Claire Wineland, an activist, supporter of families with cystic fibrosis, and social media star, has died at the age of 21.
When Claire Wineland was born, her parents were told she would not live past the age of 10. But she shattered those projections, and when she was 13 years old she started the Claire’s Place Foundation, a nonprofit to help support the families of those living with Cystic Fibrosis.
Even at that early age, as an activist, she knew how to get attention to her issue.
The foundation held flash mobs at prominent locations like the Santa Monica Pier to raise money. Her first TED Talk came at a TEDx event when she was 14 years old, describing what it was like growing up with Cystic Fibrosis. As she grew older she continued to put herself out there, not to become famous herself, but to educate others.
She appeared in a SoulPancake series called “My Last Days,” which tracked her daily life and gave her exposure to a wider audience. This summer, she was named one of Glamour’s College Women of the Year. After years of saying she would not have a lung transplant, her declining health forced her to change her mind.
According to the Claire’s Place Facebook page, the lung transplant was successful, but she later suffered a massive stroke caused by a blood clot and was taken off life support. Rhe final video she posted to her YouTube channel, from August 12, thanks those who donated to a GoFundMe campaign to support her post-transplant recovery.
It was the first time Claire had ever publicly asked for money for her own care.
The last photograph taken of her before the transplant was with a t-shirt featuring her quote “I’m trying to not die here and it’s fuckin’ wild.”
Since news of her passing, friends and supporters have sent heartwarming condolence messages to her family.
Casey Neistat wrote: “she was truly one of the greats. i’m going to miss you Claire.” Shane Dawson tweeted: “my heart is gutted. rest in peace you incredible amazing person and friend. love you so much claire” Senator Bernie Sanders, who met Claire after she snuck out of the hospital to attend one of his rallies, wrote: “I would like to acknowledge Claire Wineland who passed away last night. You are an inspiration and brought joy to many. You’ll be missed deeply.” Actor Lana Parrilla said: “I encourage everyone to read up on Claire Wineland and watch her videos. She was a remarkable human being who knew she was dying and lived every minute of life to its fullest!”
We’d like to end this article with a profound quote from Claire, which was tweeted out from her official account shortly after her passing.
“Death is inevitable. Living a life you are proud of is something you can control.”
Claire Wineland certainly lived a life to be proud of. We’d love to hear about how Claire inspired you in the comments below. Follow us on Twitter at @WhatsTrending for more.