Jan 31, 2014 - Stories

The Ties That Bind

Daniella had always pestered her father about details of their ancestry, but apart from a few bits and pieces he never gave her a clear picture of their family background.Daniella

When he began his battle with terminal cancer, Daniella decided that it was time to learn more about their ancestry together using 23andMe.

Both Daniella, a co-host of a local TV show in Brooklyn, NY, and her father had always shared a love of science. Testing allowed them to bond over the science of DNA. It also allowed Daniella to learn more about her family.

What she knew about her family only went back two or three generations and that most of that information was hazy at best.

“I had been asking my Dad to write down what he knew of our family tree. The names he knew. The stories he knew. This foray into 23andMe was intended to supplement that and wake us all up to how connected we are to people we did not know and places we did not know and makes us all feel deeply that we are all woven into the human tapestry.”

Daniella saw 23andMe offered as a way to make her father feel that connection, so she shared her own results with him.

As a chemical engineer, the science behind genetic testing piqued her father’s interest. His 23andMe results came in just as the Christmas
holidays were beginning.

“We are really good at being a family. I knew that we would all be getting together looking at some old Kodak slides. I just thought that 23andMe would just be another way for us to feel connected, for him to feel connected. It was pretty powerful.”

They went through the results together. Of course, they found his Italian heritage, which they knew, but there was a Middle Eastern line that ran through his DNA as well. They linked their accounts and compared their DNA. It was obvious what came from her Mom and where she aligned with her Dad.

“We always connected through science. Both of us loved new technology, the latest innovations and discoveries,” Daniella said. “It was a real intellectual connection and with 23andMe here was something we could really discuss and see how it would enlighten us.”

Going through their ancestral results prompted Daniella’s father to talk in detail about his childhood and family ancestors. The process had the desired effect – he could see himself in the bigger picture not just a man fighting cancer.

Even after the holidays as he would remember something more he would send her an email. One of his last correspondences included another treasured piece of family history shared – his great grandmother’s last name.

“The timing of getting the results was impeccable. I wanted to make him feel part of a really big family. And it worked. My mom said “You had a very special connection and this allowed you to find your own closure.”

Results not typical. Results vary due to unique differences in each individual’s DNA. On average, users receive at least one or two results that may help with proactively managing health. 23andMe’s services are not a substitute for professional medical or diagnostic advice.

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