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The moment a bride walks down the aisle is usually special for both father and daughter. But that milestone wasn’t slated to happen for Ralph and Heather Duquette.
“When a father is presented with their daughter for the first time, they know how it’s gonna end,” Duquette told NBC affiliate WCHS. "I’d have to walk her down the aisle one of these days, you know? I’ve known that all my life, and when I got ill it was like, it’s never gonna happen.”
Duquette was diagnosed with stage four AML leukemia on his 64th birthday. That was the beginning of many battles in his fight, which included chemotherapy, becoming blind in one eye and being in a coma for five days. Lately, he’s needed a wheelchair to get around.
But he said nothing could stop him from walking his baby girl down the aisle. Against the odds, he practiced at home while no one was around to avoid ruining the surprise. He said physical therapists helped him two and three times a week.
“Oh, they pushed me,” he laughed. And the results were awe-inspiring.
On Oct. 10, with his arm linked tightly to his daughter’s, he walked her down the aisle.
“My dad was helped up out of the wheelchair and walked over to me and I just started crying,” Heather said
That’s not all. Duquette thought he’d shocked the 75 friends and family enough during the ceremony, but little did he know, he’d soon surprise himself.
“My brother comes over, he says ‘you ever thought about dancing today,’” Duquette said. “He said ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’”
Half way through the reception, with some assistance, Duquette and Heather rocked back and forth together.
As Duquette proves, the mind is a powerful thing. It can be strong even when the body is weak.