Claire Wineland was an American motivational speaker, YouTuber, and author. She was born with the life-threatening illness, cystic fibrosis. Wineland spent a major part of her childhood in hospitals. When Wineland was 13 years old, she had a lung failure, and was placed in a medically-induced coma. Despite very less chances of survival, she recovered from the coma. She was deeply motivated by the support received from her community and friends. At the age of 13, Claire Wineland became the founder of the non-profit organization, ‘Claire’s Place Foundation.’ The objective of the organization was to provide financial and emotional support to the families affected by cystic fibrosis. Wineland had a positive aura around her. The humorous way in which she looked at negativities, inspired many. She was a motivational speaker for the ‘TEDx Talks,’ and also spoke at many conferences across the world. Wineland appeared in TV series and documentaries too. She had her own ‘YouTube’ channel, where she uploaded inspirational and humorous videos. Her health deteriorated in August 2018, and she had to undergo a double-lung transplant. Following the surgery, Wineland suffered a stroke, and breathed her last on September 2, 2014.
Childhood & Early Life
Claire Wineland was born on April 10, 1997, in Austin, Texas. Her mother, Melissa Nordquist Yeager, and father, John Wineland, separated, when she was three years old. They remained close friends, and shared the responsibilities of taking care of their daughter. She has a younger sister, Elanore Nordquist.
Wineland enjoyed performing on stage from a young age. At the age of 4, she made an appearance in ‘The Music Man.’ Due to her illness she spent most of her childhood in hospitals. She underwent more than 30 surgeries during her lifetime.
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In April 2010, after a routine surgery, Wineland had an infection which led to lung failure. She was placed in a medically-induced coma, for 16 days. According to doctors, she had a survival chance of 1%. The family received immense support from friends, and community. Wineland miraculously came back to life.
Wineland was moved by the community’s support when she was in coma. She wanted to help other affected families too. Thus, at the age of 13, Wineland founded her non-profit organization, ‘Claire’s Place Foundation.’ The organization aimed at providing financial and emotional assistance to patients of cystic fibrosis, and their families.
‘Claire’s Place Foundation’ offers two kinds of support. ‘Support Families’ program offers assistance in treatment, and emotional support from volunteers. ‘Extended Hospital Stay Grants’ provide financial assistance to families who find it difficult to arrange funds for an extended hospital stay. The Foundation has funded more than 26 families till now.
Wineland was a singer, artist, and composer. She performed with Philips ‘Breathless Choir,’ as a solo singer. She attended the ‘Santa Monica College,’ in California, but had to drop out of college, due to her illness.
Claire Wineland was known for her positivity, warmth, and humor. Despite suffering from a critical illness, she maintained a positive attitude to life. Wineland was invited as a speaker at many international conferences. She was chosen to be the keynote speaker at the 63rd ‘International Respiratory Convention and Exhibition.’ She was a crusader for the patients who suffered from cystic fibrosis, and other terminal illnesses. She was also a speaker for the motivational ‘TEDx Talks.’
Wineland appeared in an episode of the American teen medical comedy-drama TV series, ‘Red Band Society.’ She also made an appearance in the documentary series, ‘My Last Days,’ which was created by actor Justin Baldoni. She was a part of ‘The Clairity Project,’ a website that featured educational and inspirational videos uploaded on ‘YouTube.’ Its objective was to inspire people living with terminal illness, to lead a better life. Wineland hosted many videos for the channel.
In August 2017, after taking a break from ‘YouTube’ videos for a year, Claire Wineland returned with a new channel. She revealed that ‘The Clairity Project’ was not under her control. When she was unable to create videos due to declining health, the company cut her off. Since there was no formal contract in place, she did not have any legal option too.
Wineland uploaded videos in her personal vlog. Through videos, she shared her feelings, and her thoughts on cystic fibrosis, and life expectancy. She has also authored the book, ‘Every Breath I Take, Surviving and Thriving with Cystic Fibrosis.’
In early 2018, Wineland’s health deteriorated, which necessitated her to undergo a double-lung transplant. On August 26, 2018, a week after the transplant surgery, Claire Wineland suffered a stroke due to a blood clot which cut off the blood supply to the right side of her brain. On September 2, 2018, she passed away peacefully, at the ‘US San Diego Thornton Pavilion.’ Her organs were donated to needy patients.
Claire Wineland was a person who did not like to be pitied. According to her, pitying ill people was disempowering them. She loved every moment of her life, even those days when she was in hospital. She decorated her hospital room, and posted inspirational messages on its walls.
After the death of Claire Wineland, her family intends to carry on the noble work started by her. ‘Claire’s Place Foundation’ is planning to continue extending support to patients.