Claire Wineland: Cystic fibrosis activist dies at 21

Image source, Claire Wineland/Instagram
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Claire Wineland became renowned for her posts about illness and mortality on social media

A young US woman with cystic fibrosis who made a name for herself through writing, speaking and social media has died after receiving a lung transplant.

Claire Wineland, 21, became renowned for her posts about illness and mortality on social media.

Ms Wineland underwent a successful double lung transplant on 26 August, but suffered a stroke shortly afterwards.

In a post on its Facebook page, the Claire's Place Foundation said: "Our inspirational founder passed away. She was not in any pain and the medical staff said it was the most peaceful passing they had ever witnessed."

At a 2017 TEDx talk, Ms Wineland spoke about the importance of self-worth when living with a life-shortening illness.

"Life isn't just about being happy... 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," she said.

Ms Wineland was a supporter of ex-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and she once fled hospital to attend one of the Vermont senator's rallies.

The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate paid tribute to her in a post on Twitter.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

In her last post on social media before her transplant, Ms Wineland spoke about the importance of organ donation for those with cystic fibrosis.

"I'm grateful for the doctors that'll be scooping out these lungs and giving me some more life to work with. I'm grateful for the chance to keep being a person," she said.

Her organs were made available for transplant.

"Her right kidney was transplanted to a 44-year-old woman in San Diego, and her left kidney was transplanted to a 55-year-old male in northern California," her mother Melissa Yeager told CNN.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition with no known cure. The progressive disease creates too much mucus in the lungs and other organs, causing infections and problems with digestion.

Claire Wineland gained prominence through her positive but realistic account of living with cystic fibrosis.

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She started a YouTube channel in which she spoke about her experiences which attracted more than 250,000 subscribers.

However, her illness forced her to leave the platform in 2017.

Despite this, she maintained a large following on Twitter and Instagram, speaking frankly about her life and sharing personal moments.

Just let me love you

A post shared by Claire Wineland (@claire.wineland) on

She also addressed her views on society's notion of attractiveness in disabled people and sought to break these taboos.

"I've struggled more with guys, depression drugs, family and career than I ever have with my illness. I'm not an innocent and I'm not a child," she wrote in March.

The way sick people are captured in media completely ruined any ounce of self confidence i had growing up. I learned to deeply hate having my picture taken by professionals because there was always a need to make me look childlike and innocent- lacking in anything sexual or appealing. I was convinced I looked like an ugly sickly five year old for the first two years of high school and that that was why guys never seemed to be interested in me in “that” way. It took having a fair amount of relationships and casual sex before I realized that I wasn’t the empty smiling shell of a girl I saw reflected back in pictures. It’s so much easier to believe that sick people are cherubs- held in perpetual youth and innocence- who simply don’t understand the truth of their condition because they are living up in the clouds. Seeing people who are sick as anything more complex and intelligent than that would mean we couldn’t use them as these false beacons of hope. I’ve struggled more with guys, depression drugs, family and career than I ever have with my illness. I’m not an innocent and I’m not a child. I’m not “dying before I have had a chance to live” and what I choose to talk about with the world is not just empty positive falsehoods. Sick people deserve to be seen as more than hollow shells just waiting for their lives to begin. As always thank you to @larissaperoux For taking he most bomb ass pictures of me that will ever be taken.

A post shared by Claire Wineland (@claire.wineland) on

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