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Cancer Patient Crochets, Donates Blankets as Tribute to Grandson Killed by Drunk Driver

January 11, 2018 12:06 AM

(ABC 6 News)-- “You don't see an old white guy crocheting blankets too often,” said Bill Schluter.

Bill is usually found working away at his latest creation with just one stitch at a time.

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If you were to look at his blankets, you would have never guessed he was color-blind.

“I can’t really tell greens and browns apart,” said Bill. “I can't tell reds and blacks apart.”

Bill said that it doesn't matter. “Any color goes together is my philosophy on it,” he said.

Bill picked up crocheting about 5 years ago. “I had fallen 20 feet from a roof and had a traumatic brain injury.”

The repetitive movements helped with his short-term memory loss. His hobby took a turn in 2014. “My grandson was killed by a drunk driver,” he said. 

Michael Schluter died three days before his 18th birthday. “You still think about him every day, and you wonder what his life would have been like,” said Bill. “The last thing he had asked me to do was make a blanket for a teacher that was kind of special to him.”

Bill made a blanket, and also started a scholarship in Michael’s name. It’s not just about money for tuition. “I ended up making blankets for 35 kids,” he said. “I tell them what is in that blanket that they will remember that when they go out and choose maybe not to drink.”

In March 2017, Bill was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Mayo Clinic doctors also found rectal and prostate cancer.

In between radiation and chemo treatments at Mayo, Bill passes the time making blankets. Each one takes over a week to complete, and all tell a different story.

“I look at these cancers not as a curse on my life, but as a blessing,” he said. 

Because if it were not for cancer, 30 children at the Ronald McDonald house would not have received one of his blankets.

“I hope they get out of the blankets the knowledge that someone who doesn't know them cares,” he said.

Now on his last round of chemo, “I am cancer-free I think currently,” said Bill.

He adds he will continue to make blankets for children at the Ronald MacDonald house. Over the past 3 years, Bill has given away over 200 blankets.


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Hannah Tiede

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