SEWICKLEY, Pa .– Deb Rego has a lot of donated wedding dresses in her basement. Everyone has special memories sewn into them.
But the Sewickley woman reinvents them. Every stitch she makes is a labor of love.
“Five years ago my grandson, Max, passed away. He was 33 weeks old in utero, ”Rego said. “It was very devastating and I decided I had to do something to heal.”
Deb had just retired after teaching home economics in Pittsburgh public schools.
The lifelong seamstress came up with the idea of taking donated wedding dresses and turning them into angel dresses. Deb carefully removes the beads and stitches from the dresses, then sews them into little baby girl dresses and what she calls baby boy bags.
They are given to babies who die before returning from the hospital.
“When you lose a baby and come home and look at the empty car seat, sometimes you just need something to take home,” Deb said.
At West Penn Hospital, one of the places where Deb has donated angel robes, families can either dress their baby in the robe or take her with them.
“It’s so important because these gowns are precious treasures,” said nurse Sandra Stanley, who is part of the AngelHeart perinatal bereavement team at AHN West Penn Hospital. “This is what they will keep all their lives to remember and honor their baby.”
Deb made 100 of them and donated them to hospitals in the area and beyond and they are all unique.
“It helped me,” she said, as she does it alongside her grandson, Max. This is Max’s mission. “Maybe that was her goal in life,” Deb said.
If you would like to donate to Deb’s project, which she aptly named Max’s Mission, you can watch it HERE.
October is Child Loss Awareness Month.