For months, a brand new wedding dress had been sitting in Hannah Pratt’s closet. The Winnipeg woman’s marriage, scheduled for March, had been cancelled. But it wasn’t until last week that Pratt finally decided what she was going to do with the gown, going on Kijiji, an online classified advertising site, to offer it “FREE to deserving bride.”

“I had something I could give somebody else who needed it,” Pratt told CTV News Channel from Winnipeg on Monday. “I didn’t have a use for it and I knew that the benefit and the rewarding feeling that I would get from giving it to somebody else would be worth more than any cost I could have recouped had I tried to sell it.”

The ivory-coloured Tara Keely dress, Pratt said, cost $1,300. Approximately 50 people responded to her ad. On Monday, a week after the ad was posted, she handed the gown to Jasmine Doolan in the CTV Winnipeg studio.

“It was amazing,” Doolan said of being chosen. “I couldn’t believe it. I cried. I cried all weekend. I was so excited to find out.”

Doolan had sent Pratt a note detailing her story: one that begins with being the victim of a violent sexual assault as a teenager before descending into 11 years of drug abuse to try and numb her pain.

“It wasn’t until February 2016 when I finally decided it was time to get sober,” Doolan said. “After I got sober, exactly one week after, I found out I was pregnant. And I always told myself if I was ever going to get pregnant, if I ever was going to bring a child into this world, I would never, ever use drugs again -- and I meant it. So fast forward to today, and I’m currently 19 months sober, I’m engaged to the love of my life, and we have a beautiful 10-month-old baby girl who’s so happy and healthy.”

Pratt says that she was touched by Doolan’s candour.

“I knew from the way that she wrote her story so honestly and the fact that she trusted me with her story,” Pratt said. “We had a connection based on what she had gone through and what I’m passionate about, which is violence against women prevention.”

Pratt received so many notes from deserving brides-to-be that she’s now begun collecting wedding dresses to distribute to brides in need.

“Now I have about 14 dresses to match up with the brides who submitted their stories to me and I’m working through that process now,” she said.

As for her new dress, Doolan says that she’s absolutely thrilled that she’ll be walking down the aisle in it.

“It’s everything that I wanted and more,” she said. “I was actually looking at the exact same dress a couple months ago, but there was no way I could afford it. So this all happened for a reason and I’m so happy about it.”