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Nick Shepherd

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Woman stages wedding so terminally ill Kingsport father can walk her down aisle

July 23rd, 2014 11:00 am by Nick Shepherd

Woman stages wedding so terminally ill Kingsport father can walk her down aisle

He walked down the aisle, dressed in a black suit, white button down shirt and a pink bow tie.

On his arm was a young woman dressed in a flowing white gown, carrying a bouquet of pink and white flowers. Underneath a white arch, words were exchanged.

Before the ceremony was over, they moved to the side of the pool, beside the wooden stairs, and came together.

As the song 'Daddy Dance With Me' played, David Moore took the hand of his daughter, Whitney, and began to dance.

He placed his hand on her back and said something to her. They both smiled, and for a moment, a fleeting moment, they were able to forget.

They forgot David had terminal cancer, they forgot he only has a few more months to live, they forgot this was not a real wedding, but a chance for a daughter to be walked down the aisle by her father before it was too late.

This ceremony started back in October of 2013 when David was diagnosed with liver cancer at Vanderbilt.

"At that point, they just gave me six to nine months (to live) without any treatment and probably nine to 12 months if I had radiation," he said. "I took the radiation treatments but I was denied anything such as a new liver. No cure and more or less sent home."

David did not drink or do drugs so the diagnosis of liver cancer was unexpected. A spot had been found on his liver a few years earlier, but was benign. He was on a lot of medication for his heart and doctors think that may have contributed to the cancer.

He was devastated by the news and his thoughts immediately went to his two children. He thought about what they were going to do without him and some of the things he would miss.

For Whitney, the news was just as devastating.

"Since my dad was diagnosed with his cancer at stage IV, it really, you know, hit me," she said. "I questioned it. I got mad. I questioned God and I got mad at God. I was just wondering why it had to be my dad. But everything happens for a reason."

David's wife Linda and son Logan were hit just as hard.

The Moore family has leaned on faith during this trying time and David believes if you believe in God and Heaven, you should not fear death.

But after the diagnosis, life sped up for the family. They wanted to squeeze as much life into David's final days as they could.

One day, Whitney came across a story about an 11-year-old California girl whose father also had terminal cancer. That little girl's dream was to have her father walk her down the aisle at her wedding, so a wedding was created in order for her dad to do just that before he passed.

When Whitney read the story, she thought it was a sweet idea and wanted to do something similar. She ran it by the hospice nurse and the nurse had done events like this for people before, so she arranged for a photographer to be at the event.

David was reluctant at first, but after talking with his family, the idea began to sound better to him.

"I knew time was of the essence," he said. "We went ahead and planned it, did it. It was very emotional."

When the day arrived, on June 14, Whitney treated it like her real wedding day. She did her hair and makeup and had all her bridesmaids there.

Logan served as ring bearer. When father and daughter stood under the arch, they read a special message each had written for the other.

David gave his little girl, the one who used to laugh hysterically when he would hide around the corner and play peep eye, a ring. Engraved inside the ring was the word "sugar," which he often called her.

He gave his son a ring also. He has one more wish to fulfill before he passes out of this world and that is to fish off a pier with Logan. He is scheduled to do that on August 10, if he can hang on until then.

As Krystal Keith serenaded the wedding guests while father and daughter danced in the sunlight, a photographer captured a moment.

A moment when time stood still, a moment when a father got to fulfill a dream, a moment a daughter danced with the first man she ever loved, a moment of pure happiness.

One day, a picture is all she will have.

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