Father with Terminal Cancer Gives Daughter Away in Memorable Staged Wedding Ceremony

52fe914f841f7.imageJohn Penn had waited 28 years to walk his daughter down the aisle.

Sunday morning, he did.

His body isn’t what it used to be. In May of 2012, he was hit by a car in Panama City and suffered 23 broken bones. Around Christmas of 2013, he found out he had Acute Myaloid Leukemia (AML), a rare but aggressive type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects immature blood cell growth.

After three rounds of chemotherapy, doctors told him the cancer had become resistant to the chemicals. Doctors were measuring his life in months. He decided to measure his life in moments.

On Feb. 28 of this year, he visited his daughter,Shayna, in Lithia Springs, Ga., where she has been living. They talked about the prognosis. They shared memories, and regrets.

“We had some alone time and he told me how important it was to him to be able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding, and that he hated he was going to miss it,” Shayna recalled.

Shayna, 28, decided to have a wedding with everything but the groom. The other part will come some day. Sunday, friends and family gathered at WoodhamFarms near Wicksburg to share the experience.

The entire ceremony lasted less than six minutes.Shayna, in full wedding regalia, walked down a set of stairs inside the building and met her father. He has walked recently with the aide of a cane, but not this time. He guided her to the foot of the aisle and they walked together to the minister.

“Who gives this woman to be married today?” said Eddie Henderson, chaplain for the Dothan Police Department and friend of the family.

“Her mother and I,” Mr. Penn said.

With that, John Penn faced his daughter. She put her hands around him and the two began to dance. Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” played in the background. (Read more)

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