The father of the donor, who died in a car accident days before her wedding, walks the bride down the aisle after she had a life-saving organ transplant.
The desire of Daniel Donnelly Jr. of seeing his daughter, Heather, walk down the aisle never came true. But early this year, when Diana Donnarumma asked him to lead her halfway down the aisle on her wedding day, he had a unique opportunity to experience what it might have been like.
“Every day, I try to carry on her spirit the best I can,” said Donnarumma, one of eight individuals who got an organ donation from Heather after she died in a vehicle accident in Texas three days before her own wedding in 2017. According to The Buffalo News, she continued, “And I felt like I needed to–but also wanted to–give her father the opportunity.”
This is the emotional moment when the father of a woman whose life was spared by an organ donation escorted her down the aisle during her wedding.
Diana Donnarumma, 28, of Buffalo, New York, fought back tears as she walked into the celebration with Daniel Donnelly Jr to marry her boyfriend, Conlan Kreher.
Daniel, whose donor daughter Heather died in a car accident in 2017, delivered Diana back to her biological father, who thanked him for his daughter’s gift, before heading to the altar.
Diana had been in intestinal failure owing to the advancement of her Dysautonomia, commonly known as automatic malfunction, and an intestine transplant from Heather had helped save her life.
Diana was offered the opportunity to contact her donor’s family a year following the transplant, with the choice to accept or decline the request.
Diana’s message was forwarded to a Texas organ donation clinic by her transplant center in Washington, DC, which subsequently contacted Daniel.
Daniel accepted the letter, and the two spoke on the phone later, Diana claiming that she cried for two days straight after discovering what a great person Heather was.
Diana has used her social media profiles in the years since to raise awareness of Heather’s life and organ donation, and she and Daniel finally met in Illinois, where Daniel resides.
He informed Diana that Heather had made the decision to donate, and that his daughter had died just days before she was to marry her own fiancé, Beau.
Diana later asked Daniel, a single dad, if he would give his daughter the honor of walking her down the aisle on her wedding day, which he gladly accepted.
Daniel sobbed when he first saw Diana in her wedding gown on August 13 at Salvatore Hospitality in Buffalo, before escorting her into the main room for the reception.
There, he handed Diana over to her real father, Glen, who escorted his daughter the rest of the way to her wedding to Conlan Kreher, 30.