Ask any of my friends or family to describe me and without pause they would all say that I am a planner. I plan meals for a full week in advance, activities on my calendar are typically color coded, my notebooks are organized with to do lists and my children’s schedules are handled with precision. My work life is very similar to my home life – in an OCD fashion. There is always “a plan” for everything.
Imagine my surprise when a simple story about our Angel Gown Program, aired on WFAA Channel 8 in the DFW metroplex one Friday night in March, went viral. Not only across the United States and Canada, but across the world! There was “no plan” for this! And yet, here we are almost 5 months later, and with the help of generous donors and wonderful volunteers we are now running the largest Angel Gown Program in the United States and Canada. With over 500 volunteer seamstresses across the United States we are providing families with beautiful garments in which to clothe their precious babies when they do not survive. We are also continuing to provide shipments, to hospitals across the US, with garments to keep in stock so that the families they serve have quick access to beautifully made Angel Gown garments. Those garments honor these precious lives. With a warehouse storing wedding gowns ready to go to seamstresses, and Angel Gown garments being packaged daily for delivery to those families who are grieving; we are meeting the needs of bereaved families – one Angel Gown garment at a time.
We are honored to be a part of the national and international conversation that is starting to happen regarding the importance of acknowledging the loss a family feels when their baby dies. Whether a family loses a child through miscarriage, during delivery or after delivery each loss matters and affects a family in a profound way. It is our goal to support families as they begin their grief journey and to acknowledge what they are experiencing by providing them support and the opportunity to talk about what is happening. Our organization believes that every life matters and should be honored – no matter how brief that life may be.
We are pleased to launch NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown logo today. We currently have two chapter programs operating outside of the Fort Worth, Texas area. We have our first US Chapter operating in Kansas City and our first International Chapter operating in Australia. We are proud of our chapters and are looking forward to continuing to set up additional chapters within the US in the coming months.
I am asked the following question on a regular basis: “If you had known what would happen when the Angel Gown story aired in March would you have agreed to doing the interview and story?” While I have days that I wonder what I used to do with all of my time before the Angel Gown Program went viral, I honestly would not change a thing. The story in March wasn’t really a story about us. It was a story about countless families, spanning all generations and countless decades, who have experienced the unimaginable loss of a baby. A tragic and unbearable loss…but there is hope. We are honored to help provide a little piece of hope in the midst of these very dark days. Hope in knowing that someone cares and that grieving families are not alone. Complete strangers joining together to honor the life of a lost baby. A priceless gift in the form of a simple Angel Gown garment provided by a donating bride, a volunteer seamstress and NICU Helping Hands.
No I wouldn’t change a thing.