- A 52-year-old dying man, Sam Anthony, mailed a letter to a man he believed was his biological dad.
- That man, Craig Nelson, responded to the letter and went to meet Anthony.
- The two bonded for just 11 days before Anthony died from an aggressive cancer.
A 52-year-old man sought out his biological father three weeks before he died of an aggressive cancer. The two reunited and spent just 11 days together, the New York Times reported.
Using the results of a DNA test, Sam Anthony tracked down a man named Craig who he believed might be his father. Anthony mailed Craig a letter three weeks before his death introducing himself.
“I am wondering,” Anthony wrote, according to the Times, “if you are that Craig.” Anthony included a phone number along with his letter.
Craig Nelson, a 78-year-old retired airline worker who lost hope of ever finding his biological son again, trembled as he read it, the Times reported.
Over a long-distance phone call in 1969 while he completed military service, Anthony’s mother told Nelson she had given birth to a boy.
“She said, ‘I just wanted to tell you’ — and this is a quote,” he told the Times, “‘that you are now the proud father of a 9-pound, 10-ounce, bouncing baby boy.'”
She also told him she had already put the child up for adoption.
After reading the letter, Nelson called the number but was met with a voice messaging system. Anthony at the time had been undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot.
Nelson left a hasty voice message, telling Anthony he’d call back at a later time.
“Fifty-two years, that’s a long time to try to carry around a memory,” Nelson told the Times. “Especially when you didn’t have a memory to begin with.”
When he learned of the child 52 years ago, Nelson tried to find him, according to the Times. He consulted with adoption lawyers and agencies but had no luck. Eventually, it became too painful to continue the search.
“I thought it was fruitless,” he told the Times.
But then the letter suddenly changed everything. Nelson drove from Arizona to North Carolina to meet Anthony. When he arrived and entered his son’s home, Nelson asked if he could hug him. The two exchanged photos depicting themselves through the decades they did not get experience together.
Days later, Anthony died.