Grab the tissues.Seriously.Grab 'em all—because this Pittsburgh wedding will have you ugly-crying with its touching story.
It starts nearly a decade ago,when bride Jeni Stepien's father was tragically murdered when he was walking home from his job as head chef at a restaurant.After being shot in the head at close range,Jeni's father had his organs donated through an organization calledCenter for Organ Recovery and Education.His heart went to a New Jersey father of four named Arthur Thomas.
CORE allows for donor families and recipients to keep in touch,so Jeni's mother,Bernice,corresponded with Arthur over the years through phone calls,letters,and Christmas and birthday cards.The two families had never thought about meeting physically,though,until Jeni became engaged this past October.
"One of my first thoughts in that following week was,'Who will walk me down the aisle?'" Jeni told theNew York Times."I was thinking,'Oh,my gosh,it would be so incredible to have a physical piece of my father there.'"
Her fiance encouraged her to write Arthur a letter making the request,which he happily accepted.And so,this past Friday—at the same church where Jeni's own parents were married—Jeni was walked down the aisle by her father's heart.Ready to feel all the feels?Arthur suggested that Jeni hold on for the walk at his wrist,where his pulse could be felt the strongest."That's her father's heart beating," he toldThe New York Times.