A Pennsylvania bride whose father died in 2006 was walked down the aisle by the man who now lives with his heart.
After Jeni Stepien’s father, Michael Stepien, was murdered in 2006, his family donated his organs. On Aug. 6, the eve of her wedding, Jeni met Arthur Thomas, the man who now has Michael’s heart, WPVI reported.
"I am so excited. It's like the whole family's here now,” Jeni said. “It's like everybody's here.”
"We've been talking to him and writing letters and calling, and receiving flowers and sending gifts for the past 10 years, and now it's finally here," Jeni explained.
Thomas traveled from New Jersey with his wife for Jeni’s wedding at St. Anslem Church in Swissvale, Pennsylvania.
"Just hugging him made me feel like I was close to my dad again, which on this day was perfect,” added Jeni's sister, Michelle Stepien. “It was what I needed.”
Thomas got his daughter’s blessing before agreeing to walk Jeni down the aisle.
“Jeni wrote me a letter, and she said ‘Tom, I’m the daughter of the man whose heart's inside you, and I'm going to get married on August 6th. One further thing, if you're willing -- would you walk me down the aisle?’” Thomas recalled. “First person I'll ever be walking down the aisle.”
Jeni said it was like her father was present for her wedding day.
"And just better because we get to share this story with other people and, you know, other people see that organ donors do matter," Jeni said.