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Hung Hong (left) and his wife, Cindy Chow (right) on their wedding day in 2013. (Photo: Renaissance Studios)
Albert Einstein once said, "Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love."
It is, however, responsible for people falling over.
Both types of falling occurred when Cindy Chow first met her husband, Hung Hong, at a Christmas party. Upon arrival, Chow spotted her friend speaking with Hong who was in the midst of telling an animated story.
"As I was approaching my friend, Hung took a step back and elbowed me in the chest, nearly making me fall over," said Chow.
"He apologized profusely, but was too scared to say anything else to me for the rest of the night," she added with a laugh.
Despite the awkward introduction, Chow had clearly made an impression on Hong.
"After a couple of days, he messaged me on Facebook," said Chow. "The rest is, as they say, history."
In 2012, Hong proposed to Chow to which she happily accepted.
Having used Facebook to approach Chow, it is not surprising that Hong used YouTube to upload and share his eventual marriage proposal. The video has over 63,000 views.
Supporting cancer research was 'close to Chow's heart'
When Chow and Hong began planning for their wedding, they approached the Weddings Program at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (The PMCF) to make a donation in lieu of traditional wedding favours.
Wedding favours are customarily given as a token of gratitude to guests from the married couple. They are typically some form of chocolate or small trinket.
The Weddings Program at The PMCF offers couples the chance to hand out donation acknowledgement cards as an alternative.
Chow and Hung's decision to donate was made in honour of Chow's father, who was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer at age 35. He received radiation and chemotherapy treatment at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Chow's father battled his cancer for two years before passing away when Chow was 8-years-old.
"Supporting cancer research is close to my heart because the Princess Margaret supports families who are battling cancer," said Chow.
"My mother had connected with a social worker there and said that the experience was extremely helpful," said Chow. "The social worker connected her to many community resources and discussed how to talk about cancer and grief with her own children.
Couples want 'Princess Margaret' included in their story
The PMCF's Weddings Program has been in existence since 2003.
Mariko Yaguchi-Chow, Senior Coordinator – Community Giving at The PMCF, says that most couples who contact her about making a donation in lieu of traditional favours have a personal connection to The Princess Margaret.
"Sometimes, someone close to them is battling cancer, or sometimes they've lost a loved one to cancer," said Yaguchi-Chow. "Sometimes they were or are patients themselves."
"They all comment about how wonderful the staff is at the Princess Margaret, how wonderful the care is, and how much they want to support the research. Whatever their story, they want to include the Princess Margaret in their wedding," she added.
Happily ever after
In July 2013, Chow and Hung were married and handed out donation acknowledgements cards from The PMCF to their wedding guests.
"My guests were very touched that my husband and I decided to donate to The PMCF in lieu of wedding favours," said Chow. "Many of my guests had been affected by cancer. Some guests had a loved one pass away from lung cancer, and another guest had a mastectomy herself."
Donations such as the one made by Chow and Hong help to support the creation of the new gold standard in Personalized Cancer Medicine at the Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centres in the world.
This year, Chow and her husband will be enjoying their first Valentine's Day together as a newlywed couple by cooking a romantic meal in their new home.
To find out more about the Wedding & Anniversaries Program at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, click here.