When I was pregnant with my first child, there was a slight indication that I might be a carrier for a genetic condition called cystic fibrosis. But my doctor said that CF wasn’t a reason to terminate – not that I would have anyway – and that they test for it during newborn screening.
CF is a chronic condition that affects the entire body, but most specifically the lungs and pancreas. Life expectancy is currently 40 years old. But according to a Kaiser Permanente study, at least 87% of those whose unborn children are diagnosed with CF abort their children out of fear.
Abortion is never the answer for any child or parent, no matter the situation. In a previous post, I wrote about Matt Mitchell and his incredible life with CF. Now, I want to show you a different CF fighter who, unlike Mitchell, spends much of her time in the hospital. But that’s fine with her.
Claire Wineland is a high school student, and despite her hard work and strong fight against CF, Wineland says in a post for CNN that she has spent a quarter of her young life in the hospital. At just 13 years old, complications from a routine surgery left her in a medically induced coma with a 1% chance of surviving. But she fought her way back and continues to fight every day.
“Every breath I take is a miracle,” she writes, “I want you all to know that this isn’t a sob story. I’m not here to make you feel bad for the poor sick kid. In fact, I hope to accomplish quite the opposite.”
Wineland shared her story with CNN in order to tell the world that life with CF can be amazing. She talks about her joy and the beauty she sees when others only see pain and suffering. She writes:
I am sick. But I am so much more. My life is wonderful, not in spite of this illness but because of it.
Wineland turns her hospital rooms into artist retreats. She makes them a place to reflect and think and create. She has found joy and peace and friendships at the hospital, as well as beautiful sunsets. She has thrown New Year’s Eve parties in her hospital room and feels as though the staff is an extension of her family. She says her health “has very little to do” with her happiness and she refuses to let any pain trump the beauty in life.
At age 13, Wineland and her parents created Claire’s Place Foundation to support other families living with CF. At age 14, she started a video series called The Clairity Project, showcasing life in the hospital and how it doesn’t have to be depressing. Claire enjoys every moment in her life and says that having a chronic illness is part of the reason for that. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself.
A short life CAN be as rich as a long one. […] Some things in life are ours to choose, while other things choose us. I never chose to live this crazy bizarre life with cystic fibrosis […] I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Life with CF or any other condition or disability is still a life that can and should be lived to the fullest. Aborting a child because of any diagnosis is a tragic mistake that can never be taken back.
Watch Claire’s story for yourself: