A Father’s Day gift to a Hilton man from his daughters changed their family forever. A DNA Ancestry kit opened a world he didn't know existed, and it blew up the world he did know.
“My mind was blown,” recalled Shaun Freeman.
At 45 years old, Shaun learned he had a half-brother who was the same age and also lived in Hilton, just a mile away. His name is Tom Parsons.
”A lot of the mannerisms he has, my uncle has, and I'm like, he's definitely part of the family,” said Parsons.
Tom and Shaun have the same father that neither of them ever knew. They also didn't know their father had a family in Missouri and they have four other half-siblings. A DNA test their sister took led her to Tom, which lead to Shaun and their first meeting last month.
"Just seeing him walk in, it was like, 'That looks a lot like me.' It was just weird," Shaun recalled.
They share the same unmistakable profile, a love of the Washington Redskins, bowling and beer. And, oh yes, their sense of humor is similar, too.
Tom and Shaun’s daughters were best friends in middle school, before they learned they were cousins.
The brothers’ families have bonded in just a matter of weeks and both say they genuinely like each and have spent a lot of late nights together.
They are making up for lost time, 45 missed years. But in some ways, this was the right time. Tom has stage four endocrine cancer.
“His family is my out. 150 percent. When I'm with him, I don't think about it. That's why I’m constantly knocking on your door," Tom joked to a smiling Shaun.
Once strangers, they are now a family-focused - not on the memories they missed, but the ones they are making. Tom and Shaun are looking forward to a joint family trip Missouri where Tom can introduce him to the rest of their siblings.