Long-lost cousins unite after more than 70 years apart

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – “This is how we met,” Al Hobson said as he sat in a dialysis chair inside Fresenius Kidney Care in Wichita.

Last year, 81-year-old Hobson and 71-year-old Bill Washburn found themselves in the Transitional Care Unit at Fresenius, training to start dialysis at home.

“He’s outgoing. I’m outgoing. The nurses said something about we’re in trouble putting these two guys close together,” Hobson said.

After two weeks of talking, one moment let them know they have a deeper connection.

“They called him Mr. Hobson. So, I went over, and I said, ‘How do you spell your last name?'” Washburn remembered.

That leading to more questions and stories.

“He talked about his grandfather and said he had a grandfather who was electrocuted in Ark City. Well, my uncle was electrocuted and in Ark City,” Hobson said. “I had to stop and think a little bit, and I said, ‘Bill, I hate to tell you, buddy, but we’re related because Francis Perry was my uncle.'”

The outgoing duo discovering they are cousins.

“You always hear well there is only six degrees or whatever that separates anybody on the Earth and to walk into a situation like this and have that realization come about was really pretty amazing,” Washburn said.

Both men say the TCU and dialysis have been a lifesaver. Finding a lost cousin serving as a bonus.

“We’re about the same physical size, and we kid each other about that it’s a family thing,” Hobson said.

“We kind of keep track of each other to see what’s going on physically and encourage each other,” Washburn said. “Al was a couple or three weeks or whatever behind me in the process. Well, more than that, cause I started in May. So there were some things I’d already learned that helped him as he got started. So we’ve been a benefit to each other.”

The two are looking forward to sitting down and going through more photos and family documents to teach each other even more about their family history.

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