NJ heart recipient walks donor’s daughter down the aisle
Jeni Stepien's late father couldn't be there to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day, but his heart was with her.
Michael Stepien, Jeni's father, was murdered during a robbery in Swissvale, Pa. in 2006. The family donated his organs. His heart went to Arthur Thomas, a New Jersey man who traveled to Pittsburgh to walk his donor's daughter to the altar on her wedding day Saturday, CBSLocal.com reported.
According to CBS, Stepien and her family had been exchanging letters and gifts with Thomas for 10 years. In a recent letter, CBS reports, she asked if he would walk her down the aisle, and after speaking with his own daughter, Thomas agreed.
"It’s just like having my dad here," Stepien told CBS on the eve of her wedding. "It's even better because we get to share this story with people and other people see that organ donors do matter."
On her Facebook page, Jeni said bringing her dad "home" for her wedding was a dream come true.
"It truly was the best day of MY ENTIRE LIFE! To be able to bring my dad home and have him at my wedding was an absolute dream COME TRUE! Not to mention that being married to the best person that was hand picked just for me was beyond words the best thing that has ever happened to me," Stepien wrote. "I am blessed beyond words to share our story!"
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.
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