After Losing Her Daughter To A Tragic Accident, Mom Tries To Deal With Her Pain By Doing Something Positive Fo
On 11th February 2018
For Betty, it was like she lost her world when her daughter Tammi died in a tragic accident at the young age of 19. However, Betty decided to change her agony into something positive and in her daughter's name she opened a small boutique, "Tammi's Closet." The plan was to run a small store and help the needy students but Betty in her wildest dreams would not have imagined the overwhelming response she would receive and her store would become one of the most renowned names in the country in just a few years.
#1 Remembering Her Daughter As A True Loving Person
Betty Vitale-Neal from Amesbury, Massachusetts lost her daughter Tammi in a tragic accident in 1996. Tammi was only 19 when she died. With a heavy heart, her mum Betty remembers her daughter as a loving person, "She was a true friend and a fantastic, loving daughter. She enjoyed life. She loved doing anything outdoors. She was a hard worker."
#2 She Started "Tammi's Store" To Help Young Girls In Getting Dresses For Their Prom Night
Betty, however, decided to change her agony into something positive and do something for her daughter Tammi, for the purpose Betty started a philanthropic venture, "Tammi's Closet" dedicated to helping young girls like Tammi in preparing beautiful prom dresses for their special day.
#3 The Idea Was To See Young Girls Dressed Up Beautifully Fo Their Prom Night Just Like Her Daughter Tammi Dressed Up For Hers
It all began in 2005 when Betty heard that East Boston High School was searching for prom dresses, at that moment Betty decided she will donate each and every dress of her daughter Tammi which she has kept dearly until then. But the idea of seeing young girls like Tammi getting beautifully dressed up for their prom was more appealing and if she could help those girls in preparing those dresses for them when they couldn't afford to do so themselves, what could be better then this.
#5 It All Began With An Idea In March 2014
Even back in March 2014, Betty was having a discussion with her friends about how expensive prom attires were and there was not even a single shop in town which was selling the dresses at an affordable price or perhaps donating them to the girls and boys who couldn't afford them.
#4 The Store Gave Away 17 Dresses In The First Year
The idea led to the beginning of Tammi's closet, a one of a kind of boutique which helped young girls and boys in getting a dress or a gown for their amazing prom night. Talking about "Tammi's Closet" Betty proudly said, "We put out the word and prom dresses, shoes, and jewellery started pouring in. Cash donations started coming in. And in March 2014, Tammi’s Closet opened its doors. We gave away 17 dresses the first year."
#6 Betty Received An Overwhelming Response
At the inauguration ceremony of her store, Betty says that for the beginning she was hoping to get at most only 50 dresses but was surprised when she received 100 once-worn brand-new prom dresses and evening gowns coming in from as far as Cape Cod.
Betty says the response was overwhelming, every day she will get calls from people telling her they have got this much dresses and they want to give it to her. People would e-mail her from far areas and donated her the dresses. She revealed, "I would be getting phone calls, 'Betty, I’ve got 10 dresses, Betty I’ve got 15 dresses.' They came from all over. I had people emailing me dresses from the Cape. One woman, you would think it was her niece she was working for, she got me so many dresses. It was unreal. We had some put away for next year. Some of them were summer dresses."
#7 Her Dream Was Finally Coming True
Finally, Betty's dream to help needy girls was coming true. She was able to help the girls in getting them dressed up in beautiful dresses and making their prom special for them and that too in a respectable manner.
For Betty, it was like all the forces joined together to help her in starting the venture. In 2015, her store successfully gave away 54 dresses.
#8 Facing A Setback, Which Later Turned Out To Be A Blessing For The Store
In 2016, "Tammi's Closet" faced a major setback when the store got robbed and they had to bear the loss of 15 prom dresses. When the case was reported to the Police, "Tammi's Closet" got more attention from the public thus, resulting in a positive response from the public and more donations started flowing in.
#9 That Year They Helped To Dress Up 11 Young Men In Tuxedos
Talking about the incident, which served to help "Tammi's Closet" Betty said with the help of new donations they were able to help 11 young men get tuxedos for their big day, "Before I knew it, news stations were calling me for an interview about the missing dresses. It was seen all over the US. My phone was blowing up with calls from Florida, California, Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas. People were sending me dresses, checks, shoes, and jewellery. I ended up with over 900 prom dresses. And with the cash donations, Tammi’s Closet helped 11 young men rent tuxedos for prom."
#10 The Store Also Helped One Girl In Claiming "Prom Queen" Title In 2014
Betty's store not only helped young girls in getting dresses for their prom night but also helped girls in winning titles of prom queen, just like Amanda Martin, whose aunt had bought her a beaded royal blue strapless dress that helped her in claiming the prom queen title in 2014.
#11 Amanda Was Surprised At How The Dress Fitted Her So Perfectly
Amanda said that she was not expecting a blue dress for her prom, but once she tried it on she loved every part of it, "I was a little surprised but it was very exciting. It wasn’t the dress I was expecting to get. I wasn’t looking for a blue dress, I actually was looking for a white one, but my aunt picked it out, I ended up loving it when I tried it on. I had to get a few alterations but it fit perfectly."
#12 It's Still Baffling For Betty That She Is Able To Help So Many Young Girls In Her Daughter's Name
Just like Amanda, every girl getting a dress from "Tammi's Closet" has their own story. Hannah Locke, who picked up an ethereal red gown for herself and looked beautiful in it says, "We were three months behind on rent and had no way to afford a prom dress. I saw (Tammi’s Closet) around town and my uncle told me about it. I thought it must be a place for cheap gowns but I still can’t afford $100." Hannah's mom later thanked the store for making it possible for her daughter to attend her prom night.
Betty took to Facebook to voice her thoughts over it and wrote an emotional post, "As you know, a lot of people are having financial problems today. Hannah just turned 17 on April 9. March 4 made it 18 years since my Tammi had died. This girl wasn’t even born then and now because of my daughter, this girl got to go to her prom in my daughter’s name. It’s baffling."