The latest from CWIMA and featured sources

Couple Battling Cystic Fibrosis Donates Their Wedding To Charity

An engaged couple facing fatal illness is turning their wedding into a fundraiser for charity. According to NBC, Tiffany Au and Caleb Remington from Chicago are planning to turn their wedding celebration into a benefit concert and fundraising gala to raise $500,000 for five charity organizations.

Remington, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child, has been in and out of the hospital 10 times since an emergency visit when he was 19. “The life expectancy was only 19 years old [when I was diagnosed],” he said.

Now, Remington has a life expectancy of 37, a fact that made the beginning of his relationship with Au certainly unique.

“The first day that we hung out we are not talking about ‘What’s your favorite color,'” said Au. “He said, ‘What are your thoughts on death and life?'”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects and the lungs and digestive system. The CF gene causes mucus, sweat, and digestive fluid to become thick and block the airways. Compared to the 18 million Americans with sleep apnea, up to 10 million Americans carry the CF gene.

Each day, Remington does an hour of chest therapy followed by breathing treatments. He also takes pancreatic enzymes because his stomach is unable to metabolize the food he eats. These treatments on top of up to 60 pills a day are necessary simply to keep Remington’s body functioning.

However, fatal illness can’t keep the heart from what it wants. Au and Remington stuck together through infections, treatments, and adventures before they got engaged in Hawaii.

While planning their ceremony, the couple said they had planned to incorporate their love of serving others and community into the wedding but they weren’t sure how. It was then that they had the idea to turn it into a fundraiser and benefit concert.

“[The] wedding industry is $76 billion,” said Remington. “So even if 1 percent of that could go back to nonprofit, we could do a lot of good.”

The wedding industry is certainly booming. Up to one-third of Americans who buy diamond jewelry, including bridal jewelry, are willing to spend over $1,000. And flowers typically make up between 7% to 8% of the wedding budget.

What’s more, the cost just to be a wedding guest can be almost $900 while the cost to be a standing guest can cost over $1,000. Au and Remington decided, rather than have guests pay this kind of money to attend their wedding, they would put the money toward charity.

In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple is accepting donations on their website, called The Greatest Wedding Ever Donated. Au and Remington are aiming to raise up to $500,000, which will be split between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Think Together, Wayfarer Foundation, Global Genes, and To Write Love on Her Arms. Part of the wedding celebration is ticketed as a benefit concert for anyone to attend.

“If you don’t want a registry,” said Remington, “think about the different cause areas that you are affected by. And maybe turn your registry into a donation platform.”

Leave a Reply