Most save their wedding dress for the memories but two central New York women are making a difference with theirs. Cassidy Thornton of Vernon Center donated her dress to Angel Gowns, an organization that creates something beautiful for babies who don't make it home from the hospital to be buried in.

Cassidy knew she wanted to help after her cousin Kody passed away in 2015 from a rare heart defect and received a special outfit to be buried in. "It’s always been something very special to my heart and I decided once I got married I wanted to donate."

But Cassidy wasn't alone. Her grandmother Cheryl Miller wanted to help too. "I cried when she told me what she was doing and asked if mine could be sent with hers," says Cheryl. "She is so special to do this and it is a great memory for her and I."

Cheryl Miller/Cassidy Thornton

Although Cassidy doesn't like thinking about the cause, she knows it makes a difference. "No one wants to think about losing children but just knowing wedding dresses just sit in a closet, it makes me feel good to do something so special to my heart."

Cassidy still has a memory of her wedding. She saved a piece of her dress to include in her wedding scrapbook.

Cassidy Thornton

Angel Gowns of WNY was founded by Missy Ray in 2014 and the non-profit organization created over 1200 Angel Gowns in the first year. There are 220 volunteers in 21 states accepting donations of new/used wedding, prom, bridesmaid, flower girl, communion and other special occassion dress. "All Angel Gowns are donated to Neonatal Intensive Care Units within hospitals to offer the bereaved parents this gift, made with love, for their child's final burial."

One father said it best when he told Angel Gowns, "this is the only wedding dress my daughter will ever wear.”

Angel Gowns has become so popular it's hard to find seamstresses willing to take donations. There's 450 dress waiting to be made into little gowns and since it's all volunteers, a post on Angel Gowns of WNY Facebook page says they aren't accepting anymore until further notice.

You can support this wonderful program with donations or volunteer to be a seamstress at You can also send a message to Cassidy at "Anyone can email me with questions and I can help them get in touch with someone to donate their dress."

Cassidy, Cheryl and everyone associated with Angel Gowns are our 'Hometown Heroes.' If you know someone who needs to be recognized for their random act of kindness, email