© Scott Anderson
Barbie Simons shows off the intricate design of one of the Angel Gowns she has sewn in support of the Saskatchewan Angel Dress initiative which transforms old wedding dresses into gowns and wraps for babies who do not make it home from the hospital.
A heart wrenching story of loss continues to inspire an expanding network of talented volunteers in creating Angel Gowns for babies that have passed away.
Originally started in March by Becky Panter from Oxbow, over the past five months a group of a handful of volunteers has expanded to thousands of individuals who are contributing to the Angel Gowns project. Panter started the non-profit idea back in March, and the Saskatchewan Angel Dresses Facebook page now boasts just shy of 3,000 members.
Angel Gowns are made utilizing material from old wedding dresses, grad and bridesmaids dresses and transformed into gowns and wraps for babies who do not make it home from the hospital.
In the Southwest, there are contact individuals in Herbert, Lafleche, Leader, Maple Creek, and Swift Current listed on the group's Facebook page.
Barbie Simons and her daughter Cindy Simons are both enthusiastically involved in making Angel Gowns, acquiring over 20 wedding dresses through the Trading Post.
Barbie Simons notes she has already made 25 Angel Gowns, and she has special motivation for volunteering. She is completing the work as a tribute to her friend Pearl Stark from Neidpath after acquiring her sewing machine following her passing. She admits her friend will always be in her heart, and that gives her extra motivation to continue the work.
The Angle Dresses are donated to Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the province, along with being supplied to hospitals and funeral homes.
The initiative is also spreading across Canada, with similar groups already being established in Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia and Ontario in support of grieving parents and their precious angel babies.
The Saskatchewan Angel Dresses Facebook page lists that an Angel Gown sewing class has been confirmed for Swift Current on Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at O.M. Irwin School.