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From strangers to siblings: DNA testing unveils family connection and sparks musical collaboration

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In a story of discovery and connection, two musicians from southern Ontario have found themselves not just united by music, but by blood, thanks to DNA testing.

At the age of 14, Bryan Fontez of Hamilton, now 37, discovered that he was conceived through a sperm donor. His journey to uncover his genetic roots spanned decades, until advancements in technology allowed him to take a DNA test in 2019. This moment led him to his biological father, who revealed he has a half-sister named Erica Yost, 61.

“He was gracious in answering all my questions,” Fontez recalled.

The revelation prompted Fontez to reach out to Yost on Facebook with a message introducing himself. It read in part: “We share a natural passion for music. But we also share something that makes this coincidence even more fascinating to me...DNA. I am in fact your little brother.”

Their initial meeting revealed they share more than DNA, but a deep-seated love for music.

“We both do multiple instruments, multiple things, and multiple styles," Yost said. "We can totally read each others minds, what the other one is going to do."

Since their reunion, Fontez and Yost have embraced their musical kinship, harmonizing their talents and exchanging creative sparks.

“This experience has been really rewarding and fulfilling. It’s been amazing getting to meet new members of my family. I'm happy and proud to have found people that feel the same way,” Fontez said.

DNA testing has since revealed three more half-siblings, but it’s possible there could others.

“There could be up to 20 more offspring, and we won't really know until they take the test,” Fontez said.

UNIQUE BOND INSPIRES BOOK

Their unique bond and musical chemistry has now inspired award-winning author Eric Walters to craft a novel titled "The Club".

Through the fictional tale of two teenagers brought together by music and a revelation of familial ties, Walters aims to illuminate the themes of happiness, joy, and hope that resonate within Fontez and Yost's real-life narrative.

“Look at Bryan and Erika, they're grateful for what they found," Walters said. "For them to normalize it, for other people to realize how wonderful this is, are part of what I want this story to be.” 

Honored to serve as the inspiration for Walters' book, Fontez and Yost hope their story will encourage others to embrace their own curiosity.

“It’s okay to be curious and take a test to get answers. I don't think it's ever healthy to not ask questions and leave things be,” Fontez said. 

Award-winning author Eric Walters to craft a novel titled "The Club" based off of siblings Erica Yost and Bryan Fontez's unique story. (Sijia Liu/CTV News Kitchener)

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