KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Nowadays, many of them rise from the medical field, where coronavirus testing is an immediate priority.
NASCAR is taking a pitstop to honor 36 heroes working on the COVID-19 front lines, including a medical pro at Kansas City’s Truman Medical Center.
Just like stock car racing stars are, Cindy Sheets is now often surrounded by automobiles.
Sheets ensures people are getting the care they need at drive-up COVID-19 testing sites she helps arrange, as the heartbeat of Truman Medical Center’s drive-up testing program. She and her crew help erect a testing tent that goes by many affectionate terms.
“We’ve called it a hut, all sorts of things. A she-shed. You name it,” Sheets said.
Sheets and her staff partner with various nonprofits in the Kansas City metro to offer drive-up testing seven days per week. On Tuesday, Sheets said she and her team can test as many as 80 people per day.
“Every call that we get for them to be tested in the hut comes through there,” she said. “We get over 200 calls per day that have a lot of scared people and people who just want to know, people who have symptoms and want to know. Some are really sick. Some aren’t sick at all.”
But now, a different kind of mobile unit steers into Sheets’ world — the kind that runs around 9,000 rpm.
Sheets is FOX4’s honoree for NASCAR’s Healthcare Heroes Program, in which, stock car racing’s brightest stars pay tribute to heroes working as fast as they can.
As an honorary grand marshal, Sheets and others medical professionals will give the call “drivers, start your engines” to begin this Sunday’s race, the Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway.
That broadcast will be on FOX4 this Sunday at 3 p.m.
“It’s an honor. I’m excited and thrilled to get to do it, but definitely a shout-out to the whole team I’m working with,” Sheets said.
Sheets is also the driving force behind Truman Med’s new program that will COVID-test every patient coming to the hospital for a procedure 48 hours beforehand.
She said she and her husband were NASCAR fans to begin with, and Cup Series stars like two-time Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch aren’t bashful about paying tribute to medical heroes and their mission.
“What’s more inspiring is the dedication you have right now with everything we’re going through,” Busch said. “We know, pretty soon, this will all behind us. Those on the front line won’t be forgotten.”
“We’re not heroes. We’re health care workers,” Sheets shrugged. “What else would I be doing? I wouldn’t be sitting at home. This is what I’m meant to do.”
Truman Medical Center reported an uptick in people getting tested for COVID-19, a service the hospital provides every day at the the Pavillion Parking Lot at 23rd and Campbell.