In 40 minutes, Claire Wineland will change your perspective on life. As a young woman living with a terminal illness, she’s on a mission to dignify people who are sick. “Stop pitying them,” she says. “Start empowering them.”
The short documentary film, CLAIRE, debuting free to the public on YouTube Premium September 2, offers a glimpse into her world. Claire was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis (CF). Her life expectancy was barely in the double digits, butClaire was determined to do something with that life.
From her home, her neighborhood, and a seemingly endless series of hospital rooms, she broadcasts her message of dignity and purpose on her YouTube channel, The Clairity Project, and through the Claire’s Place Foundation, a charity she founded when she was just 13 years old.
CLAIRE was an 18-month labor of love for filmmakers Nick Reed and Ryan Azevedo, hand-picked by Claire to tell her story. In an exclusive interview for Scrubs Magazine, Azevedo says “It’s a film everyone in healthcare needs to watch.”
Through interview footage interspersed with home video, we see Claire progress from an impish first grader to an ombre-haired teen to a strikingly beautiful young woman – no awkward phase or moment. She talks about what it’s like to be in a coma, spend Christmas in the hospital, and prepare for death with a poise that at times seems almost unreal.
“If it wasn’t for her oxygen tube, you wouldn’t know she was sick,” Azevedo says, though he admits that behind the scenes, the filming was grueling. After a few hours on camera, Claire would need four or five days to rest. But even as she did, she’d be working with her foundation, which provides grants for families affected by CF and the huge financial and practical toll it takes.
Azevedo tells us it’s common for parents to lose their jobs, their cars, their homes; or be forced to choose between working and spending precious time with their child. One father chose to leave his career to work as a hospital janitor, just so he could be close to his daughter.
The documentary touches on these heartbreaking details, but itssurprisingly uplifting. Azevedo tells us CLAIRE made him a much nicer person, and he hopes it will have the same effect on those who watch. As he puts it, “The world can use more net kindness.”
Coming September 2, 2019. Watch the YouTube Originals film, CLAIRE, on Claire Wineland’s YouTube channel. Directed by Nick Reed and Ryan Azevedo, produced by Paul Foley.
Use the hashtag #FightLikeClaire to post your messages of support, and visit clairesplacefoundation.org to learn more or make a donation.