How many people have regarded 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 obtained 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 would see individuals working away from the hearth and the hazard. However there have been additionally individuals working towards the constructing,” he says. Including, “This scene profoundly influenced my sense of obligation, honor, and braveness.”

Final summer season, at simply 17 years outdated, Foley III turned the youngest EMT in Texas.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 virtually 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 mentioned, ‘There needs to be a greater method.’”

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 Cellular Medical Labs automobile, bringing 15-minute COVID-19 assessments to anybody within the Houston space who wants one. He costs a $150 payment to those that will pay. A portion of that payment goes to fund free assessments for the aged, homeless, and veterans in the neighborhood. So far, the enterprise has offered greater than 4,000 free assessments. “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 listing of potential faculties: Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton. “I’d wish to change into a trauma surgeon or plastic surgeon,” he says. “So long as I can save lives and assist different individuals, 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 change into a profitable particular person.

If you happen to might do something to assist others, what would you do?

I might begin academic 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 completed and blissful if I have been in a position to enhance the lives of others utilizing medication.

What do you do to calm down?

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


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

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