The Life and Legacy of Claire Wineland

Claire Wineland was many things to many people. She was a daughter, sister and friend. She was a video maker, activist and despiser of bucket lists. However, more than anything, she was a believer. Born with cystic fibrosis, a quarter of Claire’s life was spent in and out of hospitals. To many, this may sound dreadful, and I’m sure it was at times, but Claire made the most out of every moment—no matter where that moment may have been.

I won’t pretend to know exactly how Claire felt or the things she went through, but I’d like to think it’s safe to say she always put everything she had into what brought her the most happiness.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Claire Wineland (@claire.wineland) on

 

When Five Feet Apart started screening in theaters, it was obvious that an insurmountable amount of effort on the parts of the director, actors and the rest of the crew went into presenting cystic fibrosis as something that should not be the defining characteristic of a person. Stella Grant’s character bares uncanny resemblances to Claire herself, and upon reading more into the making of the film, it became clear that there are fragments of her in every scene. As Justin Baldoni said himself, "The soul of this movie is Claire."

The videos Stella makes throughout the movie, the way in which her room is decorated, and the ideas behind death and living all stem from Claire. Baldoni wanted to present cystic fibrosis in a way that was realistic, before it was artistic. It was imperative to him that the everyday obstacles people faced were represented in a way that did not romanticize an illness. He hired Claire as a consultant to make sure he was able to do just that.

It would be a great disservice to say that Claire is only known for one movie. As I said earlier, she was many things. Most of all, she was a believer. Claire ran a YouTube channel in which she documented her thoughts, ideas, and knowledge to share with the world. It's through these videos that she was able to reach hundreds of thousands of people. She educated her viewers on all different aspects of living with cystic fibrosis.

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Claire Wineland (@claire.wineland) on

 

To Claire, death was truly but the next great adventure. She once said, “After you die, you’re closer to everyone you love because you’re part of everything.” Listening to Claire’s ideas of death it becomes clear that death is not something to be afraid of. Above everything, she believed that while death was something unavoidable, living a life you are able to say you’re proud of is entirely in your control.

Through her videos and activism, Claire made sure that it was clear that cystic fibrosis does not define what you can and cannot do with your life. Every moment you spend awake is a moment worth celebrating.

Claire Wineland was 21 years old when passed away. She was 21 years old physically, but had lived a lifetime within the two decades she had spent here on Earth.

Five Feet Apart remembers the life of Claire and sheds light on thousands of others living with cystic fibrosis. It's a story of love, loss and all the small moments that make up what it means to be human. She inspired people all around the world to remember to take in everything as deeply as you possibly can.

It's important to remember that what you are watching on the screen is only a cinematic representation of what people go through on a daily basis, and more.

Everyone’s experience is different. Everyone’s experience matters.


All image credit goes to @claire.wineland on Instagram.