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Social Media Star Claire Wineland, 21, Dies a Week After Undergoing a Lung Transplant

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One week after receiving her newly transplanted lungs, Claire Wineland took her final breath. The YouTube star, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth, died Sunday night at the age of 21.

It was announced Monday that Claire suffered a massive stroke on Aug 26 after the nine-hour transplant surgery. The inspirational star’s family made the decision to take her off life support.

“[Claire] was not in any pain and the medical staff said it was the most peaceful passing they had ever witnessed,” Wineland’s foundation, Claire’s Place, confirmed on Facebook Monday. “Her mother Melissa Yeager and father John Wineland saw her into this world for her first breath and were with her for her last.”

“After a week of intensive care and various life-saving procedures, it became clear that it was Claire’s time to go,” her family shared. “In Claire fashion, she is an organ donor. Claire’s remarkable family were so happy for the other families that were now getting the calls that the organ they had long been waiting for was now available for transplant.”

This post is about to be a life update/rant of all rants so click if you are bored and in need of entertainment. Two weeks ago I lost my apartment due to mold toxicity that had been building for lord knows how long. I literally can’t explain everything fucked up that has happened because it won’t all fit in a text post but the main points include: having aspergilus in the lungs decreases chances of lung transplant success, I had to put my dog down, we lost all our furniture, I have no money saved up because I have been too sick to work this year, our airbnb has a gas leak and a plethora of other shit that just seems too ridiculous to be true. In all honesty though I am profoundly grateful that my life fell apart this spectacularly. I’ve spent the past year just barely holding myself above ground- juggling being sick with the deep incessant need in me to do something of value with my time. I’ve been exhausted just keeping myself alive and have nothing left to give to the world around me. That has always been my biggest fear in life, that I would spend everything I had “fighting” my illness and have nothing to offer- and for me, living without being able to give something of yourself to the world, living without adding value to the world, is not a life I want. I do not want to fight for a life that consists only of self care, I would rather die than live just for the sake of living. I can sense how fragile this life is, how fragile our futures are. How easy it is to let yourself be swept into a version of your life that you despise. It’s far too easy to let your life become something you resent. Everyone has been scolding me for wanting to stay living on my own, for wanting to move to different side of town and find a home while being on the transplant list. “ why not just wait until after the surgery to try and start your life?”. You can’t put your life on hold until your “better” life begins. You have to fight like hell to make sure that the life reflected back at you right now is one you want to be living. I’m not going to let myself live a life I’m resentful of. Not if I live for another three months and not if I live for another 30 years.

A post shared by Claire Wineland (@claire.wineland) on Jun 21, 2018 at 4:12pm PDT

On Monday, Claire’s doctors told her mother that she saved the lives of two people.

“Claire was able to save the life of two people, 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,” Yeager told CNN. “Also, Claire’s corneas and tissue was recovered and she will be able to enhance the life of up to 50 people.”

Wineland frequently shared her battle with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening and rare disorder that causes the cells that produce sweat and mucus to becomes thicker in organs such as the lungs, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

From posting photos of her treatments from the hospital to giving inspirational speeches, Wineland worked to help others with the same genetic disease.

In late May, Wineland excitedly told fans and followers that she made the transplant list. And on Aug. 26, she tweeted photos from a hospital in San Diego, California, when she heard the good news about her lung transplant surgery.

“OMG!! Got THE CALL for lungs at 5:30am! Waiting at UCSD to make sure they are a go..if so, I could have new lungs TODAY!!” she wrote along with a photo of her family and friends. “It’s a GO!!! Surgeon said they are perfect!! See y’all on the other side.”

And in July 2017, Wineland gave an inspirational TEDx talk about her illness.

“Life isn’t just about being happy,” she said. “It’s not about how you feel second to second,” she said. “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.”

In 2010, when she was 13, she created her foundation after coming out of a 16-day medically induced coma.

In addition to her platform on social media, Wineland received several honors including a Teen Choice award in 2015 and among Seventeen magazine’s “17 Power Teens” of 2016.