In the last ten years, Tom and the Stepien family never met in person, but they exchanged many letters and phone calls. And one recent letter that Jeni sent Tom really stood out. Thomas said, "Jeni wrote me a letter and she said ‘Dear Tom, I’m the daughter of the man who’s [sic] heart is inside of you and I’m gonna get married on August 6th." The letter continued, saying, "And one further thing if you’re willing, would you walk me down the aisle?"
The day before their wedding, Jeni met Arthur Thomas for the first time. Jeni said when they met, Tom placed her fingers on his wrist. "He said, ‘Here, feel my pulse,'" she said. "It was so amazing. I could feel his heartbeat — it was so strong."
The next day, Thomas walked Stepien down the aisle. "I was just so thankful that my dad could be here with us today in spirit and a piece of his physical being as well," she said. "That was really special for us."
Jeni hopes that sharing her story will serve to inspire others. "It’s just like having my dad here and better," she said, "because we get to share this story with people and other people see that organ donors do matter."
Thomas agreed with Jeni's sentiments, saying "This young woman had such wonderful motivations — to say to the world, ‘Organ donation is really important. We want you to be aware of it.’" And Thomas knows more than anyone just how important it is.