FERGUS – Instead of getting a blender, a China set, or pots and pans as wedding gifts, one couple decided to raise money for a hospital in memory of the bride’s father.
Alisha Sealey, born and raised in Fergus now living in Cambridge, tied the knot with Landon Black last month and asked for donations to go towards the Groves Hospital Foundation. They ended up raising almost $5,000.
“We both just felt we’re at the point in our lives where we’re already so privileged, we have everything we need so it didn’t feel right to be accepting gifts from people,” Sealey said in a phone interview. “We weren’t doing a big wedding either, we only had seven guests. It’s not like people felt like they had to pay for their dinner.”
It was also in memory of her dad Graham who died in 2022 after a lengthy battle with a rare form of cancer.
“The reason we chose to give to Groves again for the wedding was because it felt like a good way to include my dad in our wedding celebration by continuing to honour his memory,” Sealey said.
She said he was treated by a lot of different hospitals during his sickness, primarily the University Health Network in Toronto, but her dad was born in Elora and lived in the area his whole life. He ended up at Groves on many occasions.
“They were always really good to him because I think they were kind of wowed by his very strange case,” she said.
Graham Sealey was diagnosed with stage four thymoma in 2013. Despite this, Sealey said her dad was able to live a normal life for the most part and always surprised people at the hospital at how well he was doing.
“The people at the hospital would see scans or whatever they would think this man is very sick but then he’d say ‘I’m not in any pain,’” Sealey said, adding this made him feel like a bit of a celebrity because everyone was interested in his case.
Because of the small wedding, Sealey said they opened up the donations to the public and got to about $5,000 in around a month’s time.
Lori Arsenault, executive director of the Groves Hospital Foundation, said in an email she was touched when she learned Sealey wished to host a wedding fundraiser to benefit the hospital.
“We were thankful that her father Graham’s patient experience at Groves was a positive one and so incredibly sorry for her and the family’s loss, especially as he was not able to be with her for her wedding day,” Arsenault said. “Fundraising events like Alisha and Landon’s are such an important part of our ability to continue to meet the needs of our community and our hospital. Donations like theirs allow us to fund vital equipment and technological tools for our staff and physicians to provide excellent patient care, close to home.”
Sealey said others should consider raising money for other charities through a wedding if they are able to.
“I think it’s really nice to give back to the community any way we can and a wedding is a great opportunity to collect a sizable amount and to make a meaningful difference somewhere,” Sealey said.