Oldham-born woman is on a mission to find her biological dad after a DNA kit turns her life upside down

Date published: 21 June 2022

A woman born in Oldham in 1979 has been using the power of TikTok to try to trace her biological father.

Karen Reilly, 43, was born at the Royal Oldham Hospital and left the town when she was 18 years old to persue a career in nursing.

18 months ago, Karen's husband purchased a heritage DNA kit as a Christmas present, but the kit revealed a family secret that had been hidden for over 40 years.

"I've always been fascinated with genealogy and history, and I wanted to search my past, and start a family tree." Karen told the Chronicle.

"But the DNA test revealed that my dad isn't my biological dad. I was shocked and angry, and felt incomplete.

"I'm sure lots of families have skeletons and secrets similar to mine but back then families didn't know such DNA tests would exist for their secrets to surface."

Karen says her mum has been 'evasive' about her real dad, and Karen suspects she may be the product of a "brief fling or even a one night stand"

"I very much doubt my biological dad knows I exist. When my mum met my dad (or who i thought wad my dad) she would have known she was already pregnant.  However when I arrived in December 1979, she told everyone I was 2 months early.  I suspect she said this no one would suspect dates and everyone would take my mums word I was my dad's.

"I honestly can't put into words how I feel, my mum has robbed someone opportunity to be a father, and grandparents the opportunity of seeing me graduate."

Karen, who now lives in Worksop and has two children of her own, has turned to TikTok for help in tracing her biological father.

After sharing her story on the social media platform, she was inundated with people offering help and advice.

"People came forward and have been helping me peice the DNA evidence so far, the support from complete strangers from all over the country has left me feeling overwhelmed."

Karen says she's aware that it might not be a straighforward journey to be reunited with her biological dad: "It's going to equally be a shock for the biological dad as it was for me."

"The last thing I would want is to upset another family, but I'm the innocent party in all this. This is not my fault and I try to reassure myself of this when I have feelings of guilt about perhaps upsetting somebody else."

Can you help Karen in her search? At the moment, Karen is trying to get in touch with people called Crossley, Allen, Culley or Kershaw from the Oldham area.

You can follow Karen's journey on TikTok here or just search @karenakaginger if you have the app.

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