Mineola man receives a big surprise; daughter he didn’t know gets big prize

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Mike Love got the surprise of his life recently when he found out through a reality TV show that he has a grown daughter.

Dashae Pardon had been adopted at five days old by very loving parents and had been raised well, but after giving birth to her son, she had a longing to find her biological family.

She applied to the reality BYU TV show “Relative Race” and was chosen to be on the show. Her hope was to find her birth mother. What she found was a big Love family, ready to welcome her with open hearts.

On Relative Race, four teams take a 10-day journey across the country using their DNA as a road map in search of relatives they have never met. Contestants complete challenges and race against the clock with the hope of reaching the finish line first and winning the grand prize.

When Dashae submitted her DNA to the show producer to help her find her family, it pinged on an Ancestry DNA match that showed to be her uncle.

Relative Race staff then contacted Love family members asking for their participation in the show and for DNA samples. Mike Love has one sister and four brothers, two of which were deceased.

After his sister’s DNA test showed her as Dashae’s aunt, and his youngest brother’s test also showed him as an uncle, Mike offered his DNA for testing. He thought that maybe one of his deceased brothers was her father and that he would be identified as an uncle also. But in February, his test came back 99.99% certain that he was the father of Dashae.

Mike never had a clue that he had a daughter. Years ago, he met a lady in Tyler and they went out for a week before she left town. He never saw her or heard from her again.

Mike and his wife, Donna, have been married for 21 years with no children together, but both have children from previous marriages. When they found out that Deshae was Mike’s daughter, Donna said she knew it was a God thing.

They were excited about meeting her but weren’t sure they wanted to be on the reality TV show. After watching episodes of the show and learning they could help Dashae win $50,000 by participating, they agreed to sign a contract and were sworn to secrecy until the show aired publicly.

From February until May, the Loves had to keep the secret of their newly found daughter under wraps.

“It’s like being in the twilight zone,” said Mike. Donna says the last few weeks, it consumed her.

On May 1, day seven of the show, Dashae and her husband Chris showed up at the Love’s door in Mineola. For six days, she had been meeting relatives and didn’t know whose door she would be knocking on next, but when she saw Mike, she knew he was her father.

Mike and Donna had spent three grueling months waiting to meet her.

“We already saw a video of them, and were already in love with them,” says Donna.

They spent the day getting to know each other and making plans to visit again. Dashae was able to meet Mike’s mother, Grand Mary, who wrote a poem for her and said she’s sorry they missed so much of her life.

Dashae and her family live only two and half hours away, giving them many opportunities to spend time with the Love family. As his only grandson, Dashae’s three year old son has been a gift to Mike, whom he calls “Papa Love.” They’ve been to visit seven times already and are looking forward to building a relationship.

“It’s a blessing that came about really strangely,” says Mike.

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