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

Foley bought 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 probably the most was that, as one of many towers fell and the mud rose, you could possibly see folks operating away from the hearth and the hazard. However there have been additionally folks operating towards the constructing,” he says. Including, “This scene profoundly influenced my sense of responsibility, honor, and braveness.”

Final summer time, at simply 17 years outdated, Foley III turned the youngest EMT in Texas.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

After he accomplished the scientific 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 manner.’”

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 12 months of highschool, he spends 20 hours per week working in his Texas Cellular Medical Labs automobile, bringing 15-minute COVID-19 exams to anybody within the Houston space who wants one. He prices a $150 charge to those that pays. A portion of that charge goes to fund free exams for the aged, homeless, and veterans locally. Thus far, the enterprise has supplied greater than 4,000 free exams. “I’d wish to suppose that I’m having a huge impact — making the Houston space just a little bit safer,” he says.

As for all times after highschool, he has a formidable checklist of potential schools: Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton. “I’d wish to turn 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 particular person.”

WebMD Unique: Our 2021 Well being Hero Will get Private

Who’s your hero?

My father, as a result of he was in a position to break the cycle of poverty he was born into to turn into a profitable particular person.

In case 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 pleased if I have been in a position to enhance the lives of others utilizing drugs.

What do you do to loosen up?

I wish to sleep, learn, and speak to my associates.


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Taft Foley III, highschool scholar, founding father of Texas Cellular Medical Labs.

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