Campbell dances again after double-lung transplant
Published Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:37PM EDT
Double-lung transplant recipient Helene Campbell stood and danced with her parents and doctors in Toronto on Thursday as they celebrated her progress recovering from a difficult surgery.
Campbell, the 21-year-old organ donation advocate who was the recipient of a double-lung transplant in April, laughed and smiled as she discussed her recovery at the Toronto General Hospital.
"I have a voice and I am able to breathe and that for me is a miracle," Campbell told a press conference. "Waiting on the transplant list is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do."
Campell thanked the family who agreed to donate the lungs of a deceased loved one, and vowed not to stop advocating for organ donations now that she has recovered from her own surgery.
"I am not done now with this cause. In fact I have more energy now," she said. "I have named my lungs ‘gratitude,' which is attitude with a little grr."
Campbell, 21, received a double-lung transplant on April 6 for a condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which was slowly shutting down her lungs. She has been in and out of hospital since then, as she continues to recover from the difficult surgery.
She chronicled her journey on a blog and through Twitter, received an endorsement from Justin Beiber and appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show in a Skype interview.
Doctors at the Toronto General Hospital applauded her successful recovery on Thursday, but said there were too few transplant donors in Canada to ensure such success for everyone who needs help.
"It delights us all to see a young person restored to normal health. It shows you what we can accomplish when we work together," Dr. Gary Levy, medical director of Toronto General Hospital's multi organ transplant program, told the press conference.
"We don't have enough organs to have the type of success we are celebrating today. We know that many people will not benefit from what Helene has benefitted from."
Six hundred Canadians have died while waiting for organ donations in the past five years, Levy said, calling them "casualties of the system."
On Wednesday, Campbell was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.