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Hear how Claire Wineland influenced actor Haley Lu Richardson

March 14, 2019

Haley Lu Richardson deeply committed to ‘Five Feet Apart’

By Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service

Haley Lu Richardson knows that with a casual glance “Five Feet Apart” looks like another angst-filled teen romance. It’s the story of two star-crossed teens who fall in love in a hospital. The angst comes from how they must stay 6 feet apart because both are suffering with cystic fibrosis (CF), which is extremely contagious between CF patients.

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that makes the body produce thick, sticky mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. Approximately 30,000 people in the United States have CF. The film’s title comes from how Richardson’s character, Stella Grant, decides to defy CF rules and move a foot closer to Will Newman (Cole Sprouse), the young man who has captured her heart.

© Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA/TNS Haley Lu Richardson arrives at the “Five Feet Apart” Los Angeles Premiere held at the Fox Bruin Theatre in Westwood, CA on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Richardson wants audiences of all ages to see “Five Feet Apart” as a universal story about unrequited love, the frailty of life and the imperative need for human conduct.
“One of the major reasons I like acting is so universally (is) just anyone can watch a movie and feel something. That means a lot to me,” Richardson says.
Richardson’s research to play the role included meeting with Claire Wineland, a CF patient whose nonprofit, Claire’s Place Foundation, supported and organized people with terminal and chronic illnesses. Before she died at the age of 21, Wineland was in the documentary series “My Last Days,” produced by “Jane the Virgin” star Justin Baldoni.
Baldoni, producer and director of “Five Feet Apart,” helped Richardson make contact with Wineland.

“She was so open and really wanted this film to do its job of representing her life and the life or real people with CF,” Richardson says. “She was such a wise human being.
“I did a lot of research and we had a CF nurse on set every day to get the medical stuff as accurate as possible. But, the most important thing was getting to spend time with Claire. She really taught me the emotional effect of CF on the child and the family.”

Richardson took all that knowledge and mixed it with her own thoughts of what Stella would be feeling. She concluded that Stella was dealing with a lot of guilt and pressure because of the dark cloud that hung over her and her parents from the day she was born.

The key to the film is Stella defying the cardinal rule of falling for Will. The connection is important to both, as Stella has lived a very regimented life through her battle with CF, while Will has resigned to the reality his days are extremely numbered and lives each day as if it could be his last.

Playing out the love story was easy for Richardson because of working with Sprouse (“Riverdale”).
“I was surprised and excited by the fact that Cole is a real artist and takes everything he does – whether it be acting or his photography – very seriously and he cares a lot,” Richardson says. “I also care to a fault about playing a character and so we both cared the same amount.
“When you have two people who are genuinely invested in doing the best they can do and bringing justice to these characters, then we could feed off each other and connect in these big moments.”

Part of Richardson’s focus when playing a role comes from her early days as a leading dancer with the Phoenix-based Cannedy Dance Company from 2001-2011. Her days as a dancer drove home the importance of training, rehearsal, hard work, determination and organization. These are all traits she brought to the acting world in projects such as “The Bronze,” “Ravenswood,” “The Chaperone,” “Recovery Road” and “Split.”
Stella has a master list of things she wants to do in her life, but Richardson doesn’t have such a document. She does have one thing she knows she would like to do and that is to star in a movie where dance isn’t just something the characters do. She wants dance to be used to tell the story. That’s a big hope for Richardson, but she’s never backed down from any test.

Blog & Events, Celebrity Friends

Andy Grammer Gives Back to Claire’s Place Foundation

March 5, 2019

Andy Grammer has released “Don’t Give Up On Me,” his new song from the upcoming film Five Feet Apart.

The song was first heard in the trailer for the movie, which stars Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson as two teenagers with cystic fibrosis who fall in love, despite being advised to keep a safe distance from each other for the sake of their health. The film is directed by Justin Baldoni, an old pal of Andy’s.

“’Don’t Give Up On Me,’ although a very simple concept – is truly a very powerful one,” Andy says in a statement. “I have had many moments in my life where I wouldn’t give up on someone else, where I believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves.”

He adds, “Hell I’ve had SUPER intense moments where I wouldn’t give up on myself. But the most powerful memories from my personal vantage point are the ones when someone wouldn’t give up on me.”

A portion of the proceeds from the song will go to Claire’s Place Foundation, a non-profit providing support for children and families affected by cystic fibrosis. The foundation was named after Claire Wineland, who inspired Baldoni to make the film.

Five Feet Apart hits theaters March 15.



Blog & Events, Celebrity Friends, Press

Hallmark Channel “Home and Family” Appearance

May 20, 2013

In honor of Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month, we have been working hard to gain appearances and exposure through our media channels.  Well, we got lucky!! Claire received a call from a producer of the new Emmy nominated Lifestyle show on the Hallmark Channel called “Home and Family”.  She will be a guest on the show on Wednesday, May 22nd at 10am/9am central so be sure to TUNE IN or set your DVR!

This will be a perfect opportunity to share her message of hope and spread awareness about cystic fibrosis to millions of viewers.

We would love to hear your feedback after the show – you can post comments here

Claire on set with "Home & Family" Hosts Mark Steines and Christina Ferrare

Claire on set with “Home & Family” Hosts Mark Steines and Christina Ferrare



Blog & Events, Celebrity Friends, Press

“Flash Mob for Claire” wins an Emmy Award

August 13, 2012

Hi everyone ~

If you missed the special that Fox 11 News LA did last year on Claire, her mission and our flash mob, please take a second and watch it here:
Emmy Award Winning Fox 11 Special “Flash Mob for Claire”

Television and Media Emmy for “Best Medical Piece”

The story was done by a dear friend and supporter of Claire’s Place Foundation, Inc, Producer Gerri Shaftel Constant and her team at Fox 11 News.  They tell the story of Claire’s journey with cystic fibrosis, surviving a near death experience and coming out of that with a mission imprinted in her mind…to help others living with cystic fibrosis.  This is the story of the why and how Claire’s Place Foundation began and the flash mob we did to kick it off.

We were so happy with the way it turned out.  Gerri and the entire news team put a lot of love and hard work into creating a sincere and touching story.  The integrity of the piece resonated throughout the media circles and culminated in an Emmy Award for “Best Medical Piece”!

What an honor to work with this team of dedicated individuals..they aim to bring uplifting, positive stories to the community and tell them with integrity and sincerity.

Thank you so much to all of you who participated in our flash mob and brought the magic to life!

Much love,

Melissa and Claire