Bride-to-be Blogger Kristy: Making a Donation For My Dad Instead of Favors

Bride-to-be Blogger Kristy: Making a Donation For My Dad Instead of Favors

Kristy, her dad Barry, and her sister (and matron of honor!) Stacey, at the ALS Express last weekend.

During wedding planning, I’ve constantly run into other brides who are going through the same process, and we occasionally share stories. I’m envious of the ones who start their story with, “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little girl!” because I haven’t. Not that I didn’t think about marriage—but I never dreamt of a wedding until 18 months ago. I’ll chalk this one up to my regimented schedule as a youngin’: basketball, track, soccer, softball, repeat. I don’t know how my parents kept up with our schedules, but we loved it, so they made it happen.

Even though I didn’t spend time fanaticizing about my wedding as a youth, I’ve had ‘flash forwards’ within the span of our dating relationship: Eric and I ending a great evening slow dancing to a David Gray song in the living room—flash forward to us dancing at our wedding. Listening to my best friend share her vows with her husband just a few weeks ago—flash forward to our being at our wedding, and sharing the same words.

And then, over eight years ago, a flash forward different from the rest. Eric and I had just started dating, and I received the devastating news that my dad was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, mostly referred to as ALS or commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. At that moment I flashed forward to my wedding day, too—but I was wondering if my dad would be able to walk me down the aisle or dance with me during our father-daughter dance.

I wasn’t being negative or pessimistic, because the life expectancy of patients diagnosed with this debilitating disease is only a few years. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, eventually leading to patient paralysis. Thankfully, over eight years later, my dad is still very active, refereeing basketball, bike riding, and every now and then, he can even be seen dancing on the dance floor!

The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and the ALS Association of Philadelphia has given us more years and moments with my dad, Barry. We are thankful for fundraising events, especially one in particular that we participated in this past weekend, the ALS Express where our team, Barry’s Bikers, cycled our way through South Jersey to Morey’s Pier in Wildwood. All for one cause: to strike out ALS!

We have a fabulous team of people who know my dad and ride with us every year, and about 600 other riders who support the ride on other teams. Eric and I feel truly blessed to have this support, and as a result will donate towards the ALS Association of Philadelphia in lieu of favors for our wedding, because if it helps make one little girl be able to dance with her father on her wedding day, it’s so worth it.

Did you decide to provide an alternate favor like a donation at your wedding? What were some ways you honored someone special in your life on your wedding day?

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