Man's canceled wedding, turned charity ball raises thousands



PITTSBURGH - When Phil LaBoon entered the Priory Hotel Sunday night, it was not the entrance he planned for.

But when his relationship ended, so did his prepaid wedding plans. But instead of taking the loss and canceling altogether, he took lemons and turned them into LemonAID.

LaBoon didn’t wallow in self-pity, and decided to turn his would-be wedding reception into a charity ball, raising money for Surgicorps International.

After his story went viral last week, support for LaBoon and his cause continued to grow.

“We’ve had over 800 requests online from people to buy tickets, people willing to fly in, people wanting to support this. People donating tens of thousands of dollars,” LaBoon said.

Sunday’s event went off without a hitch. The doctor behind the program that treats children in developing countries said he was astounded when he first heard of LaBoon’s plans.

“I thought this was a joke. Nobody does this. Then I felt like a bride. Thank you very much,” said Dr. John Demos.

Hundreds of LaBoon’s friends and strangers showed up for the event.

“Anytime you can help someone, if you have the money, you gotta help,” said Steve Breite of Cecil Township.

Doctors behind Surgicorps said the money raised last night will help fund their next scheduled overseas trip to Africa later this month. The total amount raised is still being tallied.