(THOMPSON, ND) Valley News Live There's a woman, who lives in the Red River Valley, who's carrying heart and ability to sew, is turning old wedding gowns into heavenly gifts.
Judy Adams, learned to sew, when she was a young girl growing up on the family farm near Thompson, North Dakota. As an adult, she worked as a seamstress.
A handful of years ago, after her husband passed away, Judy looked for something to keep her busy...that something would be angel gowns. Judy says, "There's no two alike, I make sure of that." Judy takes donated wedding dresses, cuts them up and transforms them into one of a kind gowns, that can be used to clothe newborns, whose lives end way too soon.
Judy says, "Some days are easy, some days I sit there and cry...you know you start to think about where they are going, the families that are grieving."
Judy has everything set up in her home in Thompson. She spend about 40 hours a week carefully crafting the gowns. She uses, what she calls her model dollars to make sure the gowns look just right, and then, she takes them to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. Judy says that "Years ago, all they did was wrap those babies in a little white blanket, so you know, this is much more than a little white blanket."
The neonatal intensive care unit at Altru is a place, where babies get around the clock care from a team of experts. Depending on their health condition, the babies can be out of there within 24 hours, after being born. Others may stay days or weeks or months and some, unfortunately, don't survive.
Rachel Dauksavage is the Altru Bereavement Coordinator. She showed us just a small sampling of the angel gown donations that they have received from Judy. They were a beautiful selection of gowns. Last year, close to a dozen angel gowns were needed for infant burials. Dauksavage says "The families, who are able to receive these gowns, that obviously been made with such care that they can feel that that love has been passed on."
Judy Adams says she's never met with parents of a newborn, that's been given one of her angel gowns and doesn't feel that's necessary. Her only goal is that the gowns provide them some comfort. Judy says, "The families don't always have time to stop and think about if a child passes away and they are going to have a funeral and a burial, what do they do? Dauksavage says "It's just heartwarming to know we have such a supportive community and there are people, who are thinking of these families and are sending them warm thoughts."
Judy says she has nearly 30 dresses right now, adding that each dress provides enough material for about 6 angel gowns. She says there's no need for any dresses at this time. The same thing holds true for Altru Hospital, which says it has more than enough angel gowns on hand currently. They hope that Judy's willingness to give, is shared by others, in other ways.
If you have an idea for a story about someone making a difference in the valley, contact Mike Morken at firstname.lastname@example.org or send him a message to Valley News Live's Facebook page.