A father’s heart races for his daughter, especially on her wedding day.
But Michael Stepien didn’t live to see his daughter get married. The father, and organ donor, was murdered 10 years ago.
But his heart was there.
It was beating in the chest of Arthur Thomas as he walked the bride, Jeni Stepien, down the aisle and gave her away.
In the decade since Thomas received Stepien’s heart, the two families had kept in touch through letters, gifts and calls.
The last letter was Jeni Stepien’s request for Thomas to be a part of the wedding.
“What a greater honor could a person have than walking the daughter of the man who’s given his heart to him,” Thomas told CNN affiliate KDKA.
Thomas met the Stepien family in person the night before the wedding, and was welcomed with open arms.
“Just hugging him made me feel like I was close to my dad again which on this day was perfect. It was what I needed,” said Michelle Stepien, sister of the bride.
Thomas placed the bride’s hand to his wrist. It was the first time in 10 years that Jeni felt her father’s heart beat.
“The whole family is here now,” Jeni Stepien told the affiliate. ” It’s like everybody is here.”