Madi Schoeneman
Madi Schoeneman

ADAMS COUNTY, Ind. – Last summer when Adams Central High School senior Madi Schoeneman was awarded with the Clayton Shuck Memorial Award in honor of the young man who passed with cancer a few years ago, she opted to invest the money that goes with the award to make blankets to distribute to children who have cancer in cancer centers around the area.

Schoeneman, who has been active in various school events, set up a “Cuddles for Clayton” Fund with the initial funds from the award. Initially, she and several friends made blankets to take to the Children’s Cancer Center at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

Once the initial blankets were distributed, Schoeneman was so overjoyed and touched by the happiness of the children who received the blankets that by no means did she want the project to close.

“I said, ‘I don’t want this to stop. I want it to go on,’” said Schoeneman following the initial delivery.

Schoeneman was overwhelmed when she learned to what extent her home church, St. Luke’s Congregation, located outside of Monroe, Indiana, wanted to see the missionary project grow on.

In fact, the church recently established a Saturday where a large group of youth and adults came to the church hall to bring blankets they had made and to make more blankets, people from Fort Wayne, all over Adams County and western Ohio.

“This quickly became a mission for our church,” said Schoeneman. “You could just feel the love in the room. I never dreamed that a church project could make such a difference. Fifty people came to the church hall. By the end of the day, we had over 200 blankets to be passed on. People were so generous with their financial support.

“By that time I realized that we had a new challenge. Where were all of these blankets going to go?” said Schoeneman. “One thing I knew was that we wanted them to go to several other pediatric units around the area.”

Of those, several members of the Schoeneman family spent much of Christmas building blankets from material donated instead of Christmas gifts at the family’s Christmas gathering this year.

Schoeneman said it was unbelievable for her to realize that she started out with a “small project,” “Cuddles for Clayton,” and here she was/is with more blankets than she knows where to distribute.

“Who knows where it is going to go from here,” said Schoeneman. “Now we are getting calls from all over the area saying, ‘what can we do to bless these kids? We are starting to get calls from businesses and groups in Fort Wayne that want to become a part of this.”

Schoeneman said that as the blankets are distributed, there are accompanying prayers asking God that the recipients would feel his comfort and touch.

“Blankets are like a comfort measure, they make people feel warm and safe,” said Schoeneman. “Even if it brings a child happiness for 10 minutes, it is worth it all. It can even be used for a distraction when they are doing medical treatments.”