NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – 23andMe is a website that helps people discover their ancestral backgrounds with DNA swabs. Some people use the service to find out more about their history, but for one woman in North Augusta, it would change her and her family’s lives forever.
Camisha Riggins is a stay-at-home mom who’s primary focus is taking care of her little girls. Two years ago, she did 23andMe test to find out more about where she came from.
“I did the 23andMe and forgot about it. I had my results back and knew where I came from and what my ancestral background was. What happened was one day I was at home with my daughters watching ‘Paw Patrol’ and I get a message on my iCloud and by the time I checked it was three messages back to back from 23andMe,” said Riggins.
The message was from someone reaching out saying they might be related through their grandparents. Those messages would lead to a phone call.
“I get a random phone call from this random number on my text app number who is calling me on this text app number that I forgot I even had on my phone still. They keep calling, texting back to back…I finally listen to the voicemail,” said Riggins.
“My name’s Daymon. I did the 23andMe thing. Long story short, I was just looking for any information or just anybody. Growing up with my mom my whole life, I don’t know anything about my dad or anything on that side of my family and it shows us being first cousins and that we possibly have the same grandparents,” the message said.
Daymon Heaton is from Arizona and has been on a search for information about the family he never knew.
“I never had met my dad or seen a picture of him,” said Heaton.
“I called him and, so, we ended up talking and ended up getting information about each other,” said Riggins.
Daymon and Camisha thought they were just two cousins meeting until Daymon asked questions about his father.
“It’s been over twenty years now, so we start going through questions and what not and I tell her the name and the things I know about him and it’s almost like a mic drop,” said Heaton.
“I was told my father was in the club life back in the day and he worked at a club and that’s how he met my mom and I heard that his name was Lucky and once he said ‘Lucky’ I knew that was my brother, because my brother’s nickname has been ‘Lucky’ as far as I can remember. Then once he said that I got quiet for a little bit and he was like, ‘Hello, are you still there?’ ‘I’m not trying to shock you or anything, but I’m your aunt,'” said Riggins.
It was at that moment Camisha sent a picture of Daymon’s father to him.
“Once he saw the picture of my brother, it must have made him feel something because he was crying nonstop,” said Riggins.
As soon as I saw the picture, I was like ‘man, that’s crazy.’ It was a crazy feeling. I’m still processing everything that’s going on. I feel like I’m in a daydream,” said Heaton.
Since reconnecting, Daymon has gotten a chance to take a look at pictures of his family, something he thought would never happen.
“It made me feel whole because I’ve been looking for family, whether it’s a cousin, auntie, uncle, or anything like that,” said Riggins.
“If it wasn’t for my girlfriend buying me the test for Christmas, which I had put in the dresser, and it probably collected a little bit of dust, this wouldn’t have even happened,” said Heaton.
“I didn’t expect 23andMe to come and find my nephew for me,” said Riggins.
“Within five hours of me getting the test results of this thing, I found the woman I thought was my cousin and ended up being my aunt and within two hours of that I was on a three-way call with my whole family,” said Heaton.
What started as one person trying to discover their roots ended up bringing a family together.
“To 23andMe, you guys just changed my life. I used to watch TikTok videos and YouTube videos and cry and would wish that was me. I wish that would happen to me and now it’s happening and it’s such a crazy feeling, but for 23andMe, I thank you guys,” said Heaton.
Daymon says he hopes his story inspires others who are looking for their family to never give up.
“Just don’t lose faith and take that test.Take a couple DNA test and see where that goes. Maybe research on that and just have faith, you know. I’ve been looking for over twenty years now and I’m just now finding out,” said Heaton.
Daymon and Camisha’s family is spread out across the country. Since finding out everything from 23andMe, it’s made the family want to reconnect in person. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family.
“The goal is just to have all of us be able to meet. Not everyone in the family, but the main ones. Me, my mom, our kids, and my brothers, and my nephew. I want all of us to be able to let him know that even though we’re in different states, that he’s loved from afar and not just over the phone. As soon as you told me you were family, as soon as I saw the blood relation, you were automatically family in my heart and you are now a part of my heart. So, I want you to know you are not alone in this world anymore and I know that would mean the world to him,” said Riggins.
“That would mean the world you know, just being able to bring a family together. I know I would help somebody do that if I had the opportunity to,” said Heaton.