Up and Away! Nurse Shares Balloon Race Passion With Patients


Home Health Nurse Shirley Keys has been volunteering at the Great Reno Balloon Race for almost two decades. This year’s event will be held Sept. 9-11 at Rancho San Rafael Park. 

What started out as something to do, has turned into an annual passion for Shirley Keys, LPN, Renown Home Health. She has been volunteering for the Great Reno Balloon Race for 18 years.

Keys says the volunteer work keeps her calm and provides an easy conversation piece for her patients.

“My patients love hearing about what is going on out there, other than their own lives, because sometimes they are pretty sick,” Keys says. “It’s fun to hear about going up in the balloon and the little adventure that goes along with that.” 

Keys recently participated in a practice launch with Truckee Pilot Tony Rivera at Rancho San Rafael Park in preparation for this year’s event Sept. 9-11.

“As an aeronaut, I take that whole week off,” Keys says. “And this year I’m helping out with scoring. Every year I help with set-up and tear-down. And every little tiny aspect of this event, I’ve helped out with.”