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Groom turns reception into charity event after wedding is called off

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Groom turns reception into charity event after wedding is called off

Phil Laboon with his mom at the LemonAID event Aug. 31 in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH — After his engagement was called off, a would-be groom decided to make use of his prepaid wedding resources and host a charity ball.

Phil Laboon, a 32-year-old marketing CEO, said he didn't want the estimated $15,000 to $20,000 he prepaid for the wedding to go to waste. Instead, he planned a fundraising event called LemonAID for Surgicorps International, a charity that has organized missions to 18 countries and performed more than 4,000 free surgeries, according to a news release.

"Bad things happen, but nothing I experience will ever be equal to the obstacles these kids face each day of their lives," Laboon said in a statement.

Tickets for the Aug. 31 event sold out and tens of thousands of dollars were raised through donations, WXPI reported. About 200 people attended the event at the Priory Hotel in Pittsburgh, but many more requested tickets and made donations, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Laboon used the food, alcohol and music he scheduled for his wedding at the event and donated the proceeds to Surgicorps, according to Trib Live. The money will be used to support an upcoming mission to Africa.

"I thought this was a joke — nobody does this. Then I felt like a bride," Surgicorps founder John Demos told WPXI.

Laboon said now he hopes to make LemonAID an annual event.


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