Hear the unbelievable story of two sisters who never knew each other until a chance meeting.

Sometimes a chance meeting can seem almost like destiny.

Holly Hoyle O'Brien and Meagan Hughes were both hired as nurses at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, Florida, within months of each other, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

They both worked on the hospital's fourth floor, which was home to the medical surgical unit, and they first met when a patient told O'Brien there was another nurse from Korea at the hospital, suggesting they get acquainted.


Meagan Hughes on the left; Holly Hoyle O'Brien on the right. All GIFs via the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

The women began to realize they shared a very similar history.

After discovering they were both from Korea, the pair noticed they had other details in common — spending part of their childhood in orphanages, being born in the same city, and being listed as "abandoned" on orphanage paperwork.

Images via video by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

They had both also been adopted by American families. O'Brien's birth name was Pok-nam Shin, and she'd been adopted by a family in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1978, when she was 9 years old. Hughes, who is two years younger than O'Brien, was born Eun-Sook Shin, and she was adopted in 1976. Hughes grew up in Kingston, New York.

When O'Brien and Hughes discovered they both had "Shin" as their last name as children in South Korea, they wondered if they could be related.

O'Brien remembered having a younger sister as a child, though her paperwork from the orphanage didn't list a biological sister. "I just had this curiosity that I said, 'We need to do a DNA test,'" Hughes told the Herald-Tribune. Driven by curiosity, they decided to go ahead with the test.

The DNA test revealed something shocking — O'Brien and Hughes were sisters who were separated more than 40 years ago.

"I printed out the paper and I was completely stunned," O'Brien told People about the test results. "I said, 'This can't be.'" O'Brien told the Herald-Tribune that she "cried and cried" after hearing the news that she'd finally found her sister.

After confirming the news with the lab over the phone, O'Brien texted Hughes.

As it turns out, the girls had the same father. O'Brien knew him — she says he was an alcoholic and was hit by a train and killed when she was a child. They each had different birth mothers; O'Brien remembered that she had a younger sister, while Hughes was too young to remember her birth parents or her half-sister.

Now, Hughes and O'Brien are more than close work friends — they're family.

O'Brien says she is excited to spend the holiday season with Hughes and her two children, who are now O'Brien's nieces. O'Brien has no children of her own and feels blessed to have newfound family.

"I have this very strong belief that God must be, like, whatever I've done, I must've done something good in my life," O'Brien said to the Herald-Tribune.

We've all heard of strange coincidences, but Hughes and O'Brien's story is truly amazing.

It's hard to say what drew these sisters together, whether it was fate or just their love of the nursing field and helping others. But for everyone who has a sister or a brother, you can imagine the wonderful feeling they must have felt when they were reunited.

Watch the moving video from the Herald-Tribune here:

Just over a year into the coronavirus pandemic, we're finally seeing a light at the end of our socially distanced tunnel. We still have a ways to go, but with millions of vaccines being doled out daily, we're well on our way toward somewhat normal life again. Hallelujah.

As we head toward that light, it's natural to look back over our shoulders at the past year to see what we're leaving behind. There's the "good riddance" stuff of course—the mass deaths, the missing loved ones, the closed-up businesses, the economic, social and political strife—which no one is going to miss.

But there's personal stuff, too. As we reflect on how we coped, how we spent our time, what we did and didn't do this past year, we're thinking about what we'll be bringing out of the tunnel with us.

And some of us are finding that comes with a decent dose of regret. Maybe a little guilt. Some disappointment as we go down the coulda-woulda-shoulda road.

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The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.

To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.

"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.

"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.

The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.

In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.

Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.

The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.

You can learn more about last year's winners, here.

If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.