Double lung transplant recipient Helene Campbell arrives home
Published Monday, July 16, 2012 2:17PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 16, 2012 8:57PM EDT
Double lung transplant recipient Helene Campbell has finally returned to her hometown Ottawa, armed with a new set of lungs and a new outlook on life.
The 21-year-old, who had been recovering in Toronto since her transplant operation April 6, confirmed in a tweet Monday that she was returning home.
“The rumors are true, we are homeward bound. Hasta La Vista Toronto, te quiero mucho, pero hola Ottawa!” she wrote.
When Campbell returned to her home in the Barrhaven suburb, she was surprised by a group of ecstatic friends and family.
Campbell told CTV Ottawa that home feels much different to her now that she’s had the operation.
“I don’t need my oxygen tank anymore. There’s no more Darth Vader making noises. I don’t have the tube following me everywhere,” she said.
“I can do the stairs no problem -- I didn’t even realize it. So it’s really cool.”
Just six months ago, Campbell was connected to an oxygen tank through a few feet of tubing.
Campbell also said she has no intention of stopping her work.
After taking a break to spend time with friends and family this summer, Campbell plans to make another appearance on the Ellen show and may even write a book about her experiences.
But before she begins any of these projects she’ll have to face many of her fans and admirers in a public welcome home event.
The capital city will be officially greeting Campbell back on Tuesday with an event on Parliament Hill. The federal minister of health, Leona Aglukkaq is scheduled to attend.
Earlier this year, Campbell shot to international fame with her public campaign to increase organ donation registration.
Campbell started a blog called “A Lung Story” and used social media to document her personal journey and raise awareness about organ donation.
Campbell garnered support from several celebrities, which helped boost the profile of her campaign.
She appeared on the popular “Ellen” show twice and was retweeted by pop superstar Justin Bieber.
Bieber, who has more than 25 million followers on the social networking platform Twitter, retweeted Campbell’s message in January.
“@alungstory i got the word …. You have amazing strength. I got u. #BeAnOrganDonor,” Bieber’s tweet read.
Campbellrequired the lung transplant due to a disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. She was diagnosed with the degenerative lung disease last year.