'Finding your purpose is not some grandiose moment': A new YouTube documentary shows the life of vlogger Claire Wineland, who became an advocate for those living with a terminal illness



  • A new YouTube Originals documentary, “Claire,” shows the life of Claire Wineland, the YouTube vlogger who died in 2018. 
  • Wineland, who lived with cystic fibrosis, documented her experience with the terminal illness on her YouTube channel and social-media accounts.
  • The YouTube Originals documentary, codirected and coproduced by Oscar-winning documentarian Nicholas Reed, shares Wineland’s inspirational outlook on life.
  • The film can be watched for free on Wineland’s YouTube Channel, “Claire Wineland,” and the producers said they hope the project will reach those who need it and help spread Wineland’s message.
  • Click here for Business Insider Prime’s coverage of the business of YouTubers and influencers.

A new YouTube Originals documentary, “Claire,” explores the life of Claire Wineland, the late YouTube vlogger who lived with cystic fibrosis, and whose message was to “live a life that you are proud of.”

Wineland documented her experience living and dealing with her illness on her YouTube channel and social-media accounts. She quickly became an advocate and activist for those living with a terminal illness. She died in 2018.

“Finding your purpose is not some grandiose moment,” Wineland says in the documentary. “It’s slowly realizing that you have potential as a human being, and that there’s absolutely nothing that can stand in the way of that.” 

The new film was directed and produced by the Academy Award-winning documentarian Nicholas Reed (who has produced films like “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”), and was released on September 2, one year after Wineland died at 21 years old from a stroke following a double lung transplant. To make the film, Reed and his collaborators followed Wineland for more than a year before she died.

Claire Wineland

Touching lives and helping people

Ryan Azevedo, who codirected and coproduced the film with Reed, said the project changed his outlook on life.

Since wrapping up the film, he told Business Insider that he’d declined projects that he thought he “wouldn’t get much out of,” instead asking himself if what he dedicates his time to will “put positivity into the world” — like Wineland did.

Wineland founded the nonprofit organization, Claire’s Place Foundation, to provide emotional and financial support to children and families affected by cystic fibrosis. She shared her inspirational message in a 2017 TEDx Talk, called “Don’t wait to be healed to start serving humanity,” and among several other recognitions, she was named one of Seventeen Magazine’s “17 Power Teens” in 2016.

Reed hopes Wineland’s message will reach people who need it.

“The goal is to reach 1 billion views and get the message to as many people around the world,” Reed told Business Insider about the project. The film can be found on Wineland’s YouTube Channel, Claire Wineland, and does not have advertising running on it.

Wineland had the ability to bring people together and make them feel less alone, Reed said. Filming Wineland go through four hours of treatment every day, and then wake up and do four hours of treatment again, amazed the filmmakers, they said. She formed the direction of the project, which they began working on with Wineland and finished after she died. 

“She had her hand in so many parts of the project, and still does,” Azevedo said. “Intentionally, we just let her go, not taking away from her message. And that has more magic than any cinematic techniques.”

Watch the documentary on Wineland’s YouTube Channel.

Join the conversation about this story »