Bombala’s Sarah McVeigh is the managing director of Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies Incorporated.
Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies is a nationwide charity that transforms wedding and formal attire into “Angel Gowns” for babies from 13 weeks gestation to six months of age who have died.
Ms McVeigh started the charity in March 2014 after seeing a video shared on Facebook by a lady in the USA.
“After suffering the loss through early miscarriage I lost angel babies of my own, and after I saw the Facebook video I contacted the woman and asked her permission to start the charity here in Australia and she happily agreed and sent me the patterns,” Ms McVeigh said.
“All of my three babies were premature with both my eldest and youngest daughters born at 34.5 weeks and my son born at 27 weeks gestation.
“We spent a long time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where babies passed away around us, as frequently as daily sometimes.
“So when I heard of Angel Gowns I thought it was something Australia needed,” she said.
Ms McVeigh started up a Facebook page and almost straight away started receiving “Likes”, with dresses, supplies and donations coming in.
She uploaded progress photos on a daily basis and “it just became bigger and bigger”.
“I started getting offers from ladies all around the country to help sew and quickly realised I needed help.
“We now have more than 200 volunteers Australia-wide doing a variety of jobs,” Ms McVeigh said.
The organisation makes about 10 to 50 angel gowns from each donated wedding dress and donates around 3000 angel gowns a year.
“At this point in time we have stopped collection of dresses until our volunteers have gotten on top of the donations already collected,” Ms McVeigh said.
Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies donates its packages to services that have been approved by the organisation.
“Our biggest expense is postage bags that are quite often donated by the public. If they’re not, sadly many of our volunteers fund this expense themselves and it does get quite hard,” Ms McVeigh said.
“We are desperately in need of postage donations, prepaid satchels and stamps.”
Although the majority of seamstresses for Angel Gowns are spread Australia-wide, Ms McVeigh is assisted in Bombala by Andrea Mudge.
- Visit www.angelgowns.org.au, or www.facebook.com/angelgownsforaustralianbabies.