Timothy Marsh's story does not have a happy ending, but it does have an important message. And his family agreed, two months after his death, to share the impact of the last emotional gift he gave his daughters.
"Well I had every man's dream life I guess," Marsh said in a June 2014 videotaped interview with River Pointe Church in Richmond where he and his family are members of the congregation. He was 51 years old. He had a successful career, a beautiful home. He and his wife Eleanor were parents to a blended family of seven children.
But the diagnosis was colon cancer. It came back with a vengeance after a 6-month regimen of chemotherapy. This time it had spread to his lungs and liver.
"Told us it was metastatic, inoperable, and that just turned our world completely upside down," Eleanor Marsh told us.
Doctors gave him three months, six months at the most.
"I just immediately broke down because I couldn't imagine a life without my father," said his 22-year-old daughter Andranique Henry.
And as he prepared himself for the end, Timothy Marsh had one regret – he wouldn't live long enough to walk Andranique down the aisle at her wedding scheduled for next year.
"We can ride it out and die," he said in that June interview, "or we can be a light and be a testimony to other people."
Timothy Marsh chose to be a light.
It happened on Father's Day at River Pointe Church. In a special Father's Day ceremony they held a mock wedding. Timothy Marsh, frail and sometimes struggling to maintain his balance, summoned the strength to walk Andranique down the aisle. The song that played was one he chose himself – Daddy's Little Girl.
"We gather here because this dad knows how important it is to show up for his family," the pastor said as Marsh and his daughter stood on stage.
And that was Timothy Marsh's message: that a dad is there for his family even to the end.
That's why the day before he gave the same gift to his 7-year-old daughter Adaiah too. They held the same ceremony so that he could also give her the memory of her father walking her down the aisle.
"I felt like, this man, he's so weak at this point but, he gave all of his strength to do this for me," said Andranique.
"And I couldn't understand which was more powerful the weakness or the strength that it took for him to do that. And it took a lot," Eleanor Marsh said.
Timothy Marsh made that walk with his last ounce of strength. He died eight days later.
But he left his daughters a memory.
"It means everything to me. It's indescribable," said Andranique. "It touched my heart, it touched my soul so much."
"When he and I talked about it, his thing is I hope that this would just get some other men to step up and see how important it is that the man is the first man that his daughter is going to look at," said Eleanor. "And it is."
"Now when I look at it," said Andranique of the video the church provided, "I smile. Watching him walk me down, it just brings so much joy to me. He did all this for me and for my little sister just to make us happy."
"The best gift if anything that he's ever given to my girls," said Eleanor. "I don't think any other piece of jewelry that he's given, a card, a flower -- that was the best gift."
A gift for a daughter and a message for dads - to be there for their family, even to the end.
"Because once, once you're gone, all you have is memories. So just cherish her. Cherish each other," said Andranique.
Because who a dad is to his daughter, matters… forever.