By: Lauren Fabrizi
A Davey teen is using his arthritis to keep people warm this winter.
Sam Schaefer has been living with arthritis in has hands and legs since he was 18 months old.
Five years ago, his grandmother taught him how to crochet. It started out as a way to help with the pain.
"It helps untighten my fingers," Sam said.
But it's turned into much more.
Since then, the 13–year–old has crocheted hundreds of blankets and other items. He said he takes his yarn and needle with him everywhere he goes.
Now, he gives those blankets to others.
"Keeps them warm through the winter," Sam said.
Sam said he'll hand out the blankets before and after church, or at other places like the supermarket.
To reach more people, there's a Facebook group called, "Strings for Sam," that lists six locations across Lincoln where people can drop off yarn for Sam.
The creator of the group said it started with a few friends and has spiraled from there.
"Paying it forward is really powerful, especially when you have this amount of people," Jess Parker said. "It's pretty cool that the community is coming together for Sam."
The Arthritis Foundation of Nebraska reports there's nearly 2,000 children in Nebraska, like Sam, who live with arthritis.
Carey Collingham of the foundation said what Sam does to not only help himself, but also help others, is inspiring.
That's why he's naming Sam this year's honoree at the foundation's annual 5k Jingle Bell Run in Lincoln on Sunday, Dec. 8.
"If that isn't the image of arthritis, then I don't know what is," Collingham said.
If you would like to join Sam's team at this year's Jingle Bell Run, click here. Online registration closes Thursday. To save an additional $5, use the discount code (case sensitive) KLKN2. Day-of registration increases by $5.
If you're unable to participate in the run, but would still like to donate yarn to Sam, click here.