Submitted by Leigh Blander of the Edinburg Center
Doris Breton, who has cerebral palsy and lives in a group home, has always dreamed of being a beautiful bride wearing a fancy gown. Recently, The Edinburg Center in Bedford helped Breton say ‘yes to the dress’ at an Andover bridal shop.
“When she entered the shop and saw all the wedding dresses, Doris’s face lit up and showed absolute delight,” said Emily Rankin, who works at The Edinburg Center, a Bedford-based human services agency serving thousands of children and adults living with disabilities.
The wedding gown outing was part of Edinburg’s Meaningful Whole Life program, where specially trained caregivers – called champions – meet one-on-one with people they serve to determine what they’re most passionate about, and what they’d like to accomplish in life. Then, they work together to make those dreams come true.
For Breton, who is 79, that dream was being a bride and picking out a dress. So, recently, she and Rankin searched for a local bridal shop that was accessible and open to the experience. They found Boston Bridal Atelier in Andover and its employee Emma Rosenfeld.
“It was an incredible experience to meet Doris,” Rosenfeld said. “She’s an amazing woman who has a great sense of style. She chose one of my favorite dresses – a Charlotte gown by Lazaro. It’s blush with lots of sparkles. We laid the dress on her, clipped it on a sweater she was wearing and popped a veil on her. It was a magical moment for everyone involved.
“An article of clothing can make you feel comfortable in your own skin, make you feel like a superhero,” Rosenfeld added.
Breton ordered a veil and tiara to take home. “I love everything to do with brides,” she said using an interpretive device.
“Thanks to the Meaningful Whole Life program, Doris was able to have the special and exciting experience similar to any bride choosing the dress that holds special meaning to them,” Rankin said. “With Meaningful Whole Life, Doris could make her dream come true.”
Since launching the program, Edinburg champions have helped several of the people they serve realize their dreams, including singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at a WooSox game, illustrating a book, and selling hand-made crafts on Instagram.