Jim Zetz, terminally ill with cancer, walks his 11-year-old daughter down the aisle in viral video

Terminally ill father Jim Zetz walks his 11-year-old

Terminally ill father Jim Zetz walks his 11-year-old daughter, Josie, down the aisle on March 14, 2014, knowing he won't live to see her actual wedding day. (Credit: Lindsey Villatoro / Love Song Photography)

With a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Jim Zetz knew he wouldn’t live to see his young daughter’s wedding day. So when California photographer Lindsey Villatoro heard about their story, she decided to give Josie Zetz the surprise of her life on her 11th birthday.

“She mentioned she was so emotional about her dad not being there for memories down the line,” Villatoro wrote in a description to a video slideshow she created of the Zetzes, “so I figured we would make some now.”

Thanks to Villatoro, the founder of Love Song Photography, and 23 members of her community, Jim was able to walk his daughter down the aisle, where a pastor declared them “daddy and daughter.”

“From the dress, to the ring... From the decor, to the hair & makeup team... Oh and don't forget the pastor & guests! In 72 hours I managed to make one little girls wish to have her Daddy attend her wedding come true," reads text in the video, titled “Walk me down the aisle, Daddy,” that Villatoro uploaded to the video-sharing website Vimeo.

The video starts off with Josie getting ready for the wedding with a hair and makeup team, the vintage-style set pieces that Villatoro’s team provided, and family and friends gathering. Then a montage shows a wide-eyed Josie walking hand-in-hand with her father and tearful hugs at the altar, where her mother, Grace, joins them.

The tearjerker of a video has received more than 900,000 views on Vimeo, Villatoro told Newsday, with thousands more on YouTube.

“Josie, you will forever have a video of you and your dad walking you down the aisle to play at your wedding in years to come as if he was physically there,” Villatoro wrote. 

Watch on Vimeo at vimeo.com/89526392

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