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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, Families we have assisted

Meet Maddox ~ Extended Hospital Stay Grant Recipient

February 14, 2018

Meet Maddox, a 7 month old new CF baby who was referred to us by his social worker at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Emory University Hospital.  Maddox has already spent a month in the hospital due to complications that can arise from this disease, leaving the family overwhelmed and exhausted trying to maintain their jobs and take care of an older sibling who does not have CF.  Oftentimes families will choose to have one parent stay home and care for the child but occasionally we see families where both parents must work in order to maintain their healthcare insurance costs and opportunities.  Cystic Fibrosis is a very difficult disease to qualify for private insurance and if a parent has group coverage through a job, it is something that they hold on to dearly.

Maddox’ family looked to us for assistance with their mortgage payment and a few outstanding hospital bills that were threatening collection involvement.  We were so grateful to be able to provide them with the assistance they needed to keep their heads above water and turn their attention to learning the ins and outs of raising a child with CF and all of the elaborate home treatment required. We will keep this family in our thoughts and hope that they will find a supportive CF community to help them along the road as we have.

Thank you so much, Claire’s Place Foundation, from the bottom of our hearts! There are not enough words to express our gratitude for this kindness. The weight that has been lifted off this Mom and Dad’s hearts is significant and truly appreciated.  Raising children is a daily challenge in itself and then you add in a Chronic disease, it truly takes a tribe. Thank you, again!”

Blog & Events, Families we have assisted

In Loving Memory of Julia

January 8, 2018

Julia was a beautiful, vivacious young woman with cystic fibrosis who beat the odds for many years.  Her mother and I were at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in November 2017 sitting vigil with our children, hoping and praying they would both be able to come home with us after extensive lung infections.  We CF parents understand the path we walk together and are always drawn to each other sharing about our child and their particular journey with cystic fibrosis.

While Claire recovered just enough lung function to be able to take a train home to Los Angeles, sadly Julia was not able to recover this time.  Her hospital stay was just over 2 months and although the doctors and amazing team of specialists at U Penn worked very hard, she reached her final resting place at home surrounded by her loving family shortly thereafter in hospice care.

Julia was loved by all, especially her 5 year old son.  Many women with cystic fibrosis are not able to bear children but some are lucky enough to have this experience.  Her son was her pride and joy and she will live on in his heart forever. She will be greatly missed by her husband and her mother and I have been very touched to know of her and her brave battle, her triumphs and the angel wings she recently received.  Breathe easy dear Julia.

Her mother and I connected again shortly after Julia’s death and she shared with me that the 2 month stay in Pennsylvania, far from home, had caused financial distress  and coupled with the loss of her only child, she felt quite overwhelmed with little support.  I was grateful to share with her about our Extended Hospital Stay Program and accepted her application immediately.  We were able to pay several of her larger bills so that she could feel supported and loved by her CF Community while beginning the long process of grieving.

“During my daughter Julia’s last and final hospitalization, which lasted 2 months, I crossed paths with another CF Mom and we found comfort in each other and our shared experience. I kept her card and found the Claire’s Place Foundation website easily and applied for a grant for assistance considering all of the expenses incurred during our long stay. Their financial help made a huge difference to me and enabled me not to go into further debt, while grieving the loss of my darling girl. In addition to the financial help, knowing there are people who care and donate to this cause during a difficult economy has given me emotional strength and reinforced my faith in the kindness of strangers.  I see your face before me Melissa and our meeting changed my life way beyond financial. I am feeling much better as time lessens the pain and heals the soul. I’ve come through the other side with a sense of peace that is remarkable. Of course my sadness and loss is always there, but I am so grateful for the life we had together and for all the emotional and psychological support I’ve received during and since my time with Julia. With gratitude, Julia’s Mom

Our hearts are with you all ~ all of us walking the road with a loved one with cystic fibrosis or any terminal illness.  It can be a lonely and scary place for sure with many ups and downs sprinkled with little miracles along the way.

#CureCF

Thank you all who support this program ~ as Julia’s mom writes, it is a small kindness that we can do for others who are suffering.

Melissa

Blog & Events, Families we have assisted

Meet Payton ~ Extended Hospital Stay Grant Recipient

November 10, 2017

Payton’s family is committed to getting her the best care possible even though they reside in an area without an accredited CF Center.  “The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation funds and accredits care centers located at teaching and community hospitals across the country. These centers offer comprehensive, high-quality care. This elevated level of specialized care has led to longer, more productive lives for people living with CF.”

Living in Hawaii but having Payton’s care managed at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital here in California put a huge financial strain on this family, as you can imagine.

Traveling back and forth every 3 months for clinic visits and enduring 2 week stays for “tune ups” has been a nearly impossible task but one they are committed to to ensure she receives the best care possible.

Claire’s Place Foundation was happy to provide a grant for this family to cover their mortgage, a portion of their outstanding hospital bill and pharmacy bills so that they would have additional monies to cover the cost of airfare and travel related expenses that were becoming overwhelming.

Payton’s mother writes

Claire’s Place has helped lift some of the financial burden off of our shoulders during this stressful time.

We can’t thank you all enough for this grant . Caring for our daughter is our number one job . At times the pressure to have enough cash to provide what she needs can be so hard . We are very thankful for this Foundation . Truly a blessing & so appreciated !! Bless you all !!!”

Thank you one and all for your continued support of this important program.

Blog & Events, Press

Thrive Event Raises Over $150K for Claire’s Place Foundation

November 8, 2017

Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Claire’s Place Foundation, a non-profit organization providing support to children and families affected by cystic fibrosis, thanks the founders of Thrive: Make Money Matter and their attendees for raising over $150,000 to support their Extended Hospital Stay Fund.

Thrive Co Founder Sanja Hatter, Claire’s Place Foundation Fundraising Chair Kathie David, Executive Director Melissa Yeager and Founder Claire Wineland

“I was invited to speak at Thrive 2017, which was such an honor. I had no idea the event would change my life,” said Claire’s Place Founder Claire Wineland. “While on stage Thrive Co-Founders Cole and Sanja Hatter surprised me with a personal donation to support my foundation. They then called upon the audience to open their wallets. In just minutes we raised more money than we have ever raised for Claire’s Place! The funds raised will help thousands of families affected by cystic fibrosis pay their bills. I can’t thank Cole, Sanja and everyone in attendance enough. I am overwhelmed by their generosity.”

“Claire is a beautiful light in our world; I’m so honored to know her, support her, and call her a friend,” said Thrive Co-Founder Cole Hatter. “The work she is doing is amazing, and I know the impact she will make in the world is only just beginning. Thrive was a great start, looking forward to continue to support Claire in leaving her legacy.”

The funds raised at Thrive 2017 will support Claire’s Place Foundation Extended Hospital Stay Fund, a special cache of funds available to families with children living with cystic fibrosis that are experiencing financial distress due to a hospital stay of at least 14 consecutive days. The grants are paid directly to third parties on the families’ behalf to cover basic necessities such as mortgage, rent and utilities so that the parents can focus their energies on being with their child in their great time of need.

“Raising the money for Claire and her foundation on that stage is my favorite moment of Thrive,” said Thrive Co-Founder Sanja Hatter. “It is a highlight in my life that I will never forget. I am so grateful for Claire, her outlook on life and the difference she is making helping others living with cystic fibrosis.”

“When I first connected with Cole and Sanja I was so excited to share the opportunity with Claire and the foundation,” said Claire’s Place Foundation Fundraising Chair Kathie David. “In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have imagined what would later happen at Thrive. It was one of the most exciting and rewarding moments of my life and I’m humbled by Cole and Sanja’s vision and the generosity of the Thrive tribe. The money raised will go a long way to help our families.”

Thrive Co-Founder Cole A Hatter Photo Credit: @tostistudios

To learn more about Thrive: Make Money Matter, please visit: www.attendthrive.com. And, to assist Claire Place Foundation’s mission in helping children with cystic fibrosis, please visit: www.clairesplacefoundation.org.

About Claire’s Place Foundation, Inc.

Claire’s Place Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization providing support to children and families affected by cystic fibrosis (CF). Claire’s Place Foundation is named in honor of Claire Wineland, now a teenager, who has been living with CF her entire life. The foundation provides grants to families affected by CF, offering both emotional and financial support. A young author of bestseller “Every Breath I Take, Surviving and Thriving with Cystic Fibrosis,” Claire’s unique inspirational model for people living with this disease has led her to be a TEDx Speaker and receive multiple awards including Seventeen Magazine’s “17 Power Teens” of 2016, Fox Teen Choice Awards 2015, Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, Southbay Magazine’s “Top 10 South Bay Teen”, Looking Beyond LA’s “Soaring Spirit Award,” and winner of Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Small Nonprofit of the Year.” She has been featured on Inside Edition, The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, Huffington Post, ABC News, Cosmopolitan, People, Ladies’ Home Journal and more. Claire’s Place Foundation is a way for Claire to give back with hope, strength, and joy and make meaning of what she has had to go through. For more information and make a donation, please visit www.clairesplacefoundation.org.

Claire Wineland Photo Credit: @tostistudios

About THRIVE: Make Money Matter

Thrive: Make Money Matter is a top rated business conference that encourages and equips ‘for-purpose’ businesses to make an impact in their local economy and around the world.  In addition, Thrive: Make Money Matter offers resources and a private networking group for business owners.  The next conference will be held September 15-17, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV.  For more information visit www.attendthrive.com or call 949-534-2653

Cole A Hatter, Claire Wineland, Sanja Hatter, Melissa Yeager Photo Credit: @tostistudios