86-year-old Chicago woman meets half-sister for the first time thanks to 23andMe test

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CHICAGO — WGN News producer Natalie Skryd recently found out she had a great-aunt living in a suburb of Philadelphia.

It was a great surprise for Natalie, but an even bigger one for her grandmother Kathryn Krynicki, who at 86 years old met her half-sister for the first time.

Natalie and Kathryn learned about the additional family member through the DNA test 23 and Me.

The half-sisters met on the phone and had an instant connection. The phone conversations went on for about six months, until a few weeks ago when Kathryn traveled from Chicago with her family to visit Helen Angelo and Valasie August, Angelo’s daughter. WGN tagged along to capture the special meeting.

“It’s a blessing from Jesus and I just feel sorry that it couldn’t be sooner to have a sweet and kind relationship with my sister,” Kathryn said, “but better late than never.”

Kathryn and Helen determined they were half-sisters. They had the same father.

Kathryn was raised by a single mother in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Her mother had told Kathryn she was adopted, but gave her very few details about her birth parents.

For the first time at 86, Kathryn saw a photo of her biological father for the first time, thanks to Helen.

“He had dimples like I have,” she said. “I would’ve loved to have met him.”


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