Bride dances with sick father at her wedding after fears he wouldn’t be well enough to walk her down the aisle

Bride Vanessa Wickham,24, dances with her terminally-ill father Lew Johnston,65, at her wedding in Lake Arrowhead, California.

This is the emotional moment a bride danced with her terminally-ill dad at her wedding after fearing he would be too sick to attend.

Vanessa Wickham, 24, worried Lew Johnston, 65, would be unable to make her special day as he is in the end stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Lew was diagnosed with the degenerative illness, which obstructs airflow to the lungs, 20 years ago and now needs 24/7 oxygen to keep him alive.

Vanessa and groom Mike Wickham, 25, feared he would struggle to breathe at their venue in Lake Arrowhead, California, USA, as it is 4,000ft above sea level.

Bride Vanessa Wickham,24, dances with her terminally-ill father Lew Johnston,65, at her wedding in Lake Arrowhead, California.

Doctors warned his lungs could collapse, so Lew arranged to travel there for a practice run to check he could cope with the altitude.

Vanessa was thrilled when it was a success, and Lew was given the all clear to attend her wedding at Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins, where he walked her down the aisle.

Precious footage shows the dad-and-daughter duo swaying slowly to Elton John’s Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

Vanessa, a nurse, said the moment made her wedding to her college sweetheart Mike, an accountant, all the sweeter.

The bride, from San Diego, California, said: “It was amazing to have my dad there. It was such a special moment to dance with him.

“He is in the end stage of COPD which has progressed rapidly over the past number of years and his quality of life has gone down a lot. He is on oxygen 24/7 now.

“We thought he wouldn’t be able to come to my wedding because of the altitude and that was such a worrying few weeks.

“It would have devastated me and I was so relieved when his doctors cleared him to go.”

Dad-of-three Lew added: “My illness is so bad now I really am lucky to get out of the house. To walk Vanessa down the aisle was the highlight of my life.

“She took my breath away. I felt like I was walking on air when I was walking her down the aisle. I didn’t even notice my oxygen machine over my shoulder.”

Lew, a construction business owner, and Vanessa enjoyed their first dance in front of 100 guests on July 14.

Lew said: “When we were dancing it felt like Vanessa and I were the only people in the room.

Bride Vanessa Wickham ,24,with groom Mike Wickham,25, at theirwedding in Lake Arrowhead, California.

Vanessa added: “It was honestly the most special day of my life.

“My dad is such an inspiration to me. He ran his own company and he has mentored and helped me my whole life.”

Despite his illness Lew hopes he will live to see another one of Vanessa’s life milestones.

“It’s a little greedy of me but I would love to meet a grandchild.

“But I’ve had a good life and I take it day by day. If I wake up in the morning that’s great.

“I feel very lucky that Vanessa has met a guy like Mike – her soulmate. She deserves the very best. From the day she came into our lives she’s been an angel.”

Vanessa added: “Because of my dad’s illness, it was extra meaningful. It makes you appreciate every moment you do have together.”


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