From everyone at the NorthStar Moving family:
Claire Wineland, our beloved muse, the face of our blog, our Snap Greene, our co-worker, and our dear friend, passed away on September 2, 2018. She suffered a stroke after undergoing a successful double-lung transplant. She was just 21 years old.
The California native was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis. The illness meant a life of painful treatments, hospital stays, and a certain premature death. We had the honor of meeting brave Claire Wineland when she was 13 years old. We knew from that moment we wanted to live in Claire’s world. It sparkles there. It has been an incredible journey.
Young Claire was a Make-A-Wish kid when we met her in 2010. We helped answer her heartfelt wish for a newly designed mermaid-themed bedroom. We fell in love with her wit, wisdom and wile. We were thrilled when she agreed to be the face of our blog. Since that encounter over eight years ago, Claire has been our star. Later, when she needed to work from home, we made Claire part of our marketing team. She handled social media and special projects.
When she was just 14 years old, Claire founded Claire’s Place Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization established to help children and families affected by cystic fibrosis. We felt so strongly about assisting Claire with her mission, that our co-founder, Laura McHolm, was on the founding Board of Claire’s Place Foundation and now is the Chairman of the Board.
Claire Wineland spoke about her foundation earlier this year:
“Having lived with cystic fibrosis (CF) my entire life, I know firsthand the destructive force it can have on both families and the individual. It takes everything you’ve got to simply stay alive and keep a roof over your head. Many families have bills that quickly pile up and commonly parents are left unable to work. The current medical system has gaps in insurance coverage often giving cystic fibrosis patients large co-pays on top of any existing financial responsibilities. For adult CF patients, this poses an even greater difficulty, as a regular job often isn’t a possibility.
My foundation is able to provide grants to those in need and provide financial stability in times when all else seems to be falling to pieces. One such example is Isis, a 27 year old cystic fibrosis patient who, after being faced with all the extraneous circumstances that accompany life with cystic fibrosis, found herself homeless and living in a shelter. We were able to help her find and secure an apartment and she is now safe and able to focus on taking care of her health.
I truly believe that everyone is deserving of rich and fulfilling lives and that their potential and wellbeing shouldn’t be stunted by chronic illness. Providing financial support allows for families and the individual to take care of themselves and build lives they are proud of, in spite of the challenges they face.”
Claire Wineland dedicated her life to making a difference in the lives of others, especially those affected by cystic fibrosis. Claire’s recurring messages inspired us all: “Why wait to be healthy to live? Why not live life to the fullest?”
On social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, Claire spoke publicly about the difficult details of her life. Her videos and posts drew in millions of viewers who were captured by her humorous and unique outlook on living at the edge of death. She truly was a star. She sparkled and she inspired.
At 21, Claire Wineland has accomplished more than most people ever do. Her social media presence made her a much sought-after inspirational speaker. She traveled all over the country to give talks and be the voice of her foundation. She received multiple awards including Glamour magazine’s 2018 “College Women of the Year” grand prize winner, one of Seventeen magazine’s “17 Power Teens” of 2016, Fox Teen Choice Awards 2015, Global Genes’ RARE Champion of Hope Award, World of Children Youth Award, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes and winner of Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Small Nonprofit of the Year,” among others. She was featured on The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, Huffington Post, ABC News, Cosmopolitan, People, Ladies’ Home Journal and more.
Claire Wineland advocated being an organ donor. She knew first hand it was the ultimate gift to receive and to give (find out more about being an organ donor). From her frail 90 pound body, Claire donated her organs. Claire’s remarkable family was happy other families were able to receive the call for their long awaited organs; Claire’s family had been on the receiving end of that call just a week before. Claire’s kidneys saved the lives of two people. Her corneas and skin tissue will enhance the lives of up to 50 people.
And, she left behind something for all of us; she left behind her amazing spirit. If you’re just getting to know Claire Wineland, please watch one of her TEDx Talks or one of her many her videos. You’ll quickly learn why she is still able to inspire us all.
Claire’s legacy has just begun. She constantly expressed that she wanted her foundation to continue on and flourish after she was gone. Claire’s Place Foundation is committed to upholding her wishes and assisting cystic fibrosis families in need.
In lieu of flowers, and to keep Claire’s life work going, Claire’s family requests donations be made to Claire’s Place Foundation.
In the words of our precious Claire Wineland, “Death is Inevitable. Living a life we can be proud of is something we can control.”
Rest in peace, Sweet Warrior Claire; you made all of us proud. We will continue where you left off.