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Dying dad walks 11-year-old daughter down the aisle


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Dying dad walks 11-year-old daughter down the aisle

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Apr 2, 2014

Photographer Lindsey Villatoro gave an 11-year-old Murrieta, Calif., tween named Josie, a wedding ceremony she will never forget. Jim Ketz, Josie's father, is dying from stage four pancreatic cancer at 62 years old, and knows he'll never have the chance to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Villatoro had been hired to take the Ketz family's last portrait, which gave her a birthday idea for Josie. 

“I have an 11-year-old daughter and knew Josie’s birthday was coming up,” Villatoro tells The Press-Enterprise. “I also knew it would be the last birthday with her dad. If I was Josie, this would be the best gift anyone could give.”

Villatoro rallied business friends together in 72 hours to create the ultimate mock-wedding for Josie to have the chance to experience the irreplaceable moment of having her father walk her down the aisle. Vendors donated a white dress for Josie, as well as a hair stylist and makeup artist. All of it was a surprise for Josie.

During the heartbreaking ceremony, the officiating pastor Gary Galbraith said, “Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today,” reports The Press-Enterprise. He added, “The daddy and daughter relationship is one of the most special relationships in life.”

A promise ring was given as Ketz and Josie were pronounced "daddy and daughter."


Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.