Zella Jackson-Price, 76, met Melanie Diane Gilmore, 49, for the first time after a hospital mishap separated the two for 49 years. Gilmore was born in November 1965 at the now shuttered Homer G. Phillips Hospital in Missouri, once St. Louis’ only hospital for African-Americans.
A nurse told Jackson-Price that her baby, who was three months premature and weighed less than one pound, died shortly after birth. “She came up to me three hours later and said your baby passed,” Jackson-Price told the New York Daily News.
Gilmore was subsequently adopted by another family, and believed that her birth mother gave her up. When she was 20, Gilmore’s adoptive mother died, and she moved to Oregon to live with a relative. There, she began searching for her biological mother.
Gilmore’s son and twin daughters helped search for their grandmother last year, using Facebook to track Jackson-Price down and a DNA test to confirm the match. Results came back in March, and it was “a 99.9997% match,” Gilmore’s daughter wrote in the description section of a YouTube video documenting the reunion.
Gilmore’s family spent the past month raising money to make an in-person reunion possible. At the time of this writing, their crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $8,000 to cover the trip from Eugene, Oregon, to St. Louis.
Jackson-Price expressed plans to investigate whether the hospital mishap was an accident or something more nefarious.
“I’m still kinda in shock. I don’t know what we’ll find out, what error, what was done, I don’t know what we’ll find out,” she told the Daily News. “As soon as we get over the excitement of being together and everything, I will seek a lawyer.” Read more…