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Brides help cancer patients’ dreams come true

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After many twists and turns in front of the mirror, Stacia Young finally said yes to the wedding dress.

She took the gown to the sales clerk and handed her $400, spending less than half of what she would have paid at a bridal boutique where she recently browsed. More important to Young was that the entire amount of her purchase will fund a wish-granting program for people with Stage 4 breast cancer — a disease her aunt survived. “Aunt Jacqueline will be so proud,” she whispered to her mother with tears in her eyes.

Young was one of nearly 300 people who perused the racks in Dupont Circle Hotel’s two ballrooms during a recent charity event organized by Making Memories, a breast cancer foundation that travels the country selling wedding gowns and accessories at discounted prices.

The District was the 10th and highest grossing stop along the 35-city tour. Through donations and dress sales, the foundation raised $38,000, which will support the nearly 90 wishes the foundation grants to breast cancer patients each year. The foundation has paid for trips to Disney World, Hawaii and family reunions. One patient received her wish to record an album.

A busy tour schedule and limited staff keep the foundation from pursuing corporate charitable dollars so it relies solely on hotels and other businesses to allow the organization to set up shop in their facilities for free. For the Dupont Circle Hotel, “it was a no-brainer,” said Scott Dawson, the hotel’s general manager. “It was a classy, top-quality, stylish affair.”

The hotel donated $20,000 worth of in-kind services to the foundation by providing use of guest rooms, two ballrooms and catering services. The hotel makes similar arrangements with other charities about five times a year. Dawson said he gives priority to local nonprofit groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and Ross Elementary School in Northwest Washington.

Brittney Wolf, spokeswoman for Making Memories, said the event benefits the hotels by giving their facilities exposure to a roomful of brides-to-be who also may be looking for a reception venue.

“We loved that [the hotel] has a clean, modern style,” said Young, standing in the room where her wedding will take place next May.

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