'My life is back,' double-lung recipient Helene Campbell says
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012 8:44AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:54AM EDT
Five months after receiving a double-lung transplant, Helene Campbell says her “life is back” and she’s now able to participate in several simple activities that other people regard as ordinary.
In an interview with CTV’s Canada AM Wednesday, the 21-year-old Ottawa woman said she’s dancing, walking, biking, lifting more weights and -- yes -- even doing a bit of cleaning.
“My mom loves that,” she added, laughing lightly.
Campbell acknowledged that her medications “have some side effects” and her blood work shows some lower levels of hemoglobin, the protein that gives red blood cells their colour. But, she said the troubles aren’t anything that her transplant team can’t handle.
“This is something that transplant patients deal with on a regular basis and just my energy levels have been a little lower but keeping my head strong and just keeping on going,” said Campbell.
The tireless double-lung recipient has been keeping busy while on the mend, trying to spread awareness about organ and tissue donation the best way she knows how: through social media.
Campbell helped Facebook launch an organ donation tool in Canada on Tuesday, a feature allowing users to share their organ donor status. The goal is to raise awareness and encourage others to donate.
“It’s so great that we can use social media as a platform to increase organ and tissue donation. It’s something that people use every day and it’s a great tool, so why not use it for that?” she said.
Campbell has been regarded as evidence of the Internet’s power to connect and inspire.
She first told the world about her urgent need for a double-lung transplant last January in a video plea posted online. Her appeal was shared on Twitter by Canadian pop-star Justin Bieber and continued to garner attention and support from big names such as Rachel McAdams and Howie Mandel.
Social media and organ donation both thrive on the act of sharing, said Campbell. Given that, she said it makes sense to marry the two for a good cause.
Facebook launched the organ donation tool last May in the United States and the U.K. The feature took a bit longer to arrive in Canada because organ donation falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction.
Since its inception in May, Facebook credits the tool with encouraging 275,000 more people to become donors.
That response, said Campbell, is exactly what she and Facebook hope to achieve in Canada.