This Inspiring Teen Uses her Terminal Illness to Change the Way We Look at Death
“The people who have been through the most are the people with the most to give” – Claire Wineland.
At birth, 19-year-old Claire Wineland was diagnosed with a chronic and terminal disease called Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF causes excess mucus buildup in her organs, causing infections, extensive damage and eventually total shut down. Going through over 30 surgeries, lung failure, and spending a third of her life in a hospital bed has seen Claire develop a very intimate relationship with death. But this inspiring young woman does not feel like she leads a less than full life. In fact, quite the opposite.
Claire was featured in Seventeen Magazine in an article titled ‘Seventeen Girls Who Are Changing the World Right Now’.
Claire is not only living with CF, but flourishing with it. By using her positive attitude, personal experiences and her social media platforms, Claire has dedicated her life to normalizing illness and death, and inspiring others with terminal illness to live their life to the fullest. Her message is that you can not only have a great life despite pain and suffering, but because of it. She credits CF for giving her the ability to see the beauty of life through her pain.
“I’m here to shed some light on what it’s really like to be sick, and hopefully to change the way we view illness and those living with it. I don’t think that life is black and white, we can’t see everything that’s abnormal and strange as being bad. My life expectancy isn’t necessarily impressive. Yet I have had a wonderful life; I have lived a life I’m proud of.”
The eloquent and vivacious teen is a prolific public speaker, published author and founder of Claire’s Place, a foundation set up by Claire and her family to provide financial and emotional support for other children and their families living with Cystic Fibrosis. She has shared her story on the TED stage and co authored a book called “Every Breath I Take, Surviving and Thriving with Cystic Fibrosis.”
Her charismatic and passionate nature and dedication has seen Claire become a known personality. Through her blog, The Clairity Project, Claire posts regular articles sharing her journey and insights, offering strength and hope to those going through a similar situation. Titles include, ‘What it’s like to be in a coma’, ‘Tips on interacting with a sick person’, ‘Body image lessons from a sick kid’ and ‘Kids ask the best questions about my oxygen tube’.
Check out one of Claire’s heartwarming, hilarious and inspiring clips below, called “Dying 101.”
A walking beacon of light and inspiration, Claire offers new and beautiful perspectives on what it is to be a human being, and how we can take control of our own experience no matter what ‘obstacles’ we find along the way.