Prom season is a time where high school teenagers go out and purchase beautiful gowns or tuxedos and get all done up, all for the sake of creating a night full of memories they hope to remember for the rest of their lives. For Gretchen Ivers, who is a junior at Thompson High School in Thompson, North Dakota, getting ready for prom has been a little different.
Gretchen decided to forgo the normal endeavors that come with shopping for prom and instead used her ensemble for the big event to promote awareness for a cause that is very important to both her and her family. Her cousin’s infant son was born premature and as a result has been in and out of the hospital since his birth a year and a half ago. The baby, Braxton, has not had it easy, but his family has been fortunate enough to use the Ronald McDonald house in Rochester, Minnesota more than once to be close to him during his hospital stays. Gretchen took it upon herself to come up with a plan in hopes of making others aware of all that the Ronald McDonald houses are about. She took pop tabs from aluminum pop cans and worked to make herself a dress. Not just any dress though; she made her very own prom dress. Gretchen says it took 9,121 pop tabs for the dress itself and another four hundred for her for accessories. She spent more than thirty hours completing the dress and the accompanying accessories. At first, the dress was scratchy and rather uncomfortable, so he added a fabric liner underneath it and says it is actually pretty comfortable to wear now. Her plan is to wear the dress to prom and then donate the pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald house. She hopes her creation helps to spread awareness and show the kind of impact that something as simple as donating any pop tabs can help to do for people in need. Every single donated pop tab can help to make a difference for many families who rely on these places to stay during difficult family trials.