He had always had one wish: to walk all seven of his daughters down the aisle on their wedding day.
But that dream seemed elusive when Willie Shelton of Ohio in the US was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
“The one constant was always, ‘I want to see my girls grow up, and I want to walk them down the aisle,” his wife, Cheryl, told Fox News.
So they concocted a plan.
One of Willie’s daughters, Emily, who was already married, was set to renew her vows. Her wedding had been a low-key event, which meant Willie hadn’t been able to give her away. This was the perfect opportunity for him to walk her down the aisle, she said.
With the help of the hospice where Willie was being cared for, the family arranged a wedding renewal ceremony, Metro UK reports.
But what Willie didn’t know was that his other six daughters would be walking down the aisle too.
They planned to all wear wedding gowns and act as if they were too were getting married that day to fulfil his greatest wish.
"He had no clue that this was going on," Cheryl told Fox News.
It took three days to get all the dresses and plan the event. And when Willie arrived at the backyard ceremony to give Emily away, all his daughters stepped out, all ready for him to walk them down the aisle too.
“He looked a little confused and then it was just great to see everybody,” Emily told Fox News.
When each daughter emerged in a white gown, they got to see the gleam in their father’s eye as if it was their real wedding day, The Independent reports.
“I always assumed my dad would be there to walk me down the aisle and when the possibility was there that he wasn't going to be able to – this was everything,” Lindsey Shelton, another of Willie’s daughters, told The Independent.
Willie was even helped out of his wheelchair to stand alongside his daughters.
Less than two weeks after the ceremony Willie passed away but his daughters will forever carry his memory with them.
They now all own a locket containing a photo of them in their wedding gowns with their father. Engraved on the back are the words “a father’s love never ends”.
“He was the happiest person, the most giving person, and this was our chance to give him something,” said Jennifer Shelton.