The two boys soon became inseparable . . .
Thrown together at school in Sao Mateus, Brazil, their shared interest in soccer made them firm friends. But it soon became clear that Lucas and Thiago had a great deal more in common than a passion for sports.
The pair - aged, respectively, 14 and 12 - spent their break times together and relished all the same classes. That Lucas and Thiago enjoyed a special connection soon became clear. The nature of the boys' bond has been described as being like 'something from a soap opera'.
You see, although Lucas and Thiago shared a classroom, and spent all their spare time together, neither had suspected the truth. The pair, it has just been revealed, are brothers, separated as small children. Fate can be a strange thing. Some bonds just cannot be broken . . .
Thiago and Lucas lost each other under tragic circumstances, their mother's poor health leaving her unable to care for them and a complicated familial situation conspiring to keep the two boys apart.
Brought up just 15 miles from each other, neither realized that he had a brother. Lucas found out just three months ago and resolved to find his long-lost sibling. 'I got down when I found out,' he said. 'I just wanted to find him, to talk to him, to play [and] to be his friend'. Not long after, Thiago enrolled at the Joao Pinto Bandeira College - Lucas' school in Sao Mateus - and the pair became good friends. Still, no-one suspected.
Not until Lucas confided in his head teacher - Deuseli de Souza - did the pieces begin to fall into place. Having scoured lists of countless children registered at all the other schools in the region, Deuseli found the answer right under her nose. Lucas de Lim Alves and Thiago Lima dos Santos, she realized, had become so close for a good reason . . .
'One day, a teacher left a pile of coursework on my desk,' she explained. 'One [piece of work] was by Thiago Lima, who had just enrolled in school. [For some reason] Lucas' story [had] stuck in my head.'
Deuseli summoned both boys and asked each one to tell her his mother's name. To her astonishment, their answers matched.
'To find out how close they were was a surprise and an immense coincidence,' she added. 'With their families' permission, we introduced them. It was like something from a soap opera.'
No-one was more surprised than the boys themselves: 'I was confused,' said Thiago. 'I didn't know how to act, but now we spend even more time together, we talk a lot and I like having a brother a lot.' Lucas added, 'It is all so new, but we're starting to trust in each other and are becoming even closer friends.'
This is a tale that warms our hearts here at OM HQ, where such stories inspire our efforts. Deuseli might call it coincidence, but for us it's connection - a mysterious force that no-one understands - that brought these brothers back together and connection that repaired their fractured relationship.
Connection, because some things are just meant to be. Connection, because some bonds always endure. Here's to Lucas and Thiago, and here's to kinship . . .