Monthly Archives: September 2013

Rex Blood Services Donor Profile: David Neville

Rex Blood Services donor David Neville completed hiking the southern half of the Appalachian Trail in October 2011. He hiked 150 miles in 9 days during that trip.

David organizes trips for 2-3 colleagues at GlaxoSmithKline and as trip leader he plans the logistics, the route, and arranges the shuttles. He is the first of the group to complete the southern half of the AT which extends 1100 miles from Georgia to Pennsylvania. He estimates he has hiked at least 1500 miles on the AT since he has done several sections more than once.

The longest trip segment was 160 miles; the group averages about 17 miles per day. He began hiking segments of the trail around 18 years ago. Whether it was coincidence or fate, at around that same time he went to work at GlaxoSmithKline as a mechanical engineering technician and also began donating blood at Rex Blood Services.

David sees a parallel between backpacking and donating blood:

“With a little effort, when on a backpacking trip, I experience the pure joy of living and life itself. With a little effort, spending a few hours donating blood, I can give someone else the chance to experience the same joy. We should all make the effort to help the less fortunate feel better and enjoy life just a little longer.”

As a platelet donor, David understands that this special type of blood donation is unique. The need for platelets is far greater than you may expect. The platelet supply is in constant need of replenishment because platelets must be used within five days. Platelets are essential to normal blood clotting and may be used by patients receiving transplants or during trauma.

Patients fighting cancers can require platelet transfusions because many chemotherapy drugs affect cells in the bone marrow. This commonly leads to low levels of white blood cells and platelets, which can sometimes put a person at risk for life-threatening infections or bleeding. Plasma (the liquid part of the blood) is often used for burn patients, trauma or surgical patients.

David continues to look forward to the next leg of his journey. Backpacker magazine provides him with some ideas for his next adventure. He would like to hike the Pacific Crest Trail at Yosemite. He consistently speaks highly of those he has met on the trail and praises their strength. The outdoors has been an integral part of David’s life since childhood and he recalls he often slept outdoors or on the porch.

David has given a total of 52 whole blood donations and 45 apheresis donations since he first came to Rex Blood Services in 1994. His gifts have impacted well over 250 lives since each donation may result in multiple component products. He usually donates platelets plus red blood cells during his donation in order to maximize his contribution.

A passion for nature, a positive attitude, and perseverance are a few of the gifts we receive from David Neville every time he visits Rex Blood Services. He meets challenges on the trail and in his life with remarkable focus and enviable equanimity. His Life is Good® shirt says it all. Under a picture of a tent and a campfire is a single word… “SIMPLIFY.”

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Rex invites everyone to “Take it Further” in our Join the Movement campaign this October through December. Every apheresis donor during this time will receive a “Take it Further” t-shirt and become part of a national movement to educate donors about the importance of being a blood donor and the value of apheresis donation.

Together we are building a nation of people that understand the importance of donation and its impact on the patients who benefit from the lifesaving gift of blood and blood components. For more information about whole blood or apheresis donation, visit us online at or call (919) 784-4750. View a list of mobile blood drives at

Other special October events at Rex Donor Center:

  • Monday October 14 – Columbus Day – All blood donors at the center can register to win one pack of four admission tickets to the NC State Fair.
  • Monday October 28 – Be a part of Make A Difference Day – a national day of community service! In celebration of the event, all blood donors at the center will have a chance to win a $20 gift card to one of the Eschelon Hospitality restaurants (Mura, Sono, Cameron Bar and Grill, The Oxford ). One gift card will be drawn for every 5 donors up to a total of 8 winners.


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Fan Food Habits

Your beloved football team just experienced a gut-wrenching loss in overtime and, if you’re like many fans, you reach not for fruits and vegetables in which to drown your sorrows, but rather junk food. And more of it.

In a study published in Psychological Science, researchers found that, among participants partaking in a nutrition study, on the Monday after their city’s NFL team lost, they consumed 10 percent more calories and 16 percent more saturated fat compared with their typical daily diets. When their team won, they ate healthier, consuming 9 percent less saturated fat. No changes in Monday eating habits were observed in those who lived in cities without an NFL team.

The researchers also looked at whether the same comfort-food phenomenon occurred in French soccer fans after a team loss.

Using a writing exercise in which participants penned a story about their team’s win or loss, they discovered those who wrote about a defeat preferred unhealthy, sugar- and fat-laden snacks, compared with those who wrote about a victory. Such behavior could point to a bad trend of eating unhealthfully to deal with emotions.

One possible solution? The researchers found, in a separate part of the study, that using self-affirmation (in this case, writing about important things in your life, such as family and friend relationships), could curb unhealthy noshing, although more research on whether it works in stressful times is needed.

With a long football season ahead, it might be worthwhile to take some preventive approaches, such as having healthier snacks on hand or taking a walk instead of reaching for the chip bowl. Go team!

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Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Warm up with this delicious homemade soup—and freeze portions to reheat when you’re feeling under the weather!

3 pounds chicken pieces (skin removed)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 onion (chopped)
1 cup celery (washed and chopped)
3 carrots (large, scrubbed, thinly sliced)
4 cups noodles (dry)
1 tsp. thyme or sage (optional)

Place chicken pieces in large kettle. Cover completely with water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours. Remove cooked chicken pieces from broth with tongs or slotted spoon. Cool 10-15 minutes before separating bones from meat. Break meat into bite-size pieces. Remove any bones from broth.

Remove fat from broth by skimming with spoon, adding and removing ice cubes, or blotting top of broth with paper towels. Add chicken meat, seasonings and vegetables to the broth.

Bring broth to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook about 15-20 minutes on medium heat until sliced carrots are crispy-tender. Add noodles and boil uncovered for about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any noodles that might stick together.

Ladle into soup bowls. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking. If refrigerated, use within two days. When reheating, bring to a boil.


Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 350 calories, 12g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 100mg cholesterol, 320mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 5g sugar, 33g protein, 120 percent vitamin A, 8 percent vitamin C, 4 percent calcium, 15 percent iron.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Make the First Ride a Safe One

Robin Deal, BSN, RN, CPST is the Perinatal Services Manager for Rex Healthcare. She has been a Child Passenger Safety Technician for over 13 years.

Baby Car seatsDid you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13?  Many times injuries or death may be prevented by the proper use of child safety seats, booster seats, and seat belts.   The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years.  Research studies have shown as many as 70-80% of child seats are misused.

Parents want to know “What is the best car seat for my child?”  The best car seat is the one that fits your car, fits your child and one you will use correctly every time.  Because there are so many types and brands on the market, parents have trouble deciding which one to buy.  More expensive does not necessarily mean safer.  All child safety seats have to meet minimum safety standards.  Check the labels and seat instruction manual to make sure the seat meets federal requirements.

To find the seat that fits your car, start by checking your car’s manual to determine the seating positions you can use to install a seat in your vehicle.  Vehicle features such as width, depth and angle of the seating position and types of seat belt systems may limit the positions you can use.  Cars with 2-doors or “bucket” seats are often difficult to get into and install a seat.  In general, the safest place to install a seat is in the middle position of the back seat (for sedan models).  You may have to try out several seats before you find the right fit.  Your child’s weight and length (height) will help you decide on a seat that fits your child.  For newborns, an infant only rear-facing seat is the best recommendation.  The American Academy of Pediatrics  recommends that all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.  Make sure you select a seat you will use correctly every time.  You should be able to properly install the safety seat into your vehicle with less than 1 inch of movement and at the correct angle or position according to the seat instructions.  Remember to read both your car owner manual AND your child safety seat manual before installing your seat.

Are used car seats safe?  Before buying or borrowing a used car seat, find out the answers to these questions.  Has the seat been involved in a crash?  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has guidelines to help you decide if the seat is safe to use if it has been involved in a crash.  Does the seat have an instruction manual?  If not, you can call the manufacturer to get one.  Has the seat been recalled?  This question can be answered by looking at a recall list.  You can find a current list on the NHTSA website or on the North Carolina Buckle Up website at  Has the seat expired?  All current models of child safety seats have an expiration date imprinted on the bottom or on the car seat label.  Finally, make sure that the seat has all the pieces and parts specified in the car seat manual.

At Rex, we want to make sure that first ride is a safe one.  We offer a monthly Child Passenger Safety Class to educate parents on proper installation.  In addition, a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician is on duty Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to inspect your child safety seat installation.  In observance of national Child Passenger Safety Week, September 15-21, Rex will host its annual “I LOVE YOU BABY DAY” inspection clinic on Saturday, September 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second level of the Women’s Center parking deck.

For more information about car seats, check out the resources listed below.  You may also reach our technician at 919-784-1802.  Don’t forget, children learn by example so buckle up every time you get in your vehicle and make sure all passengers do the same.

Car Safety Seats – Information for Families – car seat tips

Subscribe to the Rex Pregnancy Newsletter today if you are expecting or have a family member who is expecting!

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Building a Late Summer BLT

Ryan ConklinRyan Conklin is a Chef Manager for Culinary & Nutritional Services at Rex. His mission is to bring healthy, gourmet cuisine to the Rex community & shed the label of “hospital food.”

As I get older in my culinary journey, this phrase starts to become more important to me everyday. There is a tendency on our world to construct dishes that are over-complicated and definitely neglect to highlight the quality of the individual ingredients.

Very often, as with making a quality pizza, less can actually become more! That was our inspiration today as I worked with guest Chef Tessa Nguyen to artfully craft a sandwich that was a little bit salty, smokey, sweet, and crunchy. With the help of two grill cooks, who handled all the orders, today I watched dozens of customers walk up to our grill station and all order the same thing one after another: The Ultimate BLT.

In the spirit of the late North Carolina summer, I really wanted to highlight this sandwich for lunch, and what a success it was. It all started with the bacon, which was house made from fresh pork belly that we cured for a week in a flavorful brine. It was then cold smoked for two hours using applewood chips. I sliced it nice and thick which gave it a meaty texture as this was one of the highlights of the sandwich.

After that, there was some really sexy (that’s right, I said it) heirloom tomatoes that were hand picked in the morning at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. Today’s variety were all locally grown, and included Cherokee Purples, Marvel Stripes, and Brandywines. They were absolutely delicious, being both perfectly ripened and juicy. We sliced them rather thick, with the hopes of the tomato juices bursting in your mouth as you take your first bite.

To top it off,  we used a couple young red leaf lettuce fillets on each sandwich. They were plush and crisp at the same time, still having a rich flavor, which is not something achieved when using Iceberg lettuce.

As we layered these ingredients atop of our lightly toasted  Wheatberry bread, the top piece was brushed with a generous schmear of a lovely lemon basil mayonnaise that Chef Tessa made with basil picked right from our herb garden just five minutes prior. This spread that she made was perfectly seasoned with just a hint of fresh garlic.

What a sandwich, perfect for this time of the year when the tomatoes are at the peak of freshness here in North Carolina. I was happy, and I’m sure the 40 plus people that enjoyed one for lunch in Raleigh today felt just the same.

Five layers of Love,

Chef Ryan

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Liz Jackson: Ironwoman

Post by Liz Jackson, Garner Wellness Center Member.

I have been a member of Rex Wellness since moving to Garner in 2007.  That year, at the age of 39, I completed my first triathlon.  It was a sprint distance and I had three goals that day:

  1. Don’t drown in the swim
  2. Don’t crash on the bike (especially since I was borrowing my best friend’s husband’s bike!)
  3. Don’t fall over on the run.

I accomplished all three goals and had a really fun time!

Last summer I set my sights on doing an Ironman triathlon in July 2013, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim (not in a pool), a 112 mile bike, and then a 26.2 mile run, for a total of 140.6 miles covered in one day.

Ironman events have a 17 hour time limit, typically starting at 7:00 am and ending with a high-energy midnight finish line.  I chose the Ironman in Lake Placid, New York as my race because compared to other races the water temperature was not too chilly, the typical weather was not too hot, and it looked like a beautiful and interesting place to visit (which I hoped would be good to encourage friends/family to come and support me!).

I started training in earnest in January of this year although I already had a good base of fitness for biking and running.  My training plan included 12 weeks of training to get faster, and then 12 weeks of training to go farther.  The training schedule was intense with long workouts on the weekends and usually a total of 12 to 15 hours per week of workouts.

One thing I definitely underestimated was the amount of time required on top of the actual workout time, like the time to drive to and from the gym or pool, time to do all the extra laundry(!), time to study the training plan, time to read about things like race-day nutrition and strategy, time for planning long bike training routes, and cleaning out and then re-packing my gym bag for the next day.  It felt like I had part-time job training for the Ironman!

View of some roads in the Adriondack Mountains

On July 28th, 2013 I woke up ready for the event.  There were almost 2500 participants, with only a small number of people who are really racing to win and the rest of us just out there competing.  I am really, really lucky that I had a tremendous support crew of family and friends from all over the country who were excited to come to NY to cheer for me.  They spread out over the course and gave me something to look forward to all day long – they were amazing!

I finished the race in 12 hours, 39 minutes and 11 seconds – a time with which I am very happy.  I swam in Mirror Lake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rode my bike around the Adirondack Mountains for 6 hours and 16 minutes, and then took 4 hours and 54 minutes to complete the run through and around Lake Placid.  All day long I could not stop smiling!  I was so happy to have completed the training injury-free and to be there competing.  To appreciate the opportunity to be out there was my number one goal and that was really easy to do on race day.

Liz Jackson with some her supporters at the Ironman finish line

Completing an Ironman takes a high degree of commitment to the training, both on the athlete’s part and on the part of the athlete’s family (I have the best and most supportive husband on the planet!). But if an Ironman is a goal you’ve been admiring then you can achieve it!  You don’t have to be an athletic all-star; you just have to be committed.

In Lake Placid I met a woman who did not learn to swim until she was 39 and she was there completing her fourth Ironman.  I also met a 72-year-old man completing his fifth Ironman.  From my first tri at 39 years old to completing an Ironman at 45, I am a big believer that if a long-distance triathlon is something you’ve always wanted to do, then decide to commit to it and make it happen!

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