Saturday 3 December 2016

Emotional bride is given away by the man who received her father’s heart

Published 09/08/2016 | 10:28

Jeni was walked down the aisle by Arthur, the recipient of her late father's heart Photo: KDKA-TV
Jeni was walked down the aisle by Arthur, the recipient of her late father's heart Photo: KDKA-TV

Wedding guests were brought to tears at a wedding ceremony which saw the bride walk down the aisle with the man who received her late father’s heart.

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Jeni Stepien lost her father Michael in 2006 when he was murdered in Swissvale, New Jersey but the recipient of his heart Arthur Thomas gave her away on his behalf at a ceremony held last week.

 Ahead of the ceremony, Arthur and Jeni met for the first time, and she felt her father’s heart beating for the first time in ten years.

Speaking to KDKA-TV , Arthur said: “You can never imagine what that would be like unless you actually do it because so many emotions involved in what you’re doing.”

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

Read more: Irish bride who was made redundant without warning said ordeal 'ruined' her wedding plans

The organ donor recipient revealed that he was gravely ill ahead of his transplant in 2006, and credited Jeni’s family for saving his life.

“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,” Thomas said.

Jeni revealed that Arthur’s part in her wedding day was particularly touching as married her sweetheart Paul Maenner.

Read more: 'I first met my father's mistress...at his funeral'

“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,” Jeni said.

“That was really special for us.”

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