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A Pennsylvania bride who lost her father to tragedy 10 years ago found herself walking down the aisle with the man who received his heart. Jeni Stepien was unable to hold back tears when she embraced Arthur Thomas for the first time Friday and felt her father’s heart beating inside him. “Can you feel it?” Thomas asked her in a video taken by Pittsburgh TV station KDKA. She tearfully held his wrist and chest and quietly nodded. Stepien’s father, Michael Stepien, was killed in a 2006 robbery when she was 23. After he spent 24 hours on life support, the family accepted the inevitable and donated his organs, Stepien told The Huffington Post. At that time, Thomas, who Stepien’s family calls “Tom,” had been waiting nearly 10 years for a heart transplant at his home in New Jersey. “He was going to die if he did not receive a new heart in the next several days,” Stepien told HuffPost via email Sunday. “Tom received my father’s heart within the next 48 hours.” The Christmas following his transplant he wrote to Stepien’s family thanking them for what they had done. The families kept in touch through letters and phone calls over the years but it wasn’t until they started planning Jeni Stepien’s wedding that she saw the perfect chance for them to meet.
The wedding appears to have taken place in a Catholic church. Check out the video.