By Matt Wotus
Michaela Cook-Yotts and Jessica Otto have known each other since the second grade. With Jessica’s dad, Peter Otto, having cancer for the fourth time and doctors giving him a month or two to live, Michaela decided to give them the gift of a lifetime at her wedding — their own father-daughter dance.
She told ABC News the idea came from her now-wife, Nora Cook-Yotts, who fell in love with Peter when she met him. The couple told Jessica about the idea, and she immediately said yes, as she knows knows he won’t be dancing with her or her sister at their weddings.
“Deep down, I knew it wasn’t in the cards for us,” Jessica said. “It was everything to me, I don’t think they will ever fully know [what] it meant to me.”
She said that her dad is her “best friend” and the kindest, most selfless person she’s ever met. In 2014 and 2015, the pair biked in the annual Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), a two-day bike-a-thon that takes participants through 46 towns in Massachusetts and benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where Peter is undergoing treatment.
Biking is one of the many interests Jessica and her dad share. She said she will bike in this year’s PMC in August, although her dad isn’t well enough to participate.
Jessica said the dance was a surprise for her dad, and he figured it out once their names were called to come to the dance floor. They danced to remix version of “Every Breath You Take” and were joined by Jessica’s sister, who is engaged.
“My dad is a man a of very few words, he doesn’t express how he feels, he doesn’t say it but he shows it,” Jessica said. “He hugged us close to him.”
She added, “It was so selfless of them to take time at their wedding to give us this moment.”
Michaela said it was “the best part of the wedding” and that “there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”