% coworkers
  • 9% college friends
  • 8% immediate family
  • 7% people from voluntary groups
  • 2% neighbors

So the next time you’re feeling a bit blue or disconnected, just login and connect with your social community.

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