On April 15-17 the Brides Against Breast Cancer national tour will come to Chicago, and volunteers are needed to help with this fundraiser. Donated gowns that are worth as much as $20,000 will sell at the Wyndham Chicago at deeply discounted prices to benefit Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Assisting at the event or helping out with the group’s other programs are significant volunteer Chicago opportunities.
Their Mission is Granting Wishes
The national tour is a charity event that takes place in cities throughout the United States each year. Brides-to-be can choose from a great selection of designer and custom wedding gowns and support a worthy cause at the same time. The mission of Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation is, “To grant wishes and memory-making events for metastatic breast cancer patients while continuing to support, educate and increase resource awareness.”
Breast cancer strikes woman — and men — of all ages and the number of people who have the disease is increasing. According to statistics on the group’s website, “It is estimated that this year alone over 200,000 women and nearly 1,200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, breast cancer will take the lives of almost 40,000 people this year in the United States and over 300,000 worldwide.”
Volunteer at Brides Against Breast Cancer Event
Among the volunteer Chicago opportunities needed for this upcoming event is assistance with registering brides as they arrive, greeting brides as they enter the sales area, and restocking sales racks with gowns from the fitting room. Volunteers are also needed to assist brides as they try on the dresses.
Oprah Finds an Angel
The Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, which was the subject of a feature article in Bride Magazine, was created in the late 1990s by Fran Hansen, who now serves as its Executive Director. Her daughter, Anna Nelson, is co-founder and Wish Director. After catching the attention of Oprah Winfrey and appearing on her show, Hansen became one of Oprah’s Angels and soon after received hundreds of wedding gowns from the talk show host. Nelson has been able to grant wishes to more than 1,000 patients with breast cancer.
Quilters Against Breast Cancer
The generosity of women from coast to coast, as well as that of Oprah, allowed a spin-off fundraiser to be established. Quilters Against Breast Cancer asks volunteers to make quilts from wedding gowns. This is a volunteer Chicago opportunity for those with a flair for sewing and a group of friends with the same skill. After ordering and receiving the gowns from the group, volunteer quilters complete and send their work to the company at the Portland, Oregon, address. Some quilts are displayed during the tours; others are offered for sale at the various stops along the tour route.
More Gowns, More Wishes Granted
The media attention received by the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation for its Brides Against Breast Cancer national tour and sale, along with other programs, has resulted in more donations, with an inventory of more than 22,000 gowns in the Portland warehouse. At least three new branches opened within the past ten years, including one in Texas, another in North Carolina, and one in Washington state that specializes in antique bridal gowns.
The group offers volunteers many ways to get involved. Whether donating time as a volunteer, donating a gown, helping at the gown sale event, or forming a quilting circle for Quilters Against Breast Cancer, anyone committed to helping women and men diagnosed with breast cancer can make a significant contribution.
photo credit: by Gwilmore