Based on a story originally published online in The Record at:–women-don-wedding-dresses-for-children-s-wish-foundation

Grocery Shopping in a Wedding Gown
Carol Levis

Carol Levis is the Treasurer of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Grand River Métis Council and a long-term volunteer. In addition to donating her time to the local Métis council, she also volunteers with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Marillac Place (a shelter for homeless young mothers), and the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. However, it was a trip to the grocery store dressed as a bride that got her on the front page of The Record and encouraged her to share her story.

On May 26th, close to one hundred women from western Ontario–all dressed as brides–descended upon Niagara Falls to attract public attention and donations to their favourite charity, the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. The “brides” are in teams of 20-25 women–married or unmarried; it doesn’t matter. The only stipulation is that participants must wear a wedding gown, their own, a friend’s, or maybe a second hand dress.

The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada grants sick children an exceptional wish such as a trip to Disney World or a meeting with a favourite celebrity. Each wish can cost as much as $10,000 and the group’s goal this year is $40,000.

Carol admits that she has worn her Value Village wedding gown five times, but never to the altar. However, soon she may need to invest in a “new” dress. Carol has lost 170 pounds over the last year which might necessitate more than a tuck or two in her gown. “I’ve been huge all my life,” she said. “I got tired of being huge.” In March, 2011, Carol underwent bariatric surgery (stomach stapling). She had physically recovered in a month’s time, but says that changing her eating habits is a life-long project.

Amazed by the change in her health, Levis commented, “You know, the energy level is just unbelievable!” This is from a woman with a full-time job and a string of volunteer activities. “It’s the feeling of loving to give back; I enjoy giving back,” she explained. “That’s what God wants me to do.” So with all of this new-found energy, what’s next?

If you would like to donate or become a “bride”, visit the web site below.