Dying dad walks 11-year-old daughter down 'aisle' in heartbreaki - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Dying dad walks 11-year-old daughter down 'aisle' in heartbreaking ceremony

Posted:

Courtesy ABC News

It was a day she'll never forget.

An 11-year-old girl from California walked down the aisle with her dying dad in a tear-jerking ceremony that pronounced the pair "daddy and daughter."

"It was not easy to do, let me tell you, but I wouldn't change it for the world," said Jim Zetz, 62, who has stage-4 pancreatic cancer and is expected to live only a few more months.

"In twenty years, when she really gets married, she's going to be happy that happened," he said.

A photographer close to the Zetz family arranged the mock wedding as a surprise, to give Jim the chance to celebrate a milestone he'll likely miss as his cancer progresses.

Lindsay Villatoro of Love Song Photography secured donations for Jim's suit, his daughter Josie's white gown, a wedding cake, catering and flowers.

Jim's wife Grace Zetz, 54, called the ceremony a "beautiful" surprise.

"We didn't really know what was going to happen –- she put it all together in 72 hours," she said. "She came in with three truckloads of decorations for my backyard!"

It happened on March 14, Josie's 11th birthday.

She's old enough to grasp the seriousness of her dad's condition, her mom said.

"The therapists recommend we use big words and make her understand that none of this is her fault," Grace 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."

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.

"It's been hard, his diagnosis was an aggressive one and things have gone by so quick," Grace Zetz said. "We set goals to do so something every week."

Jim and Grace are on a cruise to Hawaii this week, paid for by donations from their Murrieta, Calif., community.

"With the blessing of the hospice team, I have a suitcase full of drugs and we decided to take a little time to ourselves," Grace said.

Watch video on ABC News

  • Texas State Aquarium In Running For National Honors

    Texas State Aquarium In Running For National Honors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:21 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:21:43 GMT
    The Texas State Aquarium have been nominated as a finalist to be named one of the Top Ten Aquariums in the US and Canada. It's all part of a readers choice contest by USA Today. If you would like to vote for the Texas State Aquarium click here.More >>
    The Texas State Aquarium have been nominated as a finalist to be named one of the Top Ten Aquariums in the US and Canada. It's all part of a readers choice contest by USA Today. If you would like to vote for the Texas State Aquarium click here.More >>
  • Online Petition Aimed At Saving Park

    Online Petition Aimed At Saving Park

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:17 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:17:35 GMT
    A local man has started an online petition in hopes of keeping the city from selling a park in his neighborhood.More >>
    A local man has started an online petition in hopes of keeping the city from selling a park in his neighborhood.More >>
  • Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel

    Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:14 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:14:08 GMT
    Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but may not realize that drowsy driving can be just as fatal. With more drivers on the road, words like sleepy, tired, exhausted, are taking on a whole new meaning when it comes to your safety.We talk with drivers, state troopers and driving instructors to examine what could be done to make our highways less dangerous in a 3News Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel.More >>
    Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but may not realize that drowsy driving can be just as fatal. With more drivers on the road, words like sleepy, tired, exhausted, are taking on a whole new meaning when it comes to your safety.We talk with drivers, state troopers and driving instructors to examine what could be done to make our highways less dangerous in a 3News Special Report: Asleep at the Wheel.More >>