A seemingly random turn of events ended up leading to a stunning act of selflessness recently after an Amazon packaging worker dropped his keys into one of his boxes. It all started when Richmond woman Nicole Shen ordered something off the popular retailing site. Kenneth Delerme was tasked with packing up her product ready for shipping.
“I love my job,” said Delerme, as reported by KHOU. “I’m one of the faster packers in the building.” But it all went wrong for the hardworking employee a couple weeks back after his keys slipped into Nicole’s package. Before he knew it, the box was being whisked 150 miles away, landing on Nicole’s Richmond doorstep.
When Nicole opened the box up, she knew that something wasn’t right. “I just instantly was like, these are car keys! This is in apartment key! I’ve got to find this guy.” she said. So, she took to Facebook and posted a picture of the keys and Kenneth’s Amazon employee badge. With the help of her social network, she found him and arranged delivery of his keys back to him.
Delerme was overcome with gratitude. He had to have his car towed, and was sleeping at a friend’s apartment as he couldn’t get into his own. “It was so amazing what Nicole did,” he explained. Even if it ended there, it’s a nice story – but that wasn’t the end of this one. It came to Kenneth’s attention that Nicole’s three-year-old son Roman had a rare disease called Schwachman Diamond Syndrome. After what Nicole had done for him, Delerme was compelled to help out in some way.
Roman is rarely allowed outside the house as his condition means he can become very sick from something as common as a cough or cold. “It primarily affects the pancreas, the liver and the blood. The blood is the most fatal part,” Shen explained.
The reason Roman’s immune system is so deficient is due to his inability to produce white blood cells. “I’m really careful about who comes around us because he can’t get sick. It’s so dangerous for him.” Shen said. In fact, that is why she often shops online – to prevent Roman from unnecessary exposure to germs and infection.
Treatment is complex, but really, Roman needs a bone marrow transplant, and that means finding a match. The family has spent most of Roman’s life hunting the globe for a match. “I’m his mom, I have to find his match out there so I will swab anyone that I meet basically,” Shen explained. Matches have been found, but they are yet to find a person who would be willing to give up some of their own bone marrow.
“It hurts every time because this is my son and we’re trying to save his life,” Nicole explained.
To find out if you are a match, you simply have to take a swab from the inside of your cheek. “It takes about 10 minutes. You swab the inside of your cheek. You could save my son’s life or someone else’s life,” Nicole told KHOU last March.
When Kenneth heard this, he sprung into action. He joined the donation registry, bought one of Roman’s shirts and even got others swabbing to see if he could locate the right person.
“All my friends and coworkers and family are helping Roman or other people that need bone marrow,” said Delerme. The newly formed friendship between Kenneth and Nicole means a wider net can be cast in the quest for a suitable donor.
Despite many believing this was all a crazy coincidence, Nicole is convinced that there was a spiritual element to the whole situation. “I was like, this is a God moment right here. This is the universe helping us,” she said.
“We all say Leukemia is awful, cancer is awful, I wish I could do something… you can! That cure’s in you and that’s the medicine. That’s the medicine my son needs.”
Learn more about donating by visiting the National Marrow Donor Program here.