Claire Wineland is not letting her terminal illness control her life. Fighting Cystic Fibrosis since a young child, Claire has lived her life knowing that she has a very serious illness that will only get worse with time. However, you would never know it. Claire lives with a beautiful zest for life, uncanny humor and the will to inspire others.
An interview with CNN describes Claire's younger years: "As a small child, she played hide-and-seek with nurses, ripped out IVs to race around the hospital floor naked and left an explosion of glitter in her wake." Yes, this was a fiery child that refused to let an illness control her life and happiness.
Claire, now 20 years old, has already had a lifetime of risks, challenges and joy. In high school she created videos about the honest reality of being sick but from an optimistic and full of joy standpoint. Claire has always stood out and not just from her portable oxygen machine that she has to carry around. She lives out loud with her unapologetic sense of style and states "life is too short to not be yourself."
Claire is also defying the odds. At one point after she turned 13 she ended up in the hospital with an infection that attacked her lungs. She was placed in a medically induced coma and her parents were informed that she had about a 1% chance of survival. Claire flatlined twice and remained in a coma for more than 2 weeks. But then one magical day Claire woke up and once again showed that she could beat the odds. The first time was when she was born and her mother was told that she might survive for five years.
After awakening from her coma, Claire decided to start an organization to help offer financial and emotional aide to families that were struggling with the CF journey. Claire's Place Foundation was born. Claire credits this foundation as helping her to feel that she had a purpose. "It's important for people who are sick to feel empowered. It gives them reason to take care of themselves," she states.
Claire is an inspiration to all that have a physical challenge. She teaches us that no matter what challenges we face that we can still live life to the fullest. She is a hero!