NJ man drives over 500 miles to deliver N95 masks to his sister who’s a nurse

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It was the ultimate display of sibling love.

Joshua Yajcaji, 30, drove more than 500 miles to bring his older sister protective equipment to the hospital where she works.

Alexis Schulman, 34, is a nurse — among the health workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Like many working in hospitals, Schulman and her colleagues were tight on their supply of protective gear.

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls shortages in protective gear for health care personnel “a tremendous challenge to the US healthcare system.”

Yajcaji wanted to help — so he encouraged Vivint Solar, the company where he works, to donate 395 N95 masks to Cone Health’s Green Valley Campus in High Point, North Carolina, where Schulman works. The hospital is dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients.

The masks were initially bought to protect the workers at Vivint Solar. But after learning that simple face coverings would suffice for its workers as they installed solar panels, the New Jersey-based company decided to donate them to those more in need.

“My sister being in that hospital swayed my mind a bit, but for that hospital to change to a strictly COVID hospital made me make that decision,” Yajcaji told CNN.

A simple FedEx delivery would have been quick and easy, but instead, Yajcaji and his lifelong friend, Corey Vafiadis, set out at 3 a.m. last Thursday to drive 530 miles to North Carolina.

“I haven’t seen my sister in years,” Yajcaji said. “To personally bring it down with something to bring us together (let’s me) show personally I’ll always be there for her.”

Schulman knew that her brother was coming, thanks to a little birdie named Mom — but that didn’t make the gesture any less heartfelt, she said.

“I wasn’t surprised. He always does things for people and giving the shirt off his back to make sure they’re taken care of,” Schulman told CNN. “Three hundred and fifty masks mean we can be well protected for another several weeks.”

After Yajcaji passed on the box of masks to his sister, the siblings shared a socially distanced hug. And then Yajcaji and his friend hit the road again to drive back 530 miles to New Jersey.

While the 1,060-mile round trip was long and tiring, Yajcaji said he would do it all over again if he could.

“My sister is my life,” he said. “She’s always been a caring person and now that she found her career as a nurse, she can’t shut up about it. She’s found a real passion for it.”

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