How many people have seemed on the rising COVID-19 circumstances in our communities and questioned, “What can I do to assist?” Eighteen-year-old Taft Foley III turned that thought into motion, beginning his personal cellular COVID-19 testing lab.

Foley received the urge to assist after watching movies of 9/11, which occurred earlier than he was born. “The one factor that caught out to me essentially the most was that, as one of many towers fell and the mud rose, you possibly can see folks operating away from the fireplace and the hazard. However there have been additionally folks operating towards the constructing,” he says. Including, “This scene profoundly influenced my sense of obligation, honor, and braveness.”

Final summer season, at simply 17 years previous, Foley III grew to become the youngest EMT in Texas. He cared for a lot of desperately sick COVID-19 sufferers at the back of an ambulance. “It was fairly scary,” he says. “They have been in very dangerous form. Individuals have been nearly unable to breathe in any respect.”

After he accomplished the medical portion of EMT coaching, Foley III needed to get a COVID-19 take a look at. He famous the 3- to 4-hour waits on the state’s testing facilities, and the two weeks it took to get his outcomes. “Throughout these 2 weeks, I used to be quarantined. I stated, ‘There must be a greater approach.’”

He raised $60,000 (by promoting his classic comedian books and online game assortment, doing yard work within the neighborhood, amongst different issues), which his father matched, and used the cash to purchase a van and testing provides. Whereas ending his senior yr of highschool, he spends 20 hours per week working in his Texas Cell Medical Labs car, bringing 15-minute COVID-19 exams to anybody within the Houston space who wants one. He fees a $150 payment to those that will pay. A portion of that payment goes to fund free exams for the aged, homeless, and veterans locally. Up to now, the enterprise has supplied greater than 4,000 free exams. “I’d prefer to suppose that I’m having a big effect — making the Houston space a bit of bit safer,” he says.

As for all times after highschool, he has a formidable listing of potential schools: Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton. “I’d prefer to change into a trauma surgeon or plastic surgeon,” he says. “So long as I can save lives and assist different folks, I’ll be a contented individual.”

WebMD Unique: Our 2021 Well being Hero Will get Private

Who’s your hero?

My father, as a result of he was capable of break the cycle of poverty he was born into to change into a profitable individual.

Should you might do something to assist others, what would you do?

I might begin instructional applications to tutor and mentor youth, to assist break the cycle of poverty in African American communities.

What’s your dream job?

I might really feel fairly achieved and comfortable if I have been capable of enhance the lives of others utilizing drugs.

What do you do to chill out?

I prefer to sleep, learn, and speak to my pals.


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Taft Foley III, highschool pupil, founding father of Texas Cell Medical Labs.

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