Weddings are an occasion to celebrate love and friendship. But in the case of Vanessa and Chris, it was also an opportunity to celebrate life and breath.
Their February 25th wedding was the culmination of five years of friendship and dating.
“Once we actually took the time to get to know one another, we were inseparable,” says Vanessa.
As Vanessa looks back, she says her wedding was magical and close to perfect. The most breathtaking moment of the day, she says, was being surrounded by friends and family that took the time to celebrate their love. Perhaps the one thing that added an emotional hurdle to her day was that her father wasn’t there to walk her down the aisle. This is because Vanessa’s father died of lung cancer.
“I truly felt his presence and managed to stay strong for the entire day.”
Sadly, Vanessa’s was not the only family that was incomplete at the wedding. Chris’s grandfather also died of lung cancer. This shared history inspired the couple to do something a little different for their wedding guests.
Instead of wedding favours, the couple chose to make a donation to the Lung Association.
“It was so important to the both of us to donate the Lung Association, as we both lost someone incredibly dear to us,” Vanessa says, adding “this disease obviously hit home for the both of us and we wanted to donate in memory of my father and Christopher’s grandfather. We think any research that could help even the healthiest person with preventative measures is very important…The sooner we are underway with appropriate research; the sooner we’ll have a solution or a cure.”
But sadly, many people won’t truly appreciate the importance of breath until it’s taken away from them or their loved ones. As Vanessa explains, a donation to The Lung Association should not always be a response to a tragedy.
“I think there was a common misconception that smoking is the leading cause of disease in the lungs and many people won’t donate because of this,” she speaks of the unfortunate stigma. “I think what people are starting to realize now is that lung health research and prevention covers all areas – whether it’s a family member going through chemotherapy or radiation due to lung care, or a child with a very serious and life-threatening asthma.”
Vanessa’s wish for the impact of their donation was plain and simple: they want it to help save lives by putting air back into the lungs of Canadians.