Looking for the perfect wedding dress can evoke dozens of feelings — excitement, dread, frustration. But for area brides, it can soon also mean making a small difference for the hundreds of women battling breast cancer throughout the state.
Brides Against Breast Cancer, a nonprofit that raises money for programs supporting cancer patients and their families, will make a stop in Bangor June 1. The pop-up bridal boutique-style event will feature local wedding vendors and hundreds of gowns, all deeply discounted. Money raised will help fund breast cancer support programs local women can access from home.
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, breast cancer is the most common cancer for women worldwide. In Maine, 1,105 women reported having breast cancer between 2008 and 2010, according to the 2013 Maine Annual Cancer Report, with the highest concentration among women between the ages of 75 and 79. It is estimated more than 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer occurred among women in 2012.
Amy Paulishak, senior vice president of Brides Against Breast Cancer, said this is the group’s first time in Maine for its tour of 155 cities. Bangor was chosen because of increased interest from local brides who would have traveled hours to attend shows, she said.
Dress styles range from princess ballgowns to rhinestone-studded sheaths. Organizers try to keep style and budget preferences of brides in mind for the areas they visit. In Florida, for example, Paulishak said more brides look for beach-style dresses, whereas in Maine that’s probably not the case.
The average dress costs $600; gowns range from $99 to the most expensive — a $4,000 designer gown that retails for $21,000. Dresses are available in sizes 4-18. More than half the dresses are new, donated by designers and high-end bridal boutiques around the country.
According to the organization’s website, Brides Against Breast Cancer is set to raise nearly $2 million this year. Paulishak explained most of that money will go toward providing support and advice for women and their families, which can be accessed from the privacy of their homes.
“We support breast cancer research, of course, but what we really do is fund programs for people living with cancer,” she said, adding the organization’s many online programs help patients cope with the psycho-social aspects of cancer.
Examples include pilates or yoga classes, nutritional advice and an online “ask the doctor” program, in which patients can get questions answered without needing to make an appointment with their primary care provider.
The Bangor event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m June 1 at the Four Points by Sheraton at the Bangor Airport. Attendees can choose between a $20-$25 VIP reception — which includes early admission, entertainment and giveaways — or $5-$7 general admission. The VIP reception will run until 1 p.m. Tickets at the lower price are available before the event and can be purchased online at bridesagainstbreastcancer.com.
Have a wedding dress in the closet you don’t know what to do with? Visit the organization’s website for information about receiving a tax deduction for making a donation.