Early last month YouTube Originals released a documentary about the activist and prolific vlogger Claire Wineland called “Claire.” Wineland was a popular YouTube personality who used her channel to share her life with cystic fibrosis with thousands of viewers and subscribers. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Nick Reed and Ryan Azevedo, the documentary uses interviews, footage, and photos to explore Wineland’s life with the disease and how she became an inspiration for millions around the world.
The official trailer was released on August 26th on Wineland’s YouTube channel, where she used to post vlogs, Q&As, and confessional videos for her over 400,000 subscribers and viewers from all over the world. The trailer starts with Wineland giggling while casually declaring “So, I’m dying. Faster than anyone else.” That bubbly personality and brutal honesty was what attracted many people to her.
Her positive outlook on life was what inspired millions. Her story resonated with others who also had cystic fibrosis as well as people who were diagnosed with other chronic or terminal illnesses. 1 By opening her life to the world, she was able to bring hope to so many and inspire them to find purpose in themselves.
During an interview previewed in the trailer, Wineland says:
“Finding your purpose is not some grandiose moment. It’s slowly realizing that you have potential as a human being and that there is absolutely nothing that can stand in the way of that.”
As Wineland became a well-known social media influencer and more people connected with her message of hope and empowerment, she was asked to give numerous talks throughout the country. She quickly became a popular motivational speaker giving her first of many TED talks at the age of 14.2
In both her talks and videos, Wineland stressed that those living with a terminal disease were not defined by their illness; that society needed to reject that notion in order to empower sick people.
Wineland was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was born. Throughout her life, she spent thousands of hours in the hospital and had over 35 surgeries. At the age of 13, she founded Claire’s Place Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting children with cystic fibrosis and their families. In addition to being an activist and motivational speaker, she was also a singer, artist, and composer. Shortly after undergoing double lung transplant surgery, Wineland died on September 2, 2018 at the age of 21. 3
Released on the first anniversary of her death, YouTube’s Claire Wineland documentary, which you can also watch on her official YouTube channel, continues to spread her empowering message of perseverance and hope in the face of challenge.
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- Natalia Stawyskyj, the Sydney Morning Herald – How a YouTuber on the other side of the world gave me the hope I needed
- TEDx Talks – TEDxLaJolla – Claire Wineland – It’s Just a Disease
- Kyle Swenson, The Washington Post – Claire Wineland, who inspired millions on YouTube chronicling her cystic fibrosis battle, has died after a lung transplant