Eight lives were saved as a result of one organ donor’s kindness, while countless others had their lives transformed for the better as a result of not losing someone precious to them.
Diana Donnarumma Kreher had been looking forward to marrying the love of her life, but organ failure threatened to end her happily ever after. Her future was unknown because there were hundreds of thousands of people on the transplant waiting list.
Heather Donnelly was killed in a vehicle accident around the same time. She was miraculously a perfect match for Diana’s small and large intestines, which she sorely required. The transplant went off without a hitch, and Diana couldn’t be happier.
“Every day, I live my life to try to honor this amazing person who saved my life,” Diana said. To show her appreciation, she reached out to Heather’s dad, Daniel Donnelly, so she could personally thank him for what his daughter did for her!
Through their phone call, Diana learned just how similar she and Heather were. Heather was only a year older than Diana, and like Diana, she was engaged and soon to be married.
Heartbroken that Daniel would never have the chance to walk his own daughter down the aisle, Diana offered him a very special role on her big day.
“I asked Dan if he would want to walk me down the aisle at my wedding,” Diana said. “He said yes and that he would be honored.”
Every wedding day is a roller coaster of emotions, but Diana’s was especially intense. Heather’s photographs were displayed on a table to symbolize the fact that she was present in spirit.
Diana couldn’t stop smiling as she saw Diana and Daniel go down the aisle, arms clasped. When it was time for Daniel to hand her over to her own father, they hugged and Diana sobbed. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at this point!
The rest of the ceremony went just as beautifully, and the reception was a time of joyous celebration. “I had a great time at the wedding. It was a blast,” Daniel said. “I was watching Diana at the dance floor, dancing it up. And picturing my daughter out there doing the same thing.”
Without Heather’s selflessness, Diana may never have made it to her wedding day. But if Heather had been able to see Diana’s big day, there’s no doubt she would have been so grateful for how everything turned out.
“You guys are as loving as my daughter was — she’d be very proud of you two. And I wish you the best of luck,” Daniel said. “I know she’s looking down right now, she’s very happy. Diana is a sweet girl, she’s got a heart of gold, calls me dad. She says, ‘I’ve got two dads now.’ I was very honored.”
What a beautiful way to honor Heather’s life and legacy! Watch Daniel walk Diana down the aisle in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story with a friend.