Longtime Friends Learn They Are Actually Brothers After Cancer Diagnosis, Survival Becomes Sweeter

Longtime Friends Learn They Are Actually Brothers After Cancer Diagnosis, Survival Becomes Sweeter

After one of them was diagnosed with cancer, he searched for his biological father, but what he found was even more surprising.

Walter Gordy, 37, and Mark Tolson, 36 had known each other for 12 years as acquaintances. They both were raised by mothers who had them through artificial insemination. After a series of strange and unbelievable turn of events, they have discovered that they actually half-brothers. 


According to People.com, Walter Gordy’s life was shaken when he was diagnosed with cancer. He was battling lymphoma five years ago when the doctors had found a lump in his neck. Gordy underwent treatment and was declared cancer-free after nine months. With that, he wanted to determine whether he was at risk for any other health issues. So, he turned to the genetic testing service 23AndMe.


While Gordy did not get to see any close relatives on his father's side at that point. “When I looked at my dad’s side, the closest thing I could find was the third cousin and she was from New York,” Gordy said. “I would go on 23andMe about once a week, sometimes twice a week to see if any updates happened.” 


On the other hand, Mark Tolson was looking to learn more about his family. And his quest to learn about his biological father led him to 23AndMe in August last year. 


“I'm looking at the different percentages of nationalities ... just going down the list. Then I see a part that says, 'DNA relatives,'” Tolson told InsideEdition.com. “I am expecting to find is third or fourth cousins…. Boom, pops up Walt. So I see him and go, ‘I know him.’” 


Gordy had already used 23andMe in 2014. And he had been waiting for something to turn up. On Sept 19, 2018, Gordy received a life-changing call from Tolson. 


“I'm at the park working out and my phone rings. It says, 'Mark,'” Gordy said. “I pick up the phone. We usually don’t talk on the phone generally. He said, ‘I did the 23andMe four to six weeks ago. I got the results today and at the top of the list it says we're brothers, man.’” 

Gordy said he was totally shocked and asked to call Tolson back. Sure enough, Gordy's account confirmed it.


The shock only crazies when both brothers learned their mothers actually knew each other already. The women did not know, however, that they had used the same fertility doctor or that their sons are related. 

“My mom drops the phone on the table. She goes, ‘Oh my God, that’s Wini and we sing in the choir together and I just saw her 20 minutes ago at church,’” Gordy said of his mom’s reaction. 


After the reality of everything began to set in, Tolson and Gordy were both ecstatic to find out they were brothers. They and their mothers quickly became family and celebrated Thanksgiving dinner together. They’ve since traveled together as well. 

“The cancer was the best thing that ever to me because I was able to find a blessing on the end,” Gordy said. “I feel like anybody that has cancer you can look up and see something better in the end.”

Now, Gordy and Tolson have a very important question they want answered: “Who do you think can run faster?” Tolson joked.


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