23 News employee unexpectedly discovers sibling when trying to find biological father

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rockton native Stacey Byxbe was always curious about who her biological father was.

“I’ve made some effort over the years, but to no avail we did not really come up with too much,” says Byxbe.

Things took a turn when Stacey received a special gift.

“I told [my daughter] for Mother’s Day to get me a ‘23 and Me’ DNA test. I’d just love to do it and learn more about my heritage,” says Byxbe.

An hour away and one year earlier, Dryden Geronimi did the same in Madison, Wisconsin.

“I figured just by throwing my information out there, eventually I would be matched up with someone that could give me a little information on some family history,” says Geronimi.

Six weeks ago, Dryden and Stacey got an answer, but perhaps not the one they were expecting.

“I was just kind of looking for my biological dad’s last name and didn’t see anything. I scrolled back up to the top. There was a name there and underneath it said half brother,” says Byxbe.

“When I got the email from Stacey, it was, ‘Hello my name is Stacey. It looks like we are brother and sister. Will you please give me a call?,” says Geronimi. “My wife was there and saw me and said my face basically went white.”

Dryden made the call and a couple weeks later the siblings met in person for the first time.

“Walking into a room and seeing a sister that I basically didn’t know existed for basically 47 years was pretty awesome,” says Geronimi.

“We walked in and we all hugged and it was just nonstop conversation,” added Byxbe.

It was a long and winding road that brought them together.

“Our biological dad is from the east coast and he married my mother in Dayton, Ohio,” explains Byxbe. “He met Dryden’s mom in California. So it was a cross-country journey, only for Dryden and I to be an hour away from each other all these years later.”

The siblings never thought this would happen, but they are definitely happy that it did.

“It has been great. It has been such a great experience. The last few weeks have been such a whirlwind and just fun,” says Byxbe.

It took 23 chromosomes and one website to bring two people together.

“It was fate,” says Geronimi.

The siblings look forward to introducing each other to the rest of their families.They also say they will continue to look for their biological father. This time, together.