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Deliveryman honored for getting cancer drugs to child

By LI YINGQING in Kunming and CHEN MEILING | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-12-25 09:02
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Kang Qibo delivers parcels in Kunming, Yunnan province. PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Kang Qibo, a 32-year-old deliveryman from Kunming, Yunnan province, has been honored for helping obtain drugs for a young leukemia patient during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He was named by the Ministry of Transport as a national advanced individual in the transportation industry for his selfless efforts during the outbreak, regardless of the risk to his personal safety.

On the afternoon of Feb 14, Kang was delivering parcels when his boss called and asked him to fetch cancer treatment drugs from the Kunming Children's Hospital for a 3-year-old child with leukemia.

The child's family lives in Gejiu, Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture, Yunnan, about 280 kilometers from Kunming. They had called Kang's company for help, saying the child was in urgent need of the drugs.

Before, they had been able to travel to Kunming to get medical treatment and drugs for the child, but at the end of January, cross-city buses and taxis were suspended due to the COVID-19 epidemic. In desperation, they turned to Kang's express delivery service company for help.

Kang said he momentarily hesitated at the request, as few people were willing to visit hospitals at the time due to the novel coronavirus threat. "I heard there was one confirmed COVID-19 case of a store owner 500 to 600 meters from the hospital," he said.

However, the military veteran said his thoughts turned to his three children and what he would do if one of them was in a similar situation.

"My heart is wrenched every time one of my children gets sick," he said. "I felt sad hearing that the life of such a small child depended on drugs."

Rushing to the hospital, he parked his motorbike outside, was disinfected at the entrance, then phoned the number of a doctor the family had provided. A doctor in protective clothing handed him four boxes of medicine and he returned to his company's delivery station 2 km away.

Yang Zhihui, head of the station, said the team coordinated its efforts to quickly deliver the drugs and the family called to say "thank you" after receiving them at 11 am the day after they were picked up by Kang.

Yang said she gave Kang the job as "he is familiar with the area and was near the hospital at that time".

It was the third consecutive year Kang had worked during the Spring Festival holiday.

Yang said the delivery workers who stayed during the festival had a heavy workload and greater contact with people, which put them at a higher risk of infection.

Kang said his workload increased from 80 to 180 deliveries a day over the period and he worked 11-hour shifts. "Most of my clients purchased fresh food and daily necessities. Some received face masks," he said.

Despite his brave act, Kang said he did not expect to receive the award from the ministry. "I was just doing my everyday work," he said, adding he felt proud and happy to be able to help the child.

The only breadwinner in a family of five, Kang said he is satisfied with his job, earning 5,000 to 6,000 yuan ($765-$920) a month.

Yang said since Kang joined the company in 2017, he has traveled over 32,000 km, and customers have praised his professionalism and prompt delivery of goods.

In total, three deliverymen in Yunnan were honored for their contributions during the epidemic. The Kunming Municipal Postal Administration said the workers set an example for others in the industry to "make extraordinary contributions" while working "ordinary posts".

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