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30 years after working together, women discover they are half-sisters

Cheryl Becker and Linda Rinaldi met while working at a Connecticut hospital more than three decades ago.
/ Source: TODAY

Cheryl Becker and Linda Rinaldi always knew they shared a special connection.

"She's always been the nicest person I've ever known," Rinaldi told TODAY.

The two women met while working at a Connecticut hospital more than 30 years ago, but lost touch when Rinaldi moved.

That would all change when Becker's husband, Ralph, gained an interest in ancestry and genealogy.

"It's a blessing that he did," Becker said. "He gave this to me as a gift and I did one of the DNA sites."

Becker always believed she was Italian and French, but the DNA test results said something different.

"It was telling me I was from the British Isles," Becker said. "It didn't specifically say Ireland, it didn't say that I was totally Irish. But it didn't tell me I was Italian, and that was all I knew."

Becker said she felt like her whole life was a lie.

"I didn't know who I was," she said. "I looked in the mirror and said, 'Who am I?' So it was hard for me."

Based on the findings, Becker said the man who raised her was not her biological father.

"I don't think he ever knew that," she told TODAY.

Amid the confusion, genealogy test results offered hope.

"It said I was closely related to this person Linda Rinaldi," Becker said. "I said to my husband, 'I used to work with Linda Rinaldi.' I could tell it was the same person. It just said 'closely related or first cousin.'"

Becker texted her old co-worker immediately.

"She said we were related, that's all she told me," Rinaldi recalled. "I said, 'Wouldn't it be funny if we were sisters?' And she says, 'I know you're my sister.'"

DNA results confirmed Becker's hunch. The pair are half-sisters, born 16 months apart.

"This is a blessing," Becker said, adding that meeting Linda helped her realize the gift of a sister. "The fact that she welcomed me with open arms. She just welcomed me. And I think that was the turning point for me."

The sisters are looking forward to making up for lost time.

"We lost the last 30 years, but we got the next 30," Becker said. "We have to make memories like sisters do."