Five Feet Apart And Cystic Fibrosis

We are just slowly crawling out of the pandemic situation (or slipping into one, depending upon where you live), and we are only too aware of how gauche and clumsy we feel  complying with the social distancing norms. When we meet our loved ones, or the friendly ones after a long time, we find it difficult to restrain ourselves and our feelings gush forth, resulting in handshakes, hugs and kisses.

Imagine a boy and girl, madly in love with each other, who enjoy the company of each other, being strictly told to avoid physical contact, to keep 6-feet apart?

No, it is not the Covid-19, but the Cystic fibrosis (CF) that requires the patients to stay away from each other, because contracting bacterial infections from other CF patients can be dangerous – even life-threatening.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary disease that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine.The body produces thick and sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas. The dreadful aspect of CF is that there is no cure for CF, but there are treatments available that can manage the symptoms of the disease, and improve quality of life.

In Five Feet Apart – the romantic movie, directed by Justin Baldoni – seventeen-year-old Stella Grant is a cystic fibrosis patient who spends most of her time in the hospital, trying to lead a normal life and coping with her illness.



She meets William ‘Will’ Newman, a charming teen, who is at the hospital for a medication trial. They start flirting, and soon the feeling for each other intensifies and desire to get physical becomes stronger.

Both the teens are aware that as CF patients they should avoid physical contact and must maintain a safe distance between them. Stella, being a stickler for routines, wants to follow the rules, but Will isn’t the one to follow his treatment regimen strictly.

They begin dating, and Stella, considering the impetuous nature of Will, chops off one foot from the rule and changes the ‘Six Feet Apart’ restriction to ‘Five Feet Apart’. How the star-crossed lovers manages their kinship going, despite the heart-breaking rule, forms the rest of the story.

Stephen Romei, the critic, reviewed in the The Australian : “The plot is believable – right up to the heart-in-the-mouth turns near the end – and the dialogue sounds real. That is a good start in any movie, but in this case it powers on from there because of the A-grade performances of the two young leads.”

The film was inspired by Claire Wineland, an activist, who provided support to children and families affected by CF, through her non-profit organization, Claire’s Place Foundation.

Claire Wineland died, in 2018, at the age of 21, from a stroke one week after a lung transplant.

There is no cure for CF, but, there is no need to feel despondent yet, says the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation : “Tremendous advancements in specialized CF care have added years and quality of life to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis. There have been dramatic improvements from the 1950s, when a child with CF rarely lived long enough to attend elementary school to today, with many living long enough to realize their dreams of attending college, pursuing careers, getting married, and having kids.”

The message the film offers is one of lingering hope for humanity that can be act as a soothing balm to sundered souls. Much needed in these times !

(Image source: | © LEIGH WELLS/IKON IMAGES )

Author: Blog Desk
Blog Desk comprises many freelance medical and science writers with over a decade of experience in journalism. They have masters qualifications in journalism, science and management and have contributed significantly to the building of this portal. The authors can be contacted at blogdesk (at) skillmd (dot) com.

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