Driven to Make an Impact

When I hired Michelle Fields to be a Franchise Success Representative for Any Lab Test Now, I knew I had hit the jackpot. Her warm and welcoming nature, coupled with her medical experience and attention to detail, enabled her to connect instantly with our franchisees. She helped them grow their businesses and they adored her. So did we, back at the home office.

When Michelle was diagnosed with colon cancer at 46 years old, she put up the good fight for more than three years, working right up until the last month of her life. I can still remember the first day she complained of her symptoms before there was a diagnosis. I also remember sitting with her in hospice those final days in June 2016. Watching Michelle walk that road was hard, but it was also a gift to witness her strength, grace and compassion.

As a company, we embraced the colon cancer awareness banner with new vigor and every franchise in our system was “all in.” In addition to financially supporting the Colon Cancer Alliance, as a lab testing company, we were able to offer our clients discounts on the colon cancer screening Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), which we do every March during Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

When a disease hits you at a personal level like that, you feel helpless. But being actively involved in building awareness, facilitating early detection and funding research, gives us the feeling that we are still honoring Michelle, even though she’s passed, and helping others in the future. It’s how we can make an impact.

I was encouraged to read in a Cone Communications Survey recently that, “2017 will be remembered as the year that redefined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).” I think it is safe to say we now live in a society in which it is not just nice for businesses to be socially responsible, but it is expected and necessary. And that is a good thing.

As CEO, I am blessed to be leading a company that is driven to contribute to a greater good. Incorporating social responsibility into our business model on the local and national levels has made us a stronger, better company from top to bottom.

Impacting Communities

Franchisees will often tell you one of the best things about being their own boss, is the freedom and latitude they have in making decisions on how to run their business. For many of our franchisees, that means a commitment to making an impact in their local communities. Aside from our corporate-wide initiatives to support Heart Health Month in February and Colon Cancer Awareness month in March, franchisees have free rein to choose how they will be a force for good in their communities. We have one franchisee located right across from a women’s shelter, so they have chosen to make an impact very close to home by holding a 5K race every year to benefit the shelter. Another franchisee teaches paddleboarding to children with special needs and holds a tournament every summer for them. As a company, when we have franchisees that are passionate about a cause in their community, we do our best to offer corporate support through sponsorships.

In our home office, our small group of employees chooses what resonates with them, and we go out as a team to work on making life a little better for those in our Atlanta community, whether it is sorting food at the local food bank or serving meals to at-risk teens at Covenant House. For us, it’s all about making an impact in our little part of the world.

Impacting People

However, I have seen first-hand that it’s more than our communities that are impacted. Our people are impacted too. When we close our office down on a Friday afternoon, to engage as a team in a hands-on activity, you can see and feel the difference in peoples’ attitudes. I see smiles and laughter. I see the level of depth and compassion increase as colleagues work together side-by-side outside office walls. I see a different side to them and I think they see a different side to the company, a genuinely human side. They have an increased appreciation for their workplace.

Millennials, especially, are drawn to companies who authentically practice CSR. According to a Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study, 76 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work, and 64 percent won’t take a job if a potential employer doesn’t have strong CSR practices.

Customers are holding companies more responsible too. Again, the Cone survey found nearly 90 percent of Americans will purchase a product/service because a company advocated for an issue they cared about, and 88 percent will be more loyal to the company, even if there is a slightly higher cost in doing so.

I see this most clearly when I check out our social media. The most engagement we get on any social media is when we are giving back to the community. That lets us know what we are doing resonates with our customers. It also resonates with our employees, and it resonates with me.

At Any Lab Test Now, I am proud to be working with good people, with good hearts, who are impacting their communities, in large and small ways, every day. May the year 2018 be our most impactful year yet!

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Why baby boomers should care about hepatitis awareness

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has named the month of May Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 in particular as national Hepatitis Testing Day. It’s information everyone should pay close attention to; because chronic hepatitis B and C can cause serious damage to your liver. But your local Any Lab Test Now location wants baby boomers, in particular, to mark their calendars on Hepatitis Testing Day for a very simple reason — you are most at risk.

Baby Boomers and Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person. Baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults, according to the CDC. Most of them are unaware that they are infected. The reason baby boomers have such high rates isn’t completely understood, but health officials have three main theories:

  1. Health officials believe boomers are at an increased risk because they became infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted.
  2. Others could have gotten infected from contaminated blood before widespread screening of the blood supply was implemented. Screening virtually eliminated the virus from the blood supply by 1992.
  3. Sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs can also spread hepatitis C.

Many people will never know how they were infected, just like many never realize that they are living with a dangerous contagious disease.

Symptoms of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and is now the leading cause of liver cancer. The good news is, it can be cured! But you have to be aware that you have the disease and the sooner you know, the better your chances of recovery. Here’s what to look for:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

But here’s the thing: many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without symptoms or even feeling sick. That’s why testing is so critical.

Any Lab Test Now Offers Hepatitis Testing

You can find out where you stand by coming in to an Any Lab Test Now location and asking for one of our quick and easy hepatitis screening tests. There are several options to choose from.

The Hepatitis Panel screens for all variations of the hepatitis virus; that’s A, B, and C. There are three different viruses that cause hepatitis A, B, or C and this one test will screen for all three.

The Hepatitis C Test will screen only for the one virus. If your results come back positive for the virus, the time to act is now. The sooner you and your physician begin treatment, the better.

Treatment and Beyond

Doctors treat hepatitis C with antiviral medicines that attack the virus and can cure the disease in most cases. Researchers are developing newer medications, and hopefully bringing the cost of treatment down. So, if you were born between 1945 and 1965, grab a friend and make a date to visit Any Lab Test Now on May 19 for National Hepatitis Testing Day. It may not sound like the time of your life, but it could add more time to your life!

Posted in ANY LAB TEST NOW, Health, hepatitis, Hepatitis C | Leave a comment

Top Health Issues Facing Women: Living Longer but Not Living Healthier

There is no better time than now for women to step up and put their health first. We know it’s a tall order, women have been so conditioned to always put themselves last. But as we celebrate the 19th Annual National Women’s Health Week May 13 – 19, it is worth noting that although women are living longer lives, they are not living healthier lives. It’s time for that to change.

Women, on average, live five years longer than men, with a current life expectancy of 81.1 years. But sadly, those aren’t quality years. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports women’s health in the U.S. is suffering from impaired mobility, hearing, vision and pain due to a growing number of years living with disabilities (YLD).

Leading causes of YLD in the United States for women

  1. Low back pain
  2. Other musculoskeletal disorders
  3. Major depressive disorder
  4. Anxiety disorders
  5. Neck pain
  6. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. Migraine
  9. Age-related and other hearing loss
  10. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

*Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal conditions are pervasive and take a heavy toll on women as the most common cause of severe long-term pain and disability. Pain and reduced physical function seriously diminish a woman’s quality of life as she ages. Low back pain, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are at the top of the list. At Any Lab Test Now, the Osteoporosis Risk Panel, Arthritis Screening, and even Thyroid Panel, which can detect an imbalance that could make a woman more susceptible to osteoporosis, heart disease (No.1 killer), infertility and fatigue, can provide early flags that allow women to take control of their health instead of letting health conditions control them.

Stress

Anxiety is a normal response to stress and women have plenty of that. It’s no surprise women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder. However, researchers believe hormonal changes, genetics, and traumatic events play a role. Anxiety can also affect other health problems common in women, like depression, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease and asthma. Of course, severe anxiety can become debilitating. At Any Lab Test now, the Adrenal Stress Test measures the master stress hormone which can uncover hidden imbalances of key hormones tied to mental, emotional or physical energy. Getting enough sleep is a healthy habit that can keep cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and melatonin working in concert, so women can manage the stress of normal day-to-day activities. Melatonin levels are believed to decrease as we age, adding to the oxidative stress that contributes to disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. The Sleep Balance Kit, an easy take-home urine test from Any Lab Test Now, can detect imbalances of melatonin and cortisol and results can be used to develop treatments or lifestyle changes to improve the sleep/wake cycle for optimal health and wellness.

Diabetes

In the last 30 years, YLD from diabetes alone increased by more than 112 percent in women, making it not only a leading cause of death but also a leading cause of disability for women. At Any Lab Test Now, six different diabetes lab tests are available, including, the Diabetes Maintenance Panel and the Insulin Lab Test, which is especially crucial for women at risk for type 2 diabetes or who have already developed symptoms associated with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and/or higher than normal glucose levels.

Any Lab Test Now joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health and encourages women to make their health a priority and start building positive health habits today by doing these six things:

What steps will you take towards better health?

Posted in ANY LAB TEST NOW, arthritis, Diabetes, Women's Health, Women's Health Week | Leave a comment