(WRIC/ABC) — A Maine bride received the ultimate wedding gift when her ill father stood up from his wheelchair and walked her down the aisle last weekend.
Heather Duquette’s father Ralph Duquette was diagnosed with Leukemia in October 2012. He had to use a wheelchair after undergoing extensive chemotherapy.
Heather had to accept that her dad’s health issues would prevent him from walking her down the aisle on her big day, she told ABC News.
“We had talked about it about a year ago but we realized in the condition he was in it just wasn’t going to be possible,” she said.
To the surprise of Duquette and her wedding guests, her father stood up from his wheelchair and walked her down the aisle. The only people Ralph Duquette had told about his plan were his physical therapists, his caretaker and the wedding DJ.
“When I saw him get up and come towards me I was overwhelmed,” Heather Duquette said. “I started crying uncontrollably in front of everybody.”
Ralph knew he wanted to walk his daughter down the aisle since her engagement in August 2014, he said. He had his doctor arrange home visits with a nurse and physical therapists beginning this past April. He continued through the week before the wedding to help him regain strength in his legs.
“When she grabbed my hand I sort of felt safe and walked down,” Ralph Duquette said. “It was so amazing, she was so happy. It was something that every father dreams of.”
Ralph also danced with his daughter to Al Martino’s “Daddy’s Little Girl” at the reception.
“It was the biggest day of my life and my father gave me the biggest surprise of my life,” the bride said.