After heartbreak, a family is reminded the true meaning of love.
Jeni Stepien had dreamed of her wedding since she was a little girl. The day had finally arrived. Sadly, her father wasn’t here to see it. Michael Stepien, the bride’s dad, had passed away in 2006. Robbed at gunpoint, the man wouldn’t have the opportunity to give his daughter away. Little did she know, her father would still attend her wedding.
Michael happened to be an organ donor. Eventually, he saved the lives of many in his death, Arthur Thomas being one of them. He was lucky enough to receive Michael’s heart.
“I was on death’s door when he was murdered and I needed a heart or I was going to be dying in the next few days,” Arthur said.
After learning of the man who received her father’s precious organ, Jeni wrote a letter in hopes he would attend her wedding. That’s not the only thing she asked. The blushing bride requested Arthur take her father’s place and walk her down the aisle. Jeni wanted to enter her marriage with the spirit of her dad right beside her.
Arthur was stunned. He never expected such a request but was extremely honored to act as a stand in for Michael. Arthur began the journey from New Jersey to Pittsburgh, the site of the wedding.
Jeni couldn’t have been more thrilled.
“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,” Jenni said after the ceremony.
The feeling was mutual.
“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,” Arthur said.
The ceremony was sealed with a kiss. The entire congregation, teary eyed, cheered as the newlywed couple walked out of the church.
Jeni remembers her final thoughts after her wedding had ended, “‘My dad is here with us, and this man is here with us because of us.”
See the moving footage below of Jeni and Arthur on her wedding day.