Canceled wedding turned into charity fundraiser - Tucson News Now

Canceled wedding turned into charity fundraiser

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When Phil Laboon's wedding was canceled, he flipped an expensive reception into a gala to raise money for a worthy cause. (Source: KDKA/CBS) When Phil Laboon's wedding was canceled, he flipped an expensive reception into a gala to raise money for a worthy cause. (Source: KDKA/CBS)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/CBS) - It was all set. A man soon to be married had shelled out more than $15,000 for a Sunday reception, and then the wedding was canceled.

Phil Laboon, CEO of an online marketing company, did more than turn lemons into lemonade.

He turned his wedding reception into a fundraiser.

"The event's $75 a person," Laboon explained. "That pays for all your food, which is more heavy hors d'oeuvres. It's not a sit-down dinner."

Tickets are sold out, though he's hoping to find room for 50 more. Raffle donations keep rolling in. Proceeds from the "reception that isn't" will go to a group called Surgicorps, which performs surgery in third-world countries, mostly on children.

Surgicorps founder Dr. Jack Demus is loading bags for an upcoming trip to the African nation of Zambia. The retired plastic surgeon founded the nonprofit 20 years ago.

"We've traveled to 17 countries," Demus says. "We've done over 60 missions, screened 8,500 or so patients, operated on over 4,000 patients, taken close to 1,000 volunteers with us. And what we try to do is improve the lives of those who have so little, but deserve an awful lot more."

Their efforts go as far as donations will take them, even if some of those funds might have gone for wedding cake.

"It was obviously pretty heartbreaking for everybody involved," Laboon said. "But this ended up becoming a really good scenario."

Copyright 2014 KDKA via CBS. All rights reserved.

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