BUFFALO, N.Y. — Fifty-five-year-old Greg Merkle from Elma couldn't wait to come up to Buffalo Saturday.
Because he got to meet his four younger half-siblings all together for the first time: Bill, Kevin, Chis Lubecki, and Michelle Hetchmark. This is a group of people he didn't even know existed until recently.
"It's exciting to know you have somebody who you share blood with, I guess. It's really cool."
Greg says it was 15 years ago, when he found out he had been adopted. That's when the search for his biological family began.
He says it was a DNA test kit his girlfriend got him for Christmas in 2017 that narrowed down the search.
"By mid to late March, I knew I had sisters and brothers," Merkle said.
They all have the same mother, and Greg admits it was painful finding out that he would not be able to meet his biological mom, who died 11 years ago.
Another heartbreak was finding out his youngest half-sister died shortly after a DNA test confirmed they were siblings.
"Jennifer was taking the DNA test," he explained. "And she should have had it by about the time she passed away."
Greg's half-sister was Jennifer Duffin. Her death made headlines in mid-May when she was hit and killed walking across Niagara Falls Boulevard.
A cousin called Greg to him know.
"I didn't even know how to react," he recalled. "So, I said to him, 'I'm so sorry.' So that put the get together certainly on hold."
And then on December 23, 2018, Greg's half-brother, Bill, was also hit by a car.
But the event where the siblings were finally reunited Saturday night was a fundraiser for Bill's recovery.
Greg says he's happy to be there for his newly found family and support them during this time.