Houston mom's mission to return lost keys helps raise awareness about son's rare disease

- A Houston-area mom made an order on Amazon, but when it arrived there something she never expected in the box: a lanyard and a set of apartment and car keys. She then made it her mission to get the keys back to their owner. In the process of tracking the owner down, she also helped raise awareness for her son's rare disease.

Richmond resident Nicole Shen's three-year-old son Roman has a rare disease called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. The disease is characterized by a variety of issues including bone marrow failure and a compromised immune system. "My son has a rare, life-threatening disease, and we rely heavily on Amazon," said Shen.

Nicole says because of Roman's health she doesn't take Roman out to stores a lot so she relies on Amazon to get things.

In her most recent order, Nicole got the item she wanted but also a set of keys and a lanyard with a picture of Kenneth Delerme. She said at first she was confused but the lanyard had all of Kenneth's info on it so she set out find him. "I called the human resources number on the lanyard. I knew this guy needed to get his keys back." 

Nicole said she tried to contact Kenneth through Amazon but wasn't having any luck so she decided to turn to Facebook. She made a post in the hopes someone could help. "I put the post on social media and it took on a life of its own! There was even a hashtag for it, #findkenneth!" 

The post was shared and the search for Kenneth was on. Multiple people found other Amazon workers on social media who offered to help. Everyone messaged Kenneth on all forms of social media.

Nicole says after four hours, Kenneth finally contacted her. It turns out Kenneth works at the Amazon Fulfillment Center SAT2 in San Marcos.

Kenneth reportedly cried when he received the keys.  "He had his car towed. He was even locked out of his apartment." When he finally connected with Nicole, he reached out to find what he could do to help her.  Nicole told him about her son, Roman and how her family is desperate to find a bone marrow match that can save him.  Kenneth then instantly began advocating for Roman. 

Nicole says Kenneth immediately asked how he could sign up for the registry. Kenneth swabbed and then others that were following the story also decided to do it as well.

Nicole says hundreds of new people have signed up for the registry to try and help Roman.

It's also important for people to sign up because Roman is half Chinese and half Italian and less than 6% of the registry is Asian. Less than 4% is of mixed race.

"Just as I've moved mountains to find you, I've literally moved mountains for my son's match," Nicole told Kenneth. 

Nicole added, "I was persistent in finding Kenneth and getting his keys back. In return, he wanted to help us save my son's life. It is fate those keys got to me because everything since has been magic!" Nicole says. 

"He's got a heart of gold, "said Nicole of Kenneth. Kenneth has thankfully been reunited with his keys. Roman sent him a drawing and the family also included a key finder too. In a Facebook post, Kenneth says, "I'll try to not to send them to you again!"

To get more information or to help you can go to Be The Match's website.

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