Innovator: Taft Foley III

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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 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 behind an ambulance. “It was fairly scary,” he says. “They had been in very unhealthy form. Folks had 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 must be a greater means.’”

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 car, bringing 15-minute COVID-19 checks to anybody within the Houston space who wants one. He expenses a $150 charge to those that pays. A portion of that charge goes to fund free checks for the aged, homeless, and veterans in the neighborhood. Up to now, the enterprise has offered greater than 4,000 free checks. “I’d prefer to suppose that I’m having a big effect — making the Houston space a bit bit safer,” he says.

As for all times after highschool, he has a formidable record of potential faculties: 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 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.

In case you might do something to assist others, what would you do?

I’d 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’d really feel fairly achieved and glad if I had been in a position to enhance the lives of others utilizing drugs.

What do you do to loosen up?

I prefer to sleep, learn, and discuss to my buddies.


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

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