A woman whose father was murdered ten years ago has been walked down the aisle by the man who received her dad’s heart in a transplant.
Michael Stepien was shot and killed in 2006 by a 16-year-old who robbed the Pennsylvania restaurant chef while on his way home from work reports Uproxx.
Before dying at the hospital, Michael made the decision to donate his organs through the Centre for Organ Recovery and Education and his heart was given to Arthur Thomas who was just days away from dying after suffering from a life-threatening type of heart arrhythmia for 16 years.
He told the New York Times:
Once I had my transplant, I, of course, decided I would write a thank you to the family.
Arthur kept in touch with Michael’s family over the years however Jeni – Michael’s daughter – never actually met the man who had her father’s heart – until the day before her wedding.
One of my first thoughts following my engagement was: “Who will walk me down the aisle?”
I thought: “Oh, my gosh, it would be so incredible to have a physical piece of my father there.”
So, she wrote Arthur (known as Tom) a letter:
Dear Tom, I’m the daughter of the man who’s heart is inside of you and I’m gonna get married on August 6th. If you’re willing, would you walk me down the aisle?
At the wedding, Jeni was thrilled, saying she felt like the ‘whole family’ was there.
It’s just like having my dad here and better because we get to share this story with people and other people see that organ donors do matter.
For more information and to register to be an organ donor visit organdonation.nhs.uk