Claire Wineland is not your regular girl; she lives with cystic fibrosis. It is a genetic disease which causes excess mucous build up on a person’s organs, clogging the airways which could lead to death. Her family was told she would probably only live for 10 years, but over time, her life expectancy was lengthened to 18 and then to mid-20s.
In her short life, she has undergone over 20 surgeries, survived months in a coma and became a Make-a-Wish recipient. On a daily basis, she takes about four dozen medications, including self-administered shots for her CF-related diabetes, and often even spend up to six hours on breathing treatments.
She can cough up cups’ worth of mucous and gets admitted to the hospital for regular tuneups and intensive treatments. As she tells CNN, it’s like she’s “jogging 24/7.”
At 18, Claire declined to be on the list for a double lung transplant. Though they can extend a life, she believes they’re no cure. She’d have to live on steroids and run the risk of developing new issues. Plus, there’s no guarantee her body would accept the new lungs.
Now, she faces death head on every day. But this doesn’t stop her from taking advantage of life.
Making A Difference
Claire, who’s from Venice Beach, California, decided not to live full of remorse. Instead, she has dedicated her life work to making a difference in the lives of others living with the same chronic illness.
In high school, Claire launched The Clairity Project, a website offering insight into her life, including videos that became popular on YouTube. Years later, she founded a non-profit organization called Claire’s Place Foundation designed to help people affected by cystic fibrosis.
According to HuffingtonPost, it is her way to give back with hope, strength, and joy. In Claire’s own words, “I know my life will be shorter so every day has meaning.” And in a speech at Las Vegas festival Life Is Beautiful in 2015, she expressed how proud she is of her decisions.
“I am genuinely proud of my life. I’m not saying that I don’t feel pain. I’m not saying that I don’t feel sadness and suffering and loneliness, because that’s what it means to be a human being,” Wineland said. “Death is inevitable, but living a life that we are proud of—that is something we can actually control.”
Recently, Claire caught an infection which got her admitted in the hospital again. Doctors almost put her on a ventilator again when one of the only two antibiotics that still work for her kick in. It’s unknown how Claire is doing now but CNN says she was expected home from the hospital Wednesday.
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