Jilted groom donates wedding reception to charity

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAE) — A man forced to cancel his wedding at the last minute could have wallowed in grief, but instead he used his already paid-for reception to help children in need.

Phil LaBoon was supposed to get married this Saturday.

“Things just didn’t work out for one reason or another, so I called off the wedding, pretty last minute,” he said.

But he’d already booked his reception hall and paid for all the food and booze. So, now what?

LaBoon decided to squeeze the sour taste of his breakup into something sweet.

“So we were talking about it, me and my friends, and we were talking almost like Farm Aid, like this could be Lemon AID and it could be used to help these kids, and it could turn the lemons that I got into lemonade,” he said.

His wedding reception soon was transformed into a fundraiser for Surgicore, which helps children born with devastating medical problems in third-world countries.

“It just snowballed into this massive event where we’re getting tens of thousands of dollars in donations,” LaBoon said. “We’re selling hundreds of tickets.”

Once the word spread, his phone started ringing and soon donations started pouring in, from $50 to $12,000.

Houses at Disney World, trips to Cancun and website domains are some of the packages put up by generous donors.

“I imagine this is going to be unlike most charity events out there,” he said.

This single break up may net up to $50,000 for strangers in need.

“It really makes you feel good that we’re going to be changing a massive amount of kids’ lives,” LaBoon said. “It almost makes it feel like it’s not the worst thing in the world that you had to cancel a wedding.”

The Lemon AID fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday night at the Priory Hotel in Pittsburgh.