Knowing that he will never get the chance to walk his young daughter down the aisle for real, Jim Zetz and his 11-year old daughter Josie were treated to a mock wedding complete with white gown, wedding cake, flowers and a catered reception held on her birthday March 14th. However, he is spending the “honeymoon” on a cruise to Hawaii with his wife Grace.
Zetz, 62, is suffering from stage 4-pancreatic cancer, and only has a few more months to live. As a result, photographer Lindsay Villatoro, a close family friend came up with the idea for the ceremony came as a big surprise so the Zetzes could all share a “milestone” that they would have missed otherwise. The cruise was paid for by donations from members of their community in Murietta, CA.
“We didn’t really know what was going to happen,” exclaimed Grace, who said that Lindsay had put the whole thing together in just 72 hours.“She came in with three truckloads of decorations for my backyard.”
“It was not easy to do, let me tell you, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Jim stated after he and Josie were pronounced “daddy and daughter. “In twenty years, when she really gets married, she’s going to be happy that happened," he said.
Pancreatic cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the US and 12th worldwide, with men reportedly “30% more likely to develop it than women. Although the the rate of progresion can vary from patient to patient, many individuals are not diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to the terminal stage and often have only 6-10 months to live by then, such as Jim Zetz, who found out that he had it just last October, an opted to discontinue chemotherapy so he could spend more “quality” time with his family during the last few months of his life.