Wish Upon a Wedding helps couples facing terminal illness get married

This week's cover story, "In Sickness and In Health," tells the story of Jen Berman, a Denver attorney who lost her fiance, Doug Furcht, to brain cancer last year. Jen had already bought a wedding dress for their upcoming nuptials; after Doug's death, she donated it to Brides for a Cause, an organization that raises money for a nonprofit called Wish Upon a Wedding that helps couples dealing with terminal illness get married.

Jen was pleased to find an organization that not only understands why couples without much time left would want to get married -- but helps make it happen. "Even if you know that your time is fleeting," Jen says, "you still want to spend it together."

We spoke to the founders of each organization about why they do what they do.

See also: Coolest wedding ever? Adventurous couple gets married inside a wind tunnel

California wedding planner Liz Guthrie founded Wish Upon a Wedding in 2009. The idea grew out of a one-time contest she organized to give away a $100,000 dream wedding to a couple facing hardship. As the contest progressed, she says, "I saw the potential that there were more couples than just the one that was going to win this contest."

So she formed a nonprofit that recruits wedding vendors like cake bakers, photographers and florists to provide free weddings and vow renewals for deserving couples. To be eligible, couples must include one partner who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a prognosis of less than five years to live or who has endured a "life-altering circumstance," such as being seriously wounded as a result of military service. The organization grants wishes regardless of sexual orientation.

Continue for more on Wish Upon a Wedding and Brides for a Cause.

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