A dying man was able to fulfill his wish of walking his children down the aisle.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last April 2010, Ken McHugh was granted his wish to escort his children on the aisle in a staged event to make up for the weddings doctors predict he will most probably miss.
The family was both moved and grateful for the opportunity.
"His ultimate last wish was to walk his children, especially his girls, down the aisle and he did it," his wife, Tammy McHugh said. "I was surprised...that we were able to find and experience the joy of the day."
Finding out that he had cancer felt like such a strong blow to the family, Tammy recalled. After first thinking it was a joke, the severity of the situation came upon them like a somber wind.
Chemotherapy was done but to no avail. After several treatments over the years with little success, doctors recommended for the family to discontinue treatment and to focus on palliative care, making sure that their patriarch could live as comfortably and happily as possible till the end.
Up until now, Ken is still struggling to achieve satisfaction in life despite his diagnosis. Doctors hesitated to predict Ken's estimated remaining days so the family had gotten used to the thought that his impending death can be put off then eventually put at the back of their minds.
"I think because he's a survivor of five years we sort of developed a false sense of hope or security," Tammy said.
With support from the non-profit organization Team CMMD dedicated to helping cancer patients, the family was able to stage what they called a "family wedding."
Ken successfully escorted all his children of three daughters and one son on the wedding aisle then dedicate to them individual letters, speaking of each child's personality and his future hopes and dreams for them.
He also renewed his vows to his wife of 20 years that day, with their children as witnesses.
Tammy said she recalled the whole event being a touching affair and a special memory the family can hold onto once Ken passes on.
"Even though he won't be there," Tammy said. "He will always be by their sides."
Photo: Corey Balazowich | Flickr