Bride Is Walked Down The Aisle By Man Who Received Her Father’s Donated Heart

It’s been ten years since her father passed, but Pennsylvania native Jeni Stepien still got to walk “with him” down the aisle on her wedding day.


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In 2006, Michael Stepien, Jeni’s father, was murdered in Swissvale. Another man, still alive but not for much longer, was in the hospital waiting for a miracle.


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“I was on death’s door when (Michael) was murdered and I needed a heart or I was going to be dying in the next few days,” said Arthur Thomas, fondly known as “Tom”.

That was when a part of Michael Stepien was given another chance at life. His heart was donated to Tom, allowing him to be “there” — albeit partially — to give his daughter Jeni away on her wedding.


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“It has been the best day of my life,” Jeni said. She met Tom for the first time on the eve of her wedding, and got to feel her father’s heart beat again after 10 years.


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Since her father couldn’t be there, Jeni wrote a letter and asked Tom to do the honors.

“You can never imagine what that would be like unless you actually do it because [there are] so many emotions involved in what you’re doing,” Tom said. He traveled from New Jersey to walk her down the aisle at St. Anselm church in Swissvale.


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“I was just so thankful that my dad could be here with us today in spirit and a piece of his physical being as well. That was really special for us,” Jeni said.


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Paul Maenner, Jeni’s groom, was also overwhelmed. “I was just overtaken with emotions when I finally saw her walking down. The most beautiful woman in the world that I’ve ever seen before,” he said.

“What a greater honor could a person have than walking the daughter of the man who’s given his heart to him. I can’t imagine a greater honor,” Thomas said.


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