SOURCE: News release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway
INDIANAPOLIS – Viewers across the globe will be treated to a poignant and stirring rendition of “God Bless America” during Sunday’s “Indy 500 Special: Back Home Again” airing at 2 p.m. EDT on NBC. The performance by Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgery residents Dr. Elvis Francois and Dr. William Robinson will provide a fitting tribute to front-line workers and help support The Fight Is In Us, an important campaign to encourage survivors of COVID-19 to donate potentially life-saving plasma for research into COVID-19 treatments.
Dr. Francois and Dr. Robinson have performed for patients at Mayo Clinic for several years, delivering emotional support alongside medical treatment to those in need. They recently uploaded their version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” to Instagram, featuring Dr. Francois’ soaring vocals and Dr. Robinson on the piano, as a tribute to fellow professionals across all industries working tirelessly to combat COVID-19. The post struck a chord with social media users worldwide, quickly going viral. After being noticed by executives at Big Machine Label Group, the pair recorded a special EP, “Music is Medicine,” with proceeds going to the Center of Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund.
“We’re honored to be part of this special broadcast from racing’s most iconic venue,” Dr. Francois said. “Seeing so many of my colleagues and front-line workers across the country come together in the midst of such challenging times has been inspiring. This performance is dedicated to everyone who keeps showing up in the fight against COVID-19.
“Our performance is very much about hope,” Dr. Robinson said. “It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together and we’re all working tirelessly toward the same goal. Despite the current hardships, there is definitely reason for optimism, and we hope that our rendition of ‘God Bless America’ will reflect this mindset.”
The doctors’ appearance on Sunday’s broadcast will also help draw attention to a new campaign in the battle against COVID-19: The Fight Is In Us. Mayo Clinic is a founding member of this effort to set up a seamless and convenient experience for the donation of convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors. This plasma can be used to treat people today and create medicines to treat patients in the future. To learn more about this vital campaign generated by leading health and life sciences organizations, visit: www.thefightisinus.org starting Sunday, May 24.
For more than 100 years, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race presented by Gainbridge has taken place over Memorial Day weekend. This year’s race was originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, but was rescheduled to Sunday, Aug. 23, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Sunday, viewers will be treated to a special broadcast on NBC that chronicles the 2019 race, featuring an epic duel between Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi. The program will be narrated by NBC’s Mike Tirico and will incorporate specially produced pre-race moments such as the performance by Dr. Francois and Dr. Robinson.