Michelle Marxen had planned, and paid for, her dream wedding in Fargo, North Dakota, only to hear her fiancé tell her, on the day the wedding invitations were to be mailed, that he wanted to call the whole thing off. “He didn’t want to marry me. He said he didn’t love me anymore,” Marxen told WDAY news.
Then Marxen decided to turn a huge catastrophe into something joyous by donating her wedding day festivities to Creative Care for Reaching Independence (CCRI). Located in nearby Morehead, Minnesota, CCRI seeks to “empower people with disabilities” by helping them to live as independently as possible in supported living arrangements.
After Marxen’s former fiancé got very cold feet, she initially sought to cancel arrangements for “a planned night of fabulous flowers, music from Tripwire, a dream gown, the big ballroom at the Ramada, photographers and limos.” After vendors said she couldn’t cancel, Marxen and her family decided to donate it all to CCRI.
“I was speechless. I could not believe it. I called the next day to make sure it was for real,” as Jody Hudson of CCRI says. The plan is to hold a full-fledged Halloween party for CCRI’s clients on what would have been Marxen’s wedding day, October 19.
“What was supposed to be my special day will now be their special day,” Marxen says.
It’s quite a gift, recalling a similar act of generosity when the parents of an Atlanta bridge turned her cancelled wedding into a celebration for 200 homeless people.
Too often, individuals with disabilities and in particular adults with disabilities are not the first people who others think of helping. Marxen’s doing so is simply commendable and certainly far more good-spirited than the attitude of the vendors who, despite her huge change in circumstances, refused to back out of contracts.
In view of how tight funding can be for services for individuals with disabilities, you wish there could have been some way for Marxen’s her gift to be used in other ways and providing for the day-to-day needs of residents of supported living arrangements. A grand party in a ballroom might sound divine to many but, for some individuals with disabilities, it might be overwhelming to be in such a large and unfamiliar space with bright lights, unusual smells and food and more.
Marxen’s making the best of what some would call a disaster and a tragedy is precisely what families who care for individuals with disabilities very often find ourselves doing, looking a difficult situation right in the face and and turning it into something hopeful, with a happy ending.
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