Walter Gordy and Mark Tolson have known each other for 12 years, but it was a cancer diagnosis that led the pair to discover they're actually brothers.

By Char Adams
April 24, 2019

Both Walter Gordy, 37, and Mark Tolson, 36, grew up as only children and were raised by their mothers who had them through artificial insemination. They’ve been friends for 12 years, and now a strange twist of events has led the pals to discover that they’re actually half-brothers.

“Thirty five years later I found out I had a brother, so that’s pretty amazing to me,” Tolson told Today. Gordy added: “In the end, all the pain and all the hurt I went through … was all worth it knowing I have a blessing at the end.”

The story began to unfold five years ago when Gordy was diagnosed with lymphoma after doctors found a lump in his neck, he told Today. The news came as a shock to Gordy.

“It was devastating for me because I had been healthy my entire life,” he said. “Never had anything more than a cold.”

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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. At this point the results didn’t show any close relatives on his father’s side of the family, but registering on the site later allowed Tolson to make a DNA match.

Tolson was looking to learn more about his family after the birth of his son, so when he registered with the same DNA service, it made a match, and he was shocked by the results.

“I saw a part that said DNA relatives, so I clicked on that,” Tolson explained to Today. “It popped up and it said Walt Gordon III. I was like, ‘Mom, I know him!’ “

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As it turns out, the men’s mothers, who had known each other for 13 years, unknowingly ended up with the same sperm donor, according to Today. Tolson broke the news to Gordy on a phone call. Gordy said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing at first. Now, he said, he views the discovery as the ultimate blessing.

“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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