A Cameron Park young woman had her 18th birthday wish come true—a surprise reunion with her older sister who had been away serving in the Army National Guard. The celebration was one her family was told years ago, may never happen.
Veronica has Cerebral Palsy and suffers from Epilepsy, which had many doctors giving her a grim diagnosis.
"And it's a testimony to how strong she really is," Bernadette Arnaut said.
Veronica Arnaut said the surprise of her older sister's arrival is what made this the best present of her birthday.
"I had no idea that she was going to be home for my birthday, no idea till right now," Veronica Arnaut told FOX40.
Keeping that secret was one of the toughest assignments Private First Class Cassandra Arnaut said she ever got.
"It was extremely hard because I'd come and I'd see my mom and I'd drive past my house 'I want to see them so bad,'" PFC Arnaut told FOX40.
Completing basic training in South Carolina for the past six months was the longest PFC Arnaut said she had been away from home. She was supposed to return in September. When she learned she could head home two months early, she decided to hide at her aunt's house for a few days until Veronica's birthday.
"Watching her go through everything she has to go through and then seeing her just blossom into such a bright smart energetic young woman it's just fantastic, I'm so glad I got to be here for her," PFC Arnaut said.
The unexpected arrival is the only birthday gift veronica says she'll truly cherish.
"That's all I've wanted, family, friends so... I got what I wanted," Veronica Arnaut said.
Saturday both sisters will be going to a Kenny Chesney concert in the Bay Area to continue their birthday celebration.