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Dying father stages wedding for 11-year-old daughter

MURRIETA, Calif. (WKRC) -- A dying California man had a special surprise for his 11-year-old daughter for her birthday that celebrated his life and created long-lasting memories.

Jim Zetz, 62, has stage 4 pancreatic cancer and won't live long enough to see his daughter Josie's real wedding. So for Josie's birthday, Zetz staged a wedding in their backyard with the help of friends and family, who came together to plan the event in just 72 hours.

Lindsey Villatoro, a photographer, helped coordinate the ceremony. She told the Press Enterprise that this gift would be hard to top.

"I have an 11-year-old daughter and knew Josie's birthday was coming up," Villatoro told 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."

Gary Galbraith, a pastor, officiated the ceremony, during which Zetz walked his daughter down the aisle and gave her a promise ring.

"Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today," Galbraith said. "The daddy and daughter relationship is one of the most special relationships in life."

Though the ceremony was emotional, Zetz said he was happy he was able to create a special memory for his daughter.

"Down the road this will mean a lot to her," Zetz said. "She will always remember it."

"Josie said the following morning, 'It was the BEST day of her life,'" Villatoro said.

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