Video: Bride asks recipient of her father’s heart to walk her down the aisle411 views
The relationship that people share with their parents is undoubtedly a special and eternal one, and in some cases this undying love brings people together beyond all barriers of life and death.
This sentiment was witnessed at a wedding ceremony, when the bride walked down the aisle, accompanied by the man who received her late father’s heart, and touched him on the chest to feel her father’s heart beat before the man gave her away.
33-year-old Jeni Stepien lost her father Michael Stepien in 2006, when he was shot dead by a teenager during an attempted robbery, while walking back from work in Swissvale, Pittsburgh.
At the same time, Arthur Thomas was fighting for his life due to congestive heart failure, and received a special gift from the Stepien family, which established the foundation of an everlasting relationship.
Ever since then, the families had been exchanging letters and talking over the phone, as Thomas also sent flowers to the family every holiday for 10 years. But they had never met, so Jeni was quick to pen a letter to Thomas when her husband suggested that he could stand in for her father.
She told The Washington Post, “I thought he would be the perfect person because he has a piece of my father living within him.”
Thomas readily agreed, he said, “The last 10 years, I watched my children graduate from high school and college and I’m probably going to be able to see them get married. And that same 10 years, Michael’s family went without him. I had a life to live because of him, and his family did not. It was important for me to do this very small thing for her.”
Jeni was delighted when Thomas did the father daughter dance with her at the wedding, which was a dream come true for her. She described it as bringing her father back and said it was the best moment of her life.
Jeni told The Washington Post, “He said, ‘Here, feel my pulse. “It was so amazing. I could feel his heartbeat — it was so strong.”
She wrote in a Faebook post that, “If I helped just one person change their mind to become an organ donor, my wish in sharing my story has come true.”
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