PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was all set. A would-be groom had shelled out more than $15,000 for a Sunday reception at The Priory, on Pittsburgh’s North Side. And then, the wedding was cancelled.

Phil Laboon is CEO of Eyeflow, an online marketing company on the South Side. But these days, national media are trying to get him on their line. The former fiancé is turning his reception into a charity fundraiser.

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“The event’s $75 a person,” he explains. “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
“They provide surgeries to third world countries, mostly children,” Laboon says.

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.

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“We’ve traveled to 17 countries,” Dr. 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.”

For more information on Surgicorps, long on to: www.surgicorps.org

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