Hélène Campbell is making such great progress after her double lung transplant on April 6, and has even been seen dancing to Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend," says her mother, Manon Campbell.ALUNGSTORY.COM
As Hélène Campbell continues to make remarkable progress from her recent double lung transplant, the organ donation crusader’s pleas for people to save others is being heard loud and clear.
At a press conference Tuesday at Toronto General Hospital, where the 21-year-old Ottawa woman is recovering, her father read from an obituary from 10 days ago.
“Terry’s wish to donate his organs was inspired by @alungstory Helene’s organ donation campaign,” the death notice read.
“Wow,” said a visibly moved Alan Campbell. “An immediate impact.”
He went on to thank his daughter’s donor, whose identity is unknown to the Campbells but hopes the family’s “message of deep and abiding appreciation will reach them, even as they grieve the loss of their loved one.”
“My daughter has life because of that gift,” he said.
Hélène Campbell drew attention to the issue of organ and tissue donation when she was placed on the transplant list in January. She’d been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in October, a disease that can only be treated with a transplant.
With compelling video appeals and a Twitter campaign (@alungstory), she gained celebrity support from Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres and others. Before her transplant, Campbell was also Skyping into stops along a province-wide awareness campaign, torchoflife.com, a 75-day, 110-stop journey aiming to register 1 million new donors in Ontario.
Hélène had a life-saving lung transplant on April 6, and is making excellent progress, said transplant surgeons Dr. Shaf Keshavjee and Dr. Tom Waddell. She is dancing during physio, breathing more on her own and could be discharged from hospital within two weeks.
“She’s beginning to dance already to music and does the treadmill to music,” her mother, Manon, said. “The first song this morning was Justin Bieber’s (If I Were Your) “Boyfriend,” so you can imagine the arms going up.”
Waddell, lead surgeon during the seven-hour procedure, says Campbell passed the first night without help from the ventilator. “This is definitely a major milestone moving forward,” he says. “She will soon be able to completely breathe on her own.”
Since the transplant, there have been good days and bad, Hélène’s mother notes. Communication remains a challenge, as the tracheotomy performed last week (a hole surgically made in Campbell’s throat for the ventilator) prevents her voice from being heard.
Her team expects she will be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a step-down unit within two days. And she could leave the hospital in as little as two weeks, Waddell says. But Hélène will likely have to stay in Toronto for a few weeks.
“What makes her happiest is when she hears the positive stories of how this message is going across,” Manon Campbell says, referring to the thousands who have been registering with the province’s beadonor.ca site.
Keshavjee, director of the lung transplant programs at the United Health Network and the Hospital for Sick Children, hailed Campbell’s transplant as one of the more courageous procedures — even though they perform this type of surgery 10 times a month.
Typically a recipient is matched with a donor through blood type and body size, but because Hélène, a very small size, was going downhill so quickly, they used the lungs of a larger donor, Waddell says.
“We chose to use a bigger donor because we didn’t feel Hélène had much time left to wait for somebody more like her own size,” he says. Instead of transplanting the entire lungs, which is normally done, they used the left upper lobe and the right lower and middle lobes.
“From a technical, surgical point of view, that would add complexity,” he says.
Campbell’s motivation, with the excellent physiotherapy, is one of the major keys to her success.
“Almost from the first day she was getting exercise,” Waddell says. “On subsequent days, even while on a respirator, she was walking on a treadmill. I think that’s a critical component to people not only returning to healthy, functioning lungs but to a quality of life.”
When asked if her daughter has message, Manon said simply: “Beadonor.ca.”
“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today! Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You.