Bride walked down aisle by man who received her father's heart

A bride was walked down the aisle by a man who received her murdered father's heart.

Jeni Stepien's father Michael was shot and killed during a robbery in Swissvale, Pennsylvania in 2006.

His family donated his organs and his heart was given to Arthur Thomas, who was on "death's door" with a debilitating heart condition.

Mr Thomas and the family of the man who saved his life quickly formed a close friendship through calls, emails and letters.

Ten years later, Ms Stepien - who wanted a "physical piece" of her father at her wedding - asked Mr Thomas to walk her down the aisle.

“One of my first thoughts in that following week [after she got engaged] was, ‘Who will walk me down the aisle?’ Ms Stepien told the New York Times.

"I was thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, it would be so incredible to have a physical piece of my father there.’"

After checking with his own daughter, Mr Thomas, 72, accepted Ms Stepien's request.

The emotional moment Mr Thomas walked her down the aisle on Friday was captured on camera.

She was also pictured feeling the beat of her father's heart through his chest.

Jeni Stepien feels Arthur Thomas' chest. Credit: EBU
Ms Stepien said Mr Thomas walking her down the aisle made the day special. Credit: EBU
Mr Thomas described the request as a 'great honour'. Credit: EBU

"I was so grateful that my dad could be here with us today in spirit and a piece of his physical being as well - that was really, really special for us."

Mr Thomas said: "What greater honour could a person have than walking the daughter of man who's given his heart to him."

"I can't imagine a greater honour."