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Offers to help Lincolnton, Ga., couple with wedding pour in

Young couple gets wedding donations

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Offers are pouring in from complete strangers to help Eli and Cheryl Clark hold the wedding ceremony they never had.

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Cheryl Clark watches as her husband, Eli, picks up a camouflage hat, courtesy of Simon's Formal Wear. Flowers and cupcakes have been donated for their wedding.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Cheryl Clark watches as her husband, Eli, picks up a camouflage hat, courtesy of Simon's Formal Wear. Flowers and cupcakes have been donated for their wedding.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said family friend and organizer Michele Mongrue after the Lincolnton, Ga., couple’s story appeared in The Augusta Chronicle on Aug. 30. “It’s just overwhelming, from so many that have offered just to come help, to say how touched they were by the article.”

Eli and Cheryl Clark, both 25, were married five years ago in a courthouse ceremony in Lincolnton and always talked about having a real ceremony to renew their vows.

About three years ago, Eli began having seizures and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In the past year, the tumor has begun to grow more aggressively and the seizures have become more frequent.

The couple’s finances have been devastated as they shuffle back and forth between Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and Duke University for scans and treatment.

As Eli has gotten sicker, the idea of holding the ceremony with family and friends – and finally having wedding photos and video to cherish – became more urgent.

Mongrue now plans to hold it Saturday in her backyard.

The couple’s story “just grabbed me,” said Carroll Kelly, of CareSouth Hospice. It took her back to when her husband was killed in a car accident in 1987.

“After that happened, and even now – 25 years later – I go back and look at the pictures and those are the tangible reminders of that time,” she said.

She and colleagues at CareSouth got to work contacting friends at local businesses and soon Simon’s Formal Wear was on board with donating tuxedos for Eli, his father and father-in-law, Kelly said.

“They’re very appreciative,” Lan Barrett, the operating manager for Simon’s, said of the couple after fitting Eli for his tuxedo Friday.

Deep Roots Floral and Wedding Designs is donating a bouquet and corsages, and CareSouth employees are chipping in to provide the tent, Kelly said. Colleagues are volunteering to work as servers during the ceremony, she said.

“Everybody just enthusiastically grabbed this,” Kelly said.

People have been coming out of nowhere to provide services, Mongrue said.

“This is an honor,” said the Rev. Rudy Brostrom, of Gazebo Weddings in North Augusta, who offered to perform the service for free. “We felt they needed somebody and we wanted to do that for them.”

Others have offered cupcakes and one woman offered to make 100 cakepops or gourmet cookies on a stick as favors for the guests.

“Isn’t that sweet?” Mon­grue said. “That takes a long time to do that.”

Another man, who is retired military, said he is bringing 30 pounds of barbecue.

“He did not even ask me,” Mongrue said, laughing. “He sort of did not give me an option.”

Photographers have stepped forward to augment the photographer covering the event. Others are offering things from their own wedding or their wedding businesses, she said.

To get so much help from strangers, “it’s just overwhelming,” Mongrue said.


If you would like to contribute to Eli and Cheryl Clark’s wedding, call Michele Mongrue at (706) 359-1671.

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geecheeriverman 09/08/13 - 06:08 am
Wonderful Story

This is the America that I grew up in. This is what America could always be if people would live by the Golden Rule. There are still some Good people left to keep us reminded of how great it is to live in the United States Of America. With all the scars and wrinkles , we still live in the Greatest Country on Earth. God Bless the USA and my prayers for the Clarkes.

nocnoc 09/08/13 - 08:32 am
I wish him and her the best possible outcome.

I am constantly hearing about the success of the University Hospital Gamma Knife with Brian Tumors, but I did not note the hospital listed in the article?

Is it too expensive or not a viable option?
If it is $$$$, here is a cause I would donate to help.

rmwhitley 09/08/13 - 08:51 am
God bless them

and their future grandchildren.

carol404 09/08/13 - 10:41 am
Love this couple!

This is my nephew, and I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming response to their story. They are a wonderful couple and love each other so much. Cheryl is a very strong lady , I really admire and love her! I know they are going to have a wonderful wedding Saturday, thanks to all the people that have came forward to help. Thanks everyone!

Sweet son
Sweet son 09/08/13 - 01:07 pm
Pray for both Eli and Cheryl to have

strength as they begin anew their married life and travel the rough road that cancer offers!!

September is Ovarian Cancer awareness month!

Ladies, know the symptoms!

itsanotherday1 09/08/13 - 06:00 pm

Can't say about University, but Duke is one of the top medical centers in the country for treating cancer, especially brain related.

Tom Corwin
Tom Corwin 09/09/13 - 01:21 pm
Noc Noc

The Gamma Knife is actually at Georgia Regents University Cancer Center, which is where Eli is being treated in addition to treatment at Duke. Thanks for your interest in the story.

Lkn4Ans 09/15/13 - 08:39 pm
I read about this couple when

I read about this couple when this article by you, Tom, was first published. Thank you for sharing with your readers what a true love story looks...and
Today, I viewed the slideshow of their vow renewal ceremony. What a beautiful bride Cheryl was; and Eli was quite the handsome groom. Yes, I got a lump in my throat and had to fight back the tears that were threatening to flow.
I will be keeping these two precious souls in my prayers in the coming months and believe, that with faith all things truly are possible.

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