Dying dad walks daughter, 11, down aisle because he won’t be there for her wedding day

Josie Zetz tears up at the ceremony.

A California father gave his daughter a special gift for her 11th birthday — one that was just as special to him. He walked her down the aisle in a mock wedding ceremony, because he won’t be there to give her away at her real wedding. He’s dying of cancer.

Instead of giving his little girl’s hand to a bridegroom In the tear-filled March 14 ceremony, the pair were pronounced “daddy and daughter,” according to ABC News.

“It was not easy to do, let me tell you, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Jim Zetz, 62, a stage-4 pancreatic cancer patient not expected to live beyond a few more months.

“In twenty years, when she really gets married, she’s going to be happy that happened,” he said of his daughter Josie.

Photo credit: Lindsay Villatoro’s Love Song Photography via ABC News

The whole thing was actually the brainchild of Lindsay Villatoro, a close family friend and owner of Love Song Photography. She was able to arrange “donations for Jim’s suit, his daughter Josie’s white gown, a wedding cake, catering and flowers,” ABC reported.

“We didn’t really know what was going to happen –- she put it all together in 72 hours,” Jim’s wife Grace Zetz, 54, said. “She came in with three truckloads of decorations for my backyard!” adding that it was a “beautiful” surprise.

ABC reported:

Jim was diagnosed with cancer last October. Doctors explained it was “fast-growing” and “too late to do anything,” Grace said.

After suffering through three months of chemotherapy, Jim opted to stop treatment and enjoy the months he has left.

Grace said that although Josie is only 11, she knows the seriousness of Jim’s condition.

Photo credit: Lindsay Villatoro’s Love Song Photography via ABC News

“The therapists recommend we use big words and make her understand that none of this is her fault,” she said. “This is life and death and Jim has gotten a lot sicker over the past few weeks. She knows she has to be patient and it hurts.”

Grab a box or two of Kleenex and watch the following video of the ceremony via Lindsay Villatoro’s Love Song Photography. Then check out “Sarah Palin takes an awkward call from ‘Vlad Putin’ on The Tonight Show.”


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