Yesterday, I had the most amazing experience: I donated my wedding dress to the NICU Helping Hands Foundation at Baylor All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth. Here I am pictured with Natalie, the project coordinator and mother to twins born premature.
Natalie has personal experience in this NICU unit. Four years ago, she delivered micro-preemie twins, a boy and a girl. Her babies were born at 24 weeks and weighed just one pound each. Now, they are healthy and driving their older sister bonkers! Unfortunately, though, not every baby leaves the hospital and lives in their earthly home. To support grieving families after the death of an infant, NICU Helping Hands provides, without cost or obligation, Angel Gowns made from donated wedding dresses. One wedding dress can provide as many as 40 infant gowns, depending on the amount of fabric available. Each gown is handcrafted and sewn by a volunteer seamstress and detailing is as unique as the precious child wearing it. No two gowns are exactly alike and there are outfits for boys and girls.
Next week, on March 31, Husband and I will celebrate our seventh anniversary. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our marriage and abundant blessings than to donate to this worthy cause. The donation process was incredibly simple. Even though my dress was professionally cleaned and stored in a protective box seven years ago, this is not a requirement. My dress — a plain, white, strapless, A-line from David’s Bridal with a mini-jacket and modest neckline — has gone from a boxed memento to a sacred gift for grieving parents.
As the parent of a happy, healthy, and hefty three-month-old son, I cannot fathom the grief experienced by parents who have lost their child. When I heard of the Angel Gowns project, my heart-strings were tugged and I knew I had to participate. Since becoming pregnant last spring and Kamden’s birth in December, I’ve had to cancel a third trip to Haiti and a few local mission trips, but donating my wedding dress was super simple and something I could accomplish on a random Thursday. I even ate lunch with Husband and Kamden before making the donation. What’s better than that?
If you are interested in donating your wedding dress (or any light-colored formal gown, including bridesmaid dresses) to the Angel Gowns project, visit the NICU Helping Hands website. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. This is NOT limited to the Dallas and Fort Worth area; Angel Gowns are distributed nationwide. Donations are welcome at anytime and seamstresses are always needed. NICU Helping Hands will provide any hospital with Angel Gowns. As a bonus, folks who donate a dress and wish to keep a portion of it will receive a keepsake sash upon request.