Local teen pushes past hardships to find his 'normal'


Being a teenager comes with many struggles in itself such as grades, extracurricular activities, jobs and social pressure, but for Clayton Schoenleber he had a few extra obstacles. From childhood to now he has been in and out of the hospital, and as he says “I feel like I spent more time in the hospital than out for a couple years.” 

Schoenleber is very social and seems to be with a friend at all times, but he says that it hasn’t always been this way. “When I first started having my medical issues it made me distance from my friends, just because I couldn’t do the same things they could anymore and I needed to focus on my health.” He had serious stomach problems, having to do with his intestines. He was asked how many surgeries he’s had and he replied with, “Too many to count, and way more than I ever wanted.” He described it as going in circles, because nothing seemed to help for more than a couple of weeks. Being in the hospital is not something a person wants to do, let alone a kid and keeping stable relationships was hard when he needed to put his health above all. 

Schoenleber has always been very active: he played football, basketball, and baseball in his childhood. Since his medical issues he is no longer able to keep his active schedule or partake in many other activities. He has to caution all his daily activities as well as hobbies because he doesn’t want to go back to the hospital. He still manages to have many hobbies and stay active like working on his truck, kayaking, spending time with his girlfriend as well as his dog. He also now has a job he’s maintained for over a year. “It’s easier now, but back then I had more challenges.” 

As far as school goes, having to spend so much time in the hospital means not spending so much time in school. He missed a lot of school in middle school, resulting in doing online school to make it easier on him. He did this for a couple years or so and is now enrolled at Al Kennedy Alternative High School. “School is school, not my favorite place but also not the worst.” School itself can be quite the challenge, without added personal life issues so he has proven to be determined person that wants to excel in life. 

A person who has helped Schoenleber through everything is his mother, Cassie. “She is so supportive and has never failed to show me her love and help me in any way she can.” He has lived with his mother his whole life and they have truly been through thick and thin with each other. He says he wouldn’t have been able to surpass this rough time without her. As you could imagine this was hard on her, seeing the person she loves most having to go through such severe medical issues, but she did everything she could and proved her strength right along with him. 

Today, Schoenleber proves his resilience everyday by exceeding in life and taking his past struggles as a motivator. Although his medical issues are not completely gone, they are much less severe. Through being in and out of the hospital for years he managed to stay positive and look on the bright side of things. “I have a lot of amazing people in my life, and a good life in total, I really am thankful.” This goes to show his positive attitude and way of thinking, even after having obstacles thrown in his path time after time again. 


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