Claire Wineland was a pivotal member and advocate for the chronic illness community. She was a 21 year old with Cystic Fibrosis, who passed away on September 2nd, 2018, a week after she received a double lung transplant. Claire was everything I aspire to be as an advocate, activist, and human being. She was outspoken and honest, she was funny while always being very raw about the realities of living with a terminal illness. Claire didn’t sugar coat things or act as if living with a chronic illness was easy. One of my favorite quotes from Claire is:
“Death is inevitable. Living a life we can be proud of is something we can control.”- Claire Wineland
I’m not one to call disabled people inspirational given that we are constantly used as inspiration porn for the able-bodied, however Claire was an inspiration to me. When I think about the person I want to become, so many qualities that Claire had come to mind. I hope one day I can be as care-free as Claire was. She was a giving person who started Claire’s Place Foundation, an organization that helps support families living with Cystic Fibrosis financially. In her death, Claire continued to be a self-less person by becoming a organ donor.
My life has been touched by Claire Wineland, and I’ve never even met her or had any conversations with her. I cannot imagine the terrible loss her family and friends must be feeling at this moment. Claire will forever be missed by the chronic illness community, and we will forever be indebted to her for her advocacy and generosity over the years.