Remembering Claire Wineland, Thought Leader & Cystic Fibrosis Activist
In the days since her passing, much has been said, rightly, about the incomparable brightness of Claire Wineland’s character. Despite being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, she carried herself with extraordinary grace and kindness. She rejected the idea that she – or any sick person – was defined by their illness, and was able to cultivate genuine happiness for herself, even though the world told her it would be impossible. In her 21 years, she developed an ethos that revolved around deriving power from pain; she was a living demonstration that limitations are only a trick of the mind.
Claire had an incredible knack for storytelling, and in 2017 the WORLDZ community was honored to host her at our second annual gathering, WORLDZ Chapter Two: Losing Sight of the Shore. From the main stage, she described her childhood where months of every year were spent in the hospital, a place that she – perhaps unsurprisingly – described warmly, a place that felt like “a home.” One day, she decided that the white walls of her room didn’t properly reflect her sense of style, so she began decorating. She strung lights and hung photographs, and arranged her self-made art around the room. When she was finished, she found herself with an influx of visitors from around the hospital. Patients, doctors, nurses – everyone wanted to spend time in the space that Claire had created. This would be a recurring theme in her life.
Through her social media channels, hundreds of thousands of people were able to experience the gift of her company. She traveled around the world, speaking to audiences and engaging people with life-affirming messages. Her impact was also felt in tangible ways. Her non-profit, Claire’s Place Foundation, supports families who have a member suffering from cystic fibrosis; their work will continue, even though Claire is gone.
In the end, the best way to experience Claire is to let her speak for herself. She graced our stage and our lives, and will never be forgotten.
We send the deepest condolences to Claire’s family and friends. Click here to learn more about Claire’s Place Foundation and support those living with cystic fibrosis.