An incredible, unusual walk down the aisle for a heart transplant and his donor’s daughter. Fallon plays Wii Tennis with U.S. Open champ. And the truly tasteless ad a mattress company made about 9/11

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One of my most rewarding subjects I’ve gotten to write about during my journalism career is the importance of organ donation.

I’ve done, I think, three stories about how organ donors either saved the life of someone else, or helped multiple people live better lives. Organ donation is such a simple thing to sign up for, and it can do so much good.

So it’s a pet cause of mine, and I love stories that highlight how organ donors have made a difference. Gotta say, though, this story that I somehow missed from a few weeks ago might be my favorite yet.

Jeni Stepien’s father, Michael, was shot and killed by a teenager during an attempted robbery in 2006 in Pennsylvania.

Michael was an organ donor, and his heart would go to Tom Thomas, who for years had suffered from congestive heart failure.

Over the next decade, Jeni and Michael exchanged phone calls and letters but had never met. Michael would send Jeni’s mom fresh flowers on holidays.

They might never have met, until a few months ago Jeni’s fiance, Paul, suggested that at their wedding, Jeni ask Michael if he’d walk her down the aisle. That way there’d be a little piece of her Dad at the wedding.

“I thought he would be the perfect person because he has a piece of my father living within him,” she said in this great Washington Post story.

Jeni wrote Michael a letter. “She said, ‘Is there any chance you’d consider walking me down the aisle?’ ” Thomas told The Post. “I said, ‘Oh, there’s a big chance.’

And so in on early August day a few weeks ago, Jeni Stepien was given away at her wedding by a man who literally had her father’s heart, and the gift of life that it gave him.

What a beautiful, beautiful story. Click through just to watch the video, and then grab some tissues.

“If I helped just one person change their mind to become an organ donor, my wish in sharing my story has come true,” Jeni said.

If you’re not already an organ donor, you can learn how to become one here.

**Next up today, I love when Jimmy Fallon and “The Tonight Show” do stuff like this. Stan Wawrinka, newly-minted U.S. Open champion, was on Monday night and was challenged by Jimmy to a tennis match.

A Wii tennis match. Let’s just say it’s clear Stan hasn’t spent much time playing Nintendo Wii in his life.

**And finally today, oh you know I love a good “horrible promotional idea” story, but this one was truly beyond the pale.

A mattress store called Miracle Mattress in Texas decided to run a commercial invoking 9/11 in their “Twin Towers” mattress sale. It is so tasteless and bad, it’s almost comical.

I’m sure it won’t shock you to learn that it sparked so much outrage, the store said it’s going out of business.

Too bad. I can’t wait to see what they would’ve done for a big Holocaust remembrance sale.

 

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