LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — When the pandemic hit, the world was faced with new challenges and health care workers felt the brunt of the impact with all the uncertainty and negativity that came with COVID-19.
It's been a two-year battle for healthcare workers who have endured a physical, emotional and mental toll. However, inside the Aria Resort at the Mattel Barbie Exhibit, you can find a source of inspiration and hope.
"It's a life-changing thing, and I feel really blessed. I feel like I want to continue to give back to the community," said Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, a physician at Intermountain Health Care.
Last August, Barbie honored six workers around the country, including Las Vegas local Sue Cruz.
"They told me that they wanted to make a Barbie doll out of me, which I thought was amazing. It was totally unbelievable at the time," she said.
This honor followed a viral video featuring several physicians around the United States.
The video called "#ImNotAVirus" takes aim at misinformation from the pandemic and how Asian Americans were treated due to the virus breaking out in China in late 2019.
For the local physician, who is Filipina, she felt she needed to stand up and make her voice heard.
"It was super important for us, especially as physicians of Asian American background to inform people that there is a lot of misinformation going on. So, we really wanted to make that message that, hey, we are all in this together and finger-pointing won't help combat this virus," she said.
The honor from Barbie is something Sue Cruz never expected, however, she's using it as a way to inspire young kids.
"It doesn't matter what your background is. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to get there. It's possible for you," said Sue Cruz.
Now her hometown is showing her love as well. Her Barbie doll is on display at the Barbie Mattel Exhibit inside the Aria at the Shops at Crystals.
A full-circle moment for Sue Cruz because she said Las Vegas is where she decided she wanted to be a doctor.
"I completely came full circle, and I hope to continue to inspire the next generation of girls in our community and all over the world."
Earlier this month, Mattel held a private event at the exhibit inside the Aria for Sue Cruz, her friends and her family. She said it was the first time her friends and family got to see her Barbie on display.
She added it was an amazing night filled with love and laughter.