STUDIO CITY, Calif. – In the last few years, Madeline Fugate has been sewing up a storm building a name for herself as budding designer.
“I had a little miniature purse line for a little while that I sold at school,” she told Spectrum News 1.
But nothing has garnered as much attention or as much fan mail as her latest project.
“I didn’t really think it would blow up like this,” she said.
When it came time for her 7th grade community action project, Madeline decided to do something a little different — a 'COVID Quilt,' modeled after another iconic collection of fabrics.
“We were trying to brainstorm ideas and my mom told me about the AIDS quilt and I thought, 'Why don’t we do something like this for Covid?” she recalled asking.
In 1987, the first 40 panels of the AIDS Memorial quilt went on display in San Francisco. Since then, it’s grown to include the names of more than 105,000 individuals. When world got out that Madeleine was creating a COVID quilt, patches began arriving at her mailbox.
“It just feels like you’re holding a person, it’s not just like you’re holding a piece of fabric,” Fugate said. “You have to really be careful with them because you don’t want to harm them in any way.”
Her mom, Katherine, who had worked on the AIDS quilt three decades ago, is now lending a hand.
“As a parent you just want your children to get through this with the least amount of damage, like all of us going through it and it’s given her a focus and a drive,” she said. “I’m so proud of her.”
Every year, seventh grade global studies students at the Buckley School create a community action project that inspires them to connect their personal passions with a global theme.
“I’m a member of the gay community and the notion that Madeleine wants to pay homage to the AIDS quilt with this COVID-19 quilt is really heartwarming,” Chuck Neddermeyer, Madeleine’s history teacher said.
So far, Madeleine has received 9 patches, with another 10 on the way.
“Really what I hope is that it helps people heal,” she said.
If you’d like to send a patch, you can visit her website.