Angel Dresses movement swiftly spread across North America and we here in Manitoba are honoured that our founder and mentor Becky Panter brought the movement here.
Becky’s inspirational story ….
My beautiful little boy, Christopher James, was born sleeping, with perfect toes, perfect fingers, looking like his big brother. He was born on Feb 28, 2014, a moment that changed my life forever.
I wrapped my little Christopher in a doll blanket, fleece made by me from scraps of a blanket I made my girls, with bright owls on it and I held him and cried. Nothing else I could do, but cry. I was broken, I had three healthy beautiful kids, but was holding my youngest son in my hands, knowing I'll never see his amazing face, not knowing if his eyes will be blue like mine or chocolate brown like his dad's.
Around the middle of March, I looked for a seamstress to sew my wedding gowns, to give to the Regina General Hospital NICU in memory of Christopher. I got two seamstresses and twenty dresses from that. Less than a month later in Saskatchewan, I had over 200 dresses and twenty seamstresses and the beginnings of Saskatchewan Angel Dresses.
Other Canadian provinces began to show interest so I helped get them going and finding seamstresses and dresses.
An amazing woman and inspiration to us all. Thank you Becky!
In around late May early June 2014 Manitoba Angel Dresses started up with a few women in Brandon area led by Viv Bonhune, shortly after Janelle Wood was added and spread the project throughout the province.
Hundreds of women offered their wedding gowns from as far north as Thompson and The Pas. Seamstresses were harder to find and those that came on board soon became disenchanted with all the gowns and nowhere for these lovely Angel items to go. You see in all the rush to make the Angel Items Hospitals and funeral homes were not actively pursued to utilize the items. People left, and everything stalled in 2016.
Fast forward to January 2018, following the seasonal festivities; I, Diane Monkman, began looking at the program again and thought this is very special and it should be given a chance to thrive so I contacted Becky and with Becky’s assistance soon got things rolling again. I found two other woman who were still working at making this project a go, Joan Demetrioff and Doreen Boyd. We banded together over this common goal to give this project new life. The three of us soon began scouring the Facebook group page for mention of who had a stash of gowns, who had Angel items. In going through these posts we connected with many others who still had passion for this cause.
As we scoured and talked, ideas formulated to get more organized. A mission statement was written and a Volunteer Agreement developed. This led to the development of two new divisions, Public Relations and Volunteers. Our little group has grown to a five person organization, and we have garnered large donations which is helping us to move from grassroots to the Not for Profit status.
At Manitoba Angel Dresses we lovingly create beautiful handcrafted items which we gift to grieving families at no cost to the family.
This is not all we do, we are creating a community of talented individuals donating their talent and time to accomplish a common vision.
These people are:
The list is long and encompasses many.
Donated Creation of Website / Hosting
Donated our pictures of our dresses
Forest Computers donated our Email
Donated storage bags for Angel items