Meet three women who are dedicated to easing the pain for families at the loss of their baby that is miscarried.
When Diane Mock’s husband retired, she began looking for something for herself to be involved with. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but she knew whatever it was, it had to have lasting meaning. Then, in May, 2015, Diane saw a news clip on her local NBC station that featured Allison Hampton, founder of the Angel Gown Project of California. In the news story, Allison shared how she had seen a Facebook post about a group of ladies who were taking old dresses and turning them into bereavement dresses for babies that have been miscarried. She was so deeply moved by the idea and after inquiring about joining their efforts, it was suggested that she start a movement localized in Northern California. With a little advertisement, it took off like wildfire. Soon, Allison’s living room was filled with wedding dresses from women all over California. Her goal was to have angel gowns available to needy families in every California hospital and funeral home. Diane was immediately touched by Allison’s story and reached out to her to see how she could donate her wedding dress from her first marriage. Allison and Diane bonded after that initial contact and have been close ever since. Instead of having Diane mail her dress, Allison shared with her how to dismantle a wedding gown (remove the crinoline, padding, and zippers) and gave her the patterns to make her own angel gowns. Soon, Diane was enlisting the help of her friends and was asked by Allison to be the leader of an Angel Gown Project chapter in Southern California.
One of the first friends asked to join Diane in this wonderful cause was Linda Flowers-Armour. Linda and Diane had been quilting friends for over 20 years. Linda was also looking for something to do after she retired from 30 years of service with her former employer. She knew she didn’t want to just volunteer somewhere once a week. Diane told Linda about the angel gowns and showed her some of the dresses. At first, Linda wasn’t sure she could sew garments so she helped Diane with the dismantling. It wasn’t long that Linda found she could sew the angel gowns after all.
Kathi Ware, a sewer since she was 4 years old, heard about the Angel Gown Project from a friend of her daughter’s who said she was looking for women who sewed to help out “this organization.” Kathi picked up some dresses from her daughter’s friend and delivered them to Diane’s house. As Kathy says, “Diane and I became instant friends,” and has been working with Diane, Linda, and the rest of the chapter ever since.
In the past year and a half that the three have been involved with the Angel Gown Project of California, Diane, Linda, and Kathi have collected over 250 wedding dresses from around the country to use in creating their angel gowns. “We never turn anyone away,” said Kathi.
Angel gowns are created for both boys and girls in various sizes to fit the gestation of the baby who passed away.
There is even a gown – called a wrap — made for babies that were miscarried between 12 and 16 weeks.
Each completed angel gown is cello wrapped to keep clean and protected before it is used. The chapter collects approximately 30 angel gowns at a time in a variety of sizes and delivers them to various hospitals in a decorative box.
What motivates these women is knowing that they are“Providing a respectful, dignified, sweet” way to help mourning families receive validation for the loss of their miscarried baby Click To Tweet
“All babies deserve to be validated whether they were a live birth and died shortly after birth or a baby born still,” said Kathi.
Would you like to help the Angel Gown Project of California? They always need more seamstresses, donations of wedding gowns, sewing supplies, and funding to help cover shipping costs. They will be accepting wedding dresses at “Walk to Remember,” an event sponsored by Forever Footprints on Saturday, October 22nd at Cal State San Bernardino. To learn more about the organization, how to donate, visit the Angel Gown Project of California website and Facebook Page.
Thank you Diane, Linda, Kathi and the Angel Gown Project of California for making beautiful and appropriate garments at no cost for families in need who have lost babies.