Cancer Support Community helps make bridal dreams come true

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Our wedding is often considered one of the happiest days of our lives, and for the brides one of the most important aspects of the wedding is-the dress! Whether it is lacey or beaded, silky or fluffy the dress needs to be perfect- and preferably not over budget.

Mary Taverner is getting married in February. "He proposed on island in the middle of a lake that his step dad has a cottage on which he's been to since he as a kid."

She is shopping for her gown at a little botique in Ann Arbor. This is not a normal bridal salon. All these dresses have been worn before and are about half the cost.

"The dress to me, is just a piece of fabric, I just wanted to look good and feel good in it. So no it didn't matter at all that it had been worn before."

The price is not even the best part- all the money for the dresses goes to the cancer support community i- a program that helps cancer patients and their families go through their journey by providing psycho-social support.

Barb Hiltz is the Executive Director of the Cancer Support Community. "I love that weddings are one of the happiest times of your life and the cancer experience is often the opposite of that so I love the idea that this happy day is going to support families that are in a different place."

The idea of a used-gown bridal salon providing funds to fight cancer actually originated in Toronto, Canada. Monique Sluymers was in Canada helping her father through his cancer and thought this idea would work well in Michigan. Monique said, "" I was trying to look for an idea that helped me make sense of his cancer and trying to look for a project that I could do that just made me feel like I was making a difference with what we were going through in our lives."

She started the project in her home and it has grown to over 1000 gowns-all of which were donated by happy brides.

Natalie Burg didn't find out about the project until after she had bought her dress.  Once she learned it helped out families afflicted with cancer in the community she felt she had to donate. "While that was actually the last thing I learned about the Brides Project, it was one of those things that makes you go, yes ok fine, decision made, this is what we're doing."

This is truly a win-win-win scenario. The brides project is paying for about 25% of the cancer support communities operating costs, which allows them to help more people, like Linda Bennett. "I think people can relate to, well this is a way we can do something about it, we can't cure it, we're not going to be able to provide billions of dollars for research, but we can do something that really helps people get through their treatment, their recovery."

If you would like to set up an appointment at the brides project, or if you would like to donate your dress visit

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