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A Bride & Her Father’s Heart

For many women, being walked down the aisle by their dad on their wedding day is a dream come true. But sometimes this joyous day can be filled with sadness if your father is no longer with you. Jeni Stepien from Pennsylvania lost her father 10 years ago to a tragic death.

Her father was walking home from his job and took a shortcut down an alley where he was robbed and killed. They donated his heart to Arthur Thomas who was suffering from congestive heart failure.

When Jeni started planning her wedding, she couldn’t decide who would walk her down the aisle. She wanted her father’s heart to be near her that day, so she wrote to his donor recipient Arthur and asked if he would do her the honor.

Arthur was touched to receive the call and traveled from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to walk her down the aisle. This was the first time the two of them had met and she could not hold back tears as she felt his heartbeat.


The two families plan to stay in contact. Jeni hopes that by sharing her story she will get the message out there that organ donors matter!


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