It is a wedding ritual denied to brides whose fathers have passed away, but one woman has pioneered a touching second best for her walk down the aisle.
Jeni Stepien was ‘given away’ to her husband by New Jersey man Arthur Thompson, the donor transplant recipient of her father’s heart.
Stepien’s long search had finally brought the two together.
According to CBS, Stepien lost her father in 2006.
She tracked down the man who received his heart to pose one simple yet powerful request: that he would give her away.
Thompson agreed and travelled across states to meet his donor's family for the first time.
The recipient shared the touching letter the would-be-bride sent before her wedding day.
"Dear Tom, I'm the daughter of the man whose heart's inside you," he said.
"If you're willing, would you walk me down the aisle?"
Stepien said she hoped the act would become a platform for donor awareness.
“It was just like having my father there and better because we get to share this story with other people, and people get to see that organ donors do matter,” she said.
Watch a tender moment shared between the two. Post continues.
Hopefully the story of Stepien and Thompson will send a warm reminder to people everywhere: organ donation matters.
Ensure you have registered for organ donation by visiting this website or make your wishes known to your family.