Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Claire Wineland Dies, YouTube Star Dead Cystic Fibrosis, Lung Transplant

Claire Wineland Dies, YouTube Star Dead Cystic Fibrosis, Lung Transplant

She made herself a star through renowned speaking, writing her posts about illness and mortality on social media.

According to a statement from her foundation Claire's Place, Wineland suffered a massive stroke caused by a blood clot on August 26 following a double lung transplant. She was born with cystic fibrosis - a genetic disease that floods the body with mucus and causes frequent lung infections - in 1997. It has no cure. As the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation noted, over 70,000 people have been diagnosed with the disorder around the world.

Claire Wineland, who gained a huge online following for documenting her battle with lung disease, passed away at the age of 21, leaving behind thousands of devastated supporters.

On Monday, Wineland's mother said the activist saved the lives of two people after donating her organs.

"She was surrounded by love and with her mother Melissa Yeager and father John Wineland; they saw her into this world for her first breath and were with her for her last", chairman of the board of the Claire's Place Foundation Laura McHolm wrote in a Facebook post. And every single time I get close to that point where I'm supposed to die, there's a new technology that comes out, a new medicine, new ways of treating cystic fibrosis. She dreamt of leading a healthier life after the transplant but as fate may have it, it did not happen. "It's about what you're making of your life and whether you can find a deep pride in who you are and what you've given", Wineland said in a 2017 TEDx Talk about the importance of self-worth when living with a life-shortening illness. In recent months, the 21-year-old's health had taken a dramatic downward turn, prompting Wineland to opt for a double-lung transplant. "It's not like we walk around like dogs with our tails in between our legs all the time".

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When she was 18, the doctors told Claire that she will not make it without a lung transplant.

"In Claire fashion, she is an organ donor", the foundation said in its statement.

Through her videos and social media posts, Wineland tried to break down stereotypes about sick or disabled people, telling her followers in March that she'd "struggled more with guys, depression drugs, family and career than I ever have with my illness", adding, "I'm not an innocent and I'm not a child". She created her foundation, Claire's Place, in 2010 after she recovered from a 16-day medically induced coma.

"After a week of intensive care and various life-saving procedures, it became clear that it was Claire's time to go".

"Everyone is always surprised that we go to school, too, and live normal human lives".

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