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DaVita Teammate Receives Life-Changing News from DNA Test

In January of 2008, I spent two weeks on a mission trip in Africa. While I was there, I asked a lot of locals what tribe they thought I might be from. Almost all the African natives told me I had features of the people of Cameroon/Congo.

Fast forward to May of 2017, and there was a big sale on one of those mail-in DNA tests, so I decided to give one a try just for fun. I saw this as my perfect opportunity to discover the people of my past. I have always wanted to do the test to see if what I had been told when I was in Africa was true, so I placed my order and was so excited to spit in the little tube and send it off for testing.

A couple months later, I received an email that my results were finally ready. I was so excited as I opened the DNA story tab, and my results read that I was 40% Cameroon/Congo, 27% Togo and various other countries – Ireland, Scotland and England to name a few.

The next tab I chose to review was my family matches. And what I saw next would forever change my world, my life alignment and who I thought I was.

An unknown family match came up, and the results concluded that they were either my parent, child or identical twin. As far as I knew, this was completely impossible. I’m not a twin, I never had a child and my Daddy had been in my life since I was born.

Well, after several emails and a phone call, I discovered that this mystery man was in fact my biological father. He and my mother had a brief encounter while he was in Korea in the military.

My world and everything I knew completely fell apart at that moment. I went through months of questioning who I was and serious episodes of depression. And on top of everything, I lost my Daddy last February. I not only had to grieve the loss of my identity and who I thought I was, but I also had to grieve the loss of my Daddy who raised me as his very own.

Shortly after the discovery of my heritage, I found a Facebook page that a lady named Catherine had started for people who have been given the same type of shocking news that I did. At the time, this group was a very small and consisted of only 12 people who all had similar stories to what I had just experienced. We all made this discovery of our new found backgrounds from a DNA test that we thought was for entertainment purposes. We never dreamed that our life story would be changed forever.

After exchanging stories with Catherine, she had asked me if I wanted to assist her with this Facebook group, as it was slowly starting to grow and more stories just like mine were starting to take shape.

After joining this special group of people on Facebook, members of the media found it and eventually, our stories went viral. I have had the opportunity to do interviews for newspapers, and I flew to NYC to do show segments with others from the Facebook group for Good Morning America, Night Line and Dr. Oz.

I have been able to share my story across the world and most importantly, I’ve been able to help other people who are starting on their own roller coaster journey like mine. Our group of 12 has now grown to over 3,800 people in 18 months.

I’m happy to report that I’m now at a good place in my life. With the support of my family, DaVita teammates and services offered by DaVita, I’ve become at peace. Overall, what has helped me the most is being able to motivate others as they go through this journey.

I’ve been able to take what I thought was a mess and turn it into a positive message for myself and others. This discovery of my past and journey to seek out a new part of my family has been one of the most difficult moments I have ever experienced. But while it has been difficult, I have been able to provide comfort and support to others just like me and gain more family members I didn’t know I had.

I feel that giving back to the community of those just like me, who are also going through the same discovery of their past as I did, gives me peace. I know my Daddy would be proud of me and the help I am providing them.

Hope LaMonica

Hope LaMonica

Hope is a DaVita care coordinator in Centennial, CO.