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A Photographer’s Beautiful Surprise for an 11-Year-Old Whose Father Has Terminal Cancer

Lindsey Villatoro photographs people, experiences and love — not illnesses.

The founder of Love Song Photography in Menifee, Calif., did just that when she organized and shot a surprise “wedding” for an 11-year-old girl named Josie Zetz, whose 62-year-old father, Jim, has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, according to The Press-Enterprise. Jim Zetz may never have a chance to watch Josie get married — but now, thanks to Villatoro and volunteers, he can say he walked his daughter down the “aisle.”


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Lindsey Villatoro


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Lindsey Villatoro

After meeting Jim Zetz and his wife, Grace, Villatoro went online to ask for donations to make what could be Josie’s last birthday with her father special. Instead, after talking with Grace, the photographer decided to take things a step further and plan a mini “wedding.” She and her team took care of everything, according to the Vimeo video below — from Josie’s dress, to food, to a pastor and guests.

“I met Josie [the day of the wedding],” Villatoro told The Huffington Post. “She was a little bit overwhelmed when her mom picked her up from school and told her. She just needed a moment. Later, she said, ‘This is the best day of my life.’ She was very glad and excited to have these moments.”

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Lindsey Villatoro
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Lindsey Villatoro

“One day wake up and realize you’re given the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better,” Villatoro wrote on Vimeo after the ceremony. “You get an idea, don’t think twice and run with it.”

See all the photographs from Josie’s ‘wedding’ in the video below, and visit Love Song Photography for more of Villatoro’s work.