Andrea Kunova said the day her Slovakian parents lost their camera's memory card at the 2010 Olympics was the saddest of their month-long visit to Vancouver in February.

"My whole family was together, which is rare, and we took so many pictures during the Olympics. They were just so sad to lose those memories."

Her parents, Elana Kunova and Vladimir Kuna, visited Stanley Park that day, taking in a tram ride around the city's historic parklands, visiting the aquarium and taking photos of the eight famous totem poles standing proudly at Brockton Point.

Unbeknownst to the Kunova family, a Knoxville, Tennessee woman named Julie James was also there that day.

James, who was working as a graphics operator for the Olympic Broadcasting Services "doing crazy hours," decided to walk down the city's 10-kilometre seawall to get some fresh air before her shift.

"It was my turn to have some fun so I decided to see the totem poles," she told from her Tennessee home.

It was walking on a path near those poles that something caught her eye: a tiny black four-gigabyte camera memory card.

"Who knows how many people would have walked by it -- this little black memory card on the ground on the black asphalt. So I picked it up," she said.

The card stayed in James' pocket for the remainder of the day, and at her desk for the rest of the Games. When she returned to her hometown in Tennessee with the card still in her possession she decided to take her fight to the internet.

She started a Facebook group and posted two photos on the card. The first showed a young man with his arm around an older couple in front of the Olympic flame; the other showed the same man and woman at an Olympic pavilion. Both people are holding Slovakian flags.

"I knew those flags would mean something," James said.

But six months later no one had contacted her, so she contacted CTV News, one of Vancouver's largest television broadcasters. The web story was shared by hundreds of people online, and soon came to the attention of a Slovakian newspaper editor, who saw their national flag in the photos and wrote a story to spread the word that one of their fellow countryman might be the owner.

And it worked.

Someone from the Kunova's village recognized Elana, and contacted a reporter at a local newspaper. The Kunova family, now the subject of an international photo manhunt, was one step closer to their long-lost photos.

"My mom called me and was really excited. She said ‘you won't believe this -- someone found our photos,'" Andrea Kunova told from her Vancouver office.

"This is unbelievable. We were hoping somehow we would recover the pictures one day. It's amazing."

Kunova thinks that her parents' patriotism might be the key to them getting their photos back.

"Everywhere they went they wore the Slovakian clothes. I guess it was the best clue they could give."

Kunova said her parents were stunned that a total stranger would do something so nice for nothing in return.

"They could not believe someone had put such an effort into returning the family memories, which you can not put a price on. They would like to thank Julie James for not giving up and contacting CTV News in Vancouver."

As for James, who spoke with the family this morning, she said she never gave up hope that she would find the rightful owners.

"As the months went by I thought ‘this is out of control, I'm never gonna get rid of this thing,'" she said. "But I'm very glad and I'm very grateful."

Andrea Kunova said her parents, who both turn 59 next week, are looking forward to being reunited with their memories.

"This is definitely the best present they could hope for," she said. "The happiest ending anyone could ask for."