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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.

Press

Seventeen Magazine Shares Andy Grammer’s Inspirational Video

February 22, 2019

Exclusive: Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson Are Totally in Love in Andy Grammer’s “Don’t Give Up on Me” Music Video
It’s the original song for Five Feet Apart!

By Tamara Fuentes
Feb 21, 2019


* Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson star in the new movie, Five Feet Apart, as cystic fibrosis patients who fall in love.
* Andy Grammer wrote the original song for the movie and is donating the proceeds to Claire’s Place.
* Seventeen is exclusively premiering the video featuring Cole and Haley.

 

 

Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson’s new movie, Five Feet Apart, is almost here and it’ll likely be the big romance movie that we’ve all been waiting for. The two of them play cystic fibrosis patients who have to stay six feet apart from each other at all times. Finally fed up with constantly being away from each other, they decide to stand one foot closer to each other and start to fall in love in the process.

Check out the music video below:

Andy Grammer wrote the movie’s theme song and created a music video all about Will and Stella’s relationship. Seventeen got to talk to Andy about writing the song, what it means to him, and what it was like to meet Cole.

17: What made you decide to write this song?
Andy Grammer: “I think it’s one of the most basic parts of being alive with other humans is not giving up on them when things get hard. Sticking with someone through the hard stuff. I love writing about that.”
17: Did you get to watch the movie beforehand to get some inspiration?
AG: “I LOVED the movie. Ugly cried in a hotel room when I saw one of the first cuts. It’s a beautiful story. I lost my mom 10 years ago to breast cancer so stories told in hospitals hit home a little extra hard for me. Perseverance through disease especially in the name of someone you love will always be inspiring.”
17: What’s your favorite lyric from the song and why?
AG: “‘Don’t give up on me.’ It’s such a simple statement and it’s definitely been said before, but damn it makes me feel. Saying that to someone else usually packs a pretty intense punch. It’s very simple but powerful.”
17: You’re donating a portion of the proceeds to Claire’s Place, an organization that helps families dealing with cystic fibrosis. Why did you decide on that charity?
AG: “One of my best friends, Justin Baldoni, is the director of the movie. He and Claire had such a close relationship and she was a major inspiration for the film. As a surprise to him and to honor her I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to her foundation. Claire’s Place is a support system for families and patients dealing with Cystic Fibrosis.”
17: Were you a fan of Cole Sprouse beforehand and did you get to meet him as they were shooting the movie?
AG: “Of course. Are there people out there who aren’t fans of Cole Sprouse? I got to meet him in Los Angeles. He was amazing in this movie, I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
17: How has the song/movie inspired you in your own life?
AG: “Honestly, since the song has come out, the most inspiring thing has been the incredibly touching responses. With a message like ‘don’t give up,’ there have been a lot of people telling me how they were about to give up on their relationships, dreams, on occasion even as dire as their own life when hearing this song and it kept them going. That is just completely amazing feedback to get, it will never get old hearing these stories.”

 

 

Press

‘Five Feet Apart’ Trailer Released Ahead of March Theater Opening

January 18, 2019

‘Five Feet Apart’ Trailer Released Ahead of March Theater Opening
AliBY ALI JAN 16, 2019

Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse push boundaries in Five Feet Apart. Image courtesy of Teen Vogue.

Prepare for romantic overload! The trailer for Five Feet Apart was released today — the same day as the Riverdale midseason premier, incidentally. Cole Sprouse and co-star Haley Lu Richardson play cystic fibrosis patients being treated in the same hospital. As characters in romantic dramadies tend to do, they fall in love over the course of their treatment but cannot get closer than six feet apart because of a risk of infection that could have fatal consequences. The trailer gives us a glimpse of a defiant Richardson taking back “one foot” so they can be “five feet apart.” What that will mean for the two of them remains to be seen.

Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse push boundaries in Five Feet Apart. Image courtesy of Teen Vogue. Click image to watch

As we reported back in November, there is some controversy about whether or not this movie is good for CF awareness:

“There are some who feel the movie is a wonderful way to deliver representation and awareness of CF and those who suffer from it. But others feel like it smacks of exploitation and is another example of Hollywood using able-bodied actors to play terminal-illness sufferers as a way to make the healthy feel relieved that they do not have these struggles.”

That being said, the actors have taken care to spend time with Claire’s Place Foundation in an effort to prepare appropriately for their roles. Hopefully this dedication to presenting the illness accurately and with compassion will show in their performances. Check out the trailer below for a sneak peek and see what you think!

 

The wait is over: the new #FiveFeetApart trailer is finally here. 💖 Are you ready to fall in love with this film on March 22?

Press

CNN Article: Our Founder, Claire Wineland, dies one week after lung transplant

September 4, 2018

Claire Wineland; Photograph by Larissa Perroux

Claire Wineland, inspirational speaker and social media star, dies one week after lung transplant
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Cystic fibrosis did not define Claire Wineland. She did.

No matter the obstacles placed in front of her, of which there were many, she refused to be pitied and was determined to live a life that mattered. She inspired countless people, invited — no, demanded — honest talk about illness and mortality, and brightened the worlds of those she touched with her smile, spunk and spirit.

On Sunday evening, after being taken off life support and using the newly transplanted lungs she received just one week earlier, Claire took her last breath. The cause of death was a massive stroke she suffered soon after the transplant surgery. She was 21.

‘Love what is’

A quarter of Claire’s life was spent in the hospital. The medical team that tended to her became family. She played hide-and-seek with nurses and left explosions of glitter in her wake. She watched one of her doctors squirm as he gave her the safe-sex talk. She took great care to decorate her hospital room so it felt and looked like home.

Her parents, Melissa Nordquist Yeager and John Wineland, split up when Claire was 3, but they remained friends and partners in her care.

Her father credits Claire with teaching him “to not be afraid of what hasn’t happened yet” and to learn to “love what is.”

Yeager, who lost and quit jobs as hospital stays dictated, always marveled at her daughter’s aura and her ability to lift up those around her.

In 2017, Yeager recalled a conversation with Claire about death. At one point, Claire looked at her mom and said, “After you die, you’re closer to everyone you love because you’re part of everything,” Yeager remembered.

These words were a gift, a reminder that Claire would remain with her always, even after she was gone.

Trusting Claire

More than 30,000 people in the United States, more than 70,000 worldwide, have cystic fibrosis, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The median survival age is 40, the foundation reports, which is a great improvement from the 1950s, when surviving long enough to attend elementary school was rare.

Claire Wineland spent a quarter of her life in the hospital.

The genetic and progressive disease creates an overabundance of mucus, which traps infections and blocks airways in the lungs. It also complicates digestion, affects the pancreas and other organs and, eventually, leads to respiratory failure.

There is no cure, but dutiful breathing treatments — which eat up hours each day — can help with symptoms and complications. A double-lung transplant, when successful, can add years to a patient’s life.

Claire’s parents learned to trust their independent and strong-willed daughter. When it came to her care, she knew her body best — what worked for her, what didn’t and how far she was willing to go.

So when she became a legal adult and told them she had no intention of getting a double-lung transplant, they had to accept her decision, even if it pained them.

“I had to be honest,” she once explained. “It’s not for me and never has been.”

A change of heart

Claire took the gift of life and her health seriously, but she didn’t take herself too seriously. She once escaped from the hospital so she could attend a Bernie Sanders rally. She laughed at the absurdities that often swirled around her, including those moments in the produce aisle at Whole Foods when shoppers would prescribe her unsolicited “cures,” telling her to eat more pineapple or that a mushroom cleanse would take care of everything.

Claire Wineland’s greatest wish, her mother said, was that “her foundation will live on, even in her absence.”

She was of the mind that she would leave this world with the body she came in with. She’d travel, answer calls for speaking engagements and put energy into her foundation, which she set up at age 13 after coming out of a 16-day medically induced coma. She’d work on a book — promising it wouldn’t be “another happy sick person book” — and appreciate the small things like swims in the ocean for as long as she was able.

At a TEDx talk she gave last year, Claire made a point of saying how cystic fibrosis helped give her a quality of life.

“Life isn’t just about being happy. … 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.”

Claire had a change of heart about transplant earlier this year, prompted by a steep decline in her health that robbed her of the energy and ability to do what gave her joy and purpose. She wasn’t done contributing. It was a welcome, albeit terrifying, development for those who loved her.

To get on the list for new lungs, she had to be sick enough to need them, yet strong enough to withstand the surgery and recovery. Some people worried that she’d waited too long and wouldn’t be given the chance at continued life.

But Claire took on the evaluation process to get on the list with laser focus. She sat in an educational meeting at UC San Diego Health’s transplant center and diligently took notes.

Revealed on her left ankle was a tattoo: the thumbs-up “Don’t Panic” logo from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

She listened to the risks and the long list of side effects and emerged unfazed.

“None of it spooked me,” Claire said afterward. “Now that I’m looking at it as something I have to do … I’m willing to deal with anything.”

‘It’s a GO!!!’

In late May, she made the list and shared the exciting news with her social media followers who dot the globe. But then, a mix of health and life complications took a toll and knocked her off the list, temporarily. By mid-August, she was back on and feeling ready.

Claire and her mother beamed in a photo posted on social media after they learned her transplant was a go.

She’d worked hard to get there, was focused on her self-care and getting stronger. She joked that the squats she was doing, upon doctor’s orders, would help get her more than lungs. She’d also get a butt.

She knew that the call could come at any minute, and on August 26, it did.
“It’s a GO!!!” she posted on Twitter, not long before she was wheeled into the operating room in San Diego. “See y’all on [the] other side.”

The nine-hour surgery went well, and her mother reported that the lungs were working great. Yeager posted a video of herself doing a happy dance with friends in the waiting room.

But not long after the successful surgery, hope turned to fear. Claire suffered a stroke when a blood clot cut off blood flow to the right side of her brain. She never emerged from her medically induced coma. Despite emergency surgeries, and what her mother described as “Herculean efforts” to try to save her, the daughter she knew was gone. Given the severity of the stroke and Claire’s advance directive, it became clear that it was time to let her go. She passed away peacefully, with her parents by her side.

“They saw her into this world for her first breath and were with her for her last,” Laura McHolm, the board chair for Claire’s foundation, wrote in a Facebook post.

Last night at 6:00pm, Claire Wineland our inspirational founder passed away. She was not in any pain and the medical…

Posted by Claire's Place Foundation, Inc. on Monday, September 3, 2018

Less than 3% of lung transplant recipients have a stroke between the surgery and hospital discharge, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing, which operates the nation’s organ transplant system.
Claire, who understood the importance of organ donation, was a donor herself. On Monday afternoon, her mother received word that Claire had already made a difference.

“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. Also, Claire’s corneas and tissue was recovered and she will be able to enhance the life of up to 50 people,” a family services specialist wrote to Yeager in an email message. “Claire’s gift is huge, I want your family to know that your daughter is a hero.”

The family intends to honor her memory by continuing to advance Claire’s Place Foundation, which she established to financially support others affected by her lifelong disease.

‘Go enjoy it’

In one of the last videos Claire posted, she went where she hadn’t before.
A self-described “goofball,” she usually engaged people with humor and optimism. This time, she was raw and allowed herself to cry. As she faced the prospect of getting a double-lung transplant, she understood how desperate she was to live — and give — more.

“It hurts everything inside of me to make this video,” she said into the camera. “I didn’t realize how much I didn’t expect to live this long. I didn’t expect to have a chance. … The years of telling myself I can do it on my own are over.”

She had plenty of emotional support, but she worried what transplant surgery might mean for her future and her parents’ future if it didn’t go well. What if they poured everything into her transplant, and she didn’t make it or was not able to work again, she explained later. She needed financial help. By asking for it, she said, she could relax and get in the headspace for whatever would come next.

Before signing off, Claire implored viewers to do one thing.

“Go enjoy your life. Really. I mean that seriously,” she said with her signature smile and laugh, her eyes not yet dry. “Go enjoy it, ’cause there are people fighting like hell for it.”

FULL ARTICLE on CNN.com

Press

Our Founder, Claire Wineland, dies one week after lung transplant

September 3, 2018

Claire Wineland
Photograph by Larissa Perroux

Last night at 6:00pm, Claire Wineland 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.

She was surrounded by love and with her mother Melissa Yeager and father John Wineland; they saw her into this world for her first breath and were with her for her last.

She suffered a massive stroke on August 26th after a successful double lung transplant. The stroke was caused by a blood clot. After a week of intensive care and various life saving procedures, it became clear that it was Claire’s time to go.

Yesterday, Claire’s family and a few very close friends came to say their final farewells and offer their support to the family.

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. They had been on the receiving end of that call just one short week ago.

We know Claire was loved all over the world. Your prayers, support and encouraging words, have been a huge source of strength for her and her family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your massive amazing out pouring of love.

We are asking to please give the family privacy at this time. They have so generously shared their lovely Claire’s remarkable journey with us all, but now is the time to give them some peace from the public spotlight. They will emerge eventually, but please give them the time to come to terms with their family member’s passing.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made to Claire’s foundation.

Claire’s Place Foundation is committed to upholding Claire’s legacy by assisting Cystic Fibrosis families in need.

In the words of our precious founder Claire Wineland: “Death is Inevitable. Living a life we can be proud of is something we can control.”

You sure made the whole world proud of you Claire!

She was one red hot spark of inspiration and joy, wasn’t she? Rest In Peace Sweet Warrior Claire, we will continue where you left off.

Hug your loved ones close,
Laura

Laura McHolm
Chairman of the Board
Claire’s Place Foundation
Photo Credit: Larissa Perroux

FULL POST on Facebook.com