A groom has channelled the heartbreak of a broken engagement into a force for good by transforming his wedding reception into a charity fundraiser.

WPXI reported that Pittsburgh man Phil Laboon was due to get married on Sunday but the wedding was suddenly called off, for reasons he choose not to disclose.

Mr Laboon said the reception was prepaid and though he was heartbroken, he didn't want to cancel the event and hoped to help people somehow.

"I decided instead of just letting it go to waste at the last minute ... we just tried to come up with an idea real quick."

Mr Laboon sold $75 tickets to the reception and donated 100 per cent of the proceeds to Surgicorps International, a nonprofit organisation of doctors who provide free surgery to children in developing countries.

Surgicorps founder Jack Demos told WXPI he was stunned when he heard of the plan.

“I give him all the credit in the world for taking a less-than-ideal situation and making it into a potential circumstance where he can really give back or say, ‘Look, I'm down, but I'm not out, and I'm going to use this opportunity to help those who have a lot worse circumstances than I have,' ” he said.

The event became a hit on social media after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto posted about the event on Facebook and Twitter.

“Our goal was to sell 100 tickets at $75 each. Now we’re getting tens of thousands of likes and shares and emails and messages. It’s overwhelming," Laboon told WXPI.

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