"He said he was honored to walk me down the aisle and is so happy to have another daughter now," the bride said.
Most loving dads spend years dreaming of the moment they walk their daughter down the aisle on their wedding day. But Daniel Donnelly was robbed of the chance to do so after his daughter, Heather, passed away right before her wedding in a car accident in 2017.
Years later, Daniel got the chance to take the arm of Diana Donnarumma, the recipient of his daughter's organs, and walk her down the aisle as she married the love of her life.
Diana's life was saved a few years back after she received Heather's small and large intestinal transplant. She was suffering from automatic dysfunction, and without Heather's donation, things might have turned out differently for her.
"They said, we have found your perfect match," Donna said of the unforgettable moment she was told about the transplant, according to Inside Edition.
A year later, Diana got in touch with Heather's father, and they soon formed a special connection. Not only did Diana raise awareness about organ donation, but she also told the world about Heather's story through social media.
When 28-year-old Diana finally traveled to Illinois to meet Daniel, she found out from the bereaved father that it was Heather's decision to donate her organs. The father also told Diana that Heather passed away just before she was to marry her fiancé. That's when Diana asked Daniel if he would do her the honor of being at her side on her wedding day. And he wholeheartedly agreed.
The day of the wedding came, and Diana was walked down the aisle by Daniel at her wedding in Buffalo, New York.
"Before I walked down the aisle with Dan, I felt butterflies in my stomach," Diana said, as quoted by the Daily Mail. "...When he first saw me in my wedding dress he cried. Once I saw him crying, I started crying."
Diana knew how much that moment meant to Daniel, a single parent who lost his daughter far too early. "He misses Heather so much and struggles with the pain of her absence," Diana added. "He said he was honored to walk me down the aisle and is so happy to have another daughter now. I told Dan, that Heather's spirit was there with us and she was happier than ever. We hugged each other before we went out."
Daniel walked Diana for the first part of the aisle until her father took over and walked her towards her groom.
As Diana continues to spread awareness about organ donation, she hopes people can see how it can change someone's life completely, just like it changed hers.
"I hope people can realize the power of organ donation. Without Heather's decision, I would not be here today," she said. "Death is a tragedy but transplant is a light of beauty in the midst of that tragedy. Transplant gave me the life that I never thought I would have. These decisions are vital. I ask that people think seriously about this. Don't make your family decide in the moment when they are grieving."
Cover image source: Inside Edition/YouTube