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New York Yankees HOPE Week Reunites Childhood Orphan Friends Over A Decade Later

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John Lahutsky, Andrei Sullivan, and Joe Girardi in Central Park - New York, NY - Jul 29, 2011 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

John Lahutsky, Andrei Sullivan, and Joe Girardi in Central Park – New York, NY – Jul 29, 2011 (credit: Alex Silverman / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - At 18-months-old, John Lahutsky was declared incurable with cerebral palsy and didn’t see the outside of a Russian orphanage for years.

WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman in Manhattan

But inside, he made a friend. A little boy named Andrei Sullivan who he taught to talk because no one there would bother.

Both were adopted in the late 1990s and lost touch until Friday morning and a surprise reunion on the Today Show.

“I was like, ‘Am I seeing who I think I’m seeing?’ I had to take a double intake because we haven’t seen each other since 1997,” he said. “I’m so happy to be with my friend Andrei.”

Arriving together in a horsedrawn carriage with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, John and Andrei (who is now 19-years-old) toured the Central Park Zoo.

John’s adopted mom Paula Lahutsky was nearly in tears.

“It’s a reunion that we wanted to happen and we never knew how we we’re going to make it happen and it happened for us,” said Paula. “A lot of people worked very hard. A lot of people worked very hard. We can never thank the Yankees enough.”

This evening, the two will enjoy batting practice at Yankee Stadium on the field and bring out the lineup cards for the ceremonial first pitches.

If the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles tonight, the two will get to be on the field to congratulate the team.

This event is the latest in Bronx Bombers’ annual HOPE Week activities.

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