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Jilted groom offers up $20,000 reception to charity fundraiser

Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-02 18:00:02-04

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Phil Laboon was all set to marry the love of his life on Sunday, but she had a change of heart.

The couple’s $20,000 reception at the Priory Hotel on the North Side of Pittsburgh was already paid off.

"Do you just flush the money down the toilet, or do you roll your sleeves up, and just try do something good?” Laboon explained of his decision to hold a fundraiser for Surgicorps International.

The organization is a Pittsburgh-based charity where doctors go around the world, helping children with cleft palates, and severe burns.  Dr. Jack Demos heads up the team.

"Literally, this is blowing my mind right now, it still hasn't fully registered what's happening right now!" said Laboon. “Not at all what I was expecting today.”

The post-nuptial party-turned philanthropic  endeavor, however, got off to a rather inauspicious start.

"I couldn't even sell 12 tickets, up until a few days ago,” he said.

But, when word of the party hit the web and news sites, it was on.

"People donating tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.

But, don’t think that Phil isn’t still smarting over the whole wedding being called off. "I definitely have my bad days, and bad nights."

But, because he chose to look beyond himself, a lot of kids on the other side of the world will be able to look toward a brighter future.

“Take whatever you're dealt, and make the best of if it," Laboon said. "That's what I did, and I never, in my wildest dreams, thought it would become international news."