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Newlyweds ask wedding guests to help critically ill toddler in lieu of gifts

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MARYVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Maryville, Illinois newlyweds are making a big difference in the life of a critically ill little girl from Honduras named Genesis by raising funds for her lifesaving heart surgery, but it's not a traditional fundraiser.

India and Eric Johnson took a cruise to the Bahamas and were married August 9 on a white, sandy beach. In lieu of wedding gifts, the couple has asked friends and family to donate money to World Pediatric Project (WPP), a local non-profit that brings critically ill children to St. Louis from developing countries in the Caribbean and Central America for much needed surgery.

Through WPP, the Johnsons decided to sponsor 20-month old Genesis. They set up an online account on CrowdRise under 'Eric and India's Charity Wedding Registry' for guests to donate money. More than $8,000 has been raised so far.

Doctors at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital are donating their time and skills to help save the toddler's life. The donated funds will be used to cover Genesis's medical treatments, translation services and other support. She is scheduled to undergo surgery in two weeks.