Most girls dream of the day that her father will walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. Jeni Stepien was not able to have her father, Michael Stepien, attend her wedding because he was tragically murdered ten years ago in 2006. Instead, the soon-to-be bride asked a man she had never met to walk her down the aisle. But the connection this man has to Jeni’s father is incredible!
There was light shining in the midst of darkness surrounding Michael Stepien’s murder. A man named Arthur Thomas was dying and in desperate need of a new heart for which he had been waiting for 16 years. Stepien was an organ donor, and his heart ended up being successfully transferred to Thomas.
As Jeni planned each detail of her wedding ten years after her father’s passing, she realized that although he could not be fully present, perhaps she could feel his beating heart on one of the most special days of her life.
She wrote a letter to Arthur Thomas which included an invitation to her wedding and one, big question. Although the two had never met in person, she asked if Thomas would do the honor of walking her down the aisle. Thomas happily replied with a yes, and traveled from New Jersey to St. Anselm Church in Swissvale, Pennsylvania, for the opportunity to walk Jeni down the aisle.
As you can imagine, the moment the two met on the eve of Jeni’s wedding was very emotional. Jeni had the chance to feel her father’s heart beat after ten years of missing him. Thomas felt deep gratitude and honor as he met the daughter of the man who’s heart gave him a second chance at life