In a year that left so many of us hanging by a thread, a California teenager is using hers to stitch together the stories of those taken by COVID-19.
"I don't see fabric. I don't see pictures. I see people," 14-year-old Madeleine Fugate said of her quilt.
The mother of 13-year-old Anna sent a touching letter to Fugate just two weeks after her daughter died. "She was a dancer and loved acting. She left behind myself, her father and two sisters and two brothers. We miss her so much," the letter said.
Another letter came from a family of a World War II veteran. "Like so many others, my dad died alone in a nursing home without anyone to hold his hand or comfort him," it said.
Fugate's COVID quilt began as a seventh-grade history project inspired by her mother, Katherine, who helped create the AIDS Memorial Quilt honoring more than 125,000 lives lost.
"I told Madeleine those stories and how healing and almost magical they were to me," Katherine Fugate said. "She said, 'Mom, we need to do that.'"
Fugate has now heard from people as far away as New Zealand as she weaves heartache into a small symbol of comfort.
"These were people who lived and died and they deserve to be remembered," she said. "They need to be remembered. And I will help remember them."
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