Successful double lung transplant for woman
Helene Campbell, the 20-yearold Ottawa woman whose public-awareness campaign for organ donation attracted the support of pop star Justin Bieber, has finally undergone the doublelung transplant she so desperately needs.
Campbell was brought out of surgery at 12:15 p.m. Friday, nearly 12 hours after the delicate operation began at Toronto General Hospital. Her parents and the head of the surgical team were scheduled to speak to the media at a news conference later Friday afternoon.
In a statement posted online, Helene’s parents, Manon and Alan, said: “Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts, best wishes, support, and prayers for Helene. We appreciate them and will pass them on to Helene. Please feel free to continue sending comments to the live blog and Facebook, plus sending tweets. . . . Every message helps keep us strong.
“As Helene recuperates from her double-lung-transplant operation, we would like to take the necessary time to concentrate on her recovery. During this time, we will not be giving any media interviews.
“When Helene has sufficiently recovered, we will consider all media requests. Until that time, we ask for your support in respecting our request for privacy.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the donor’s family, who made the organ dona-
It came at just the right time. HELENE CAMPBELL’S MOM, MANON
tion so that Helene could live. We are grateful to you for your generosity. Helene will, as we will, honour and care for your gift forever.
“We would also like to thank the staff at Toronto General Hospital, who have been working around the clock to care for Helene, and who have made the gift of life reality for so many patients. We are grateful for their dedication and exceptional care.”
The drama began at about 12:45 Friday morning, when she waved goodbye to her family as she was wheeled into an operating room.
“It came at just the right time,” her mother, Manon, said, as she waited for news of the operation’s success. “Her condition had progressively worsened over the last week, and she was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday morning.”
Last fall, Helene received a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and was told she would need a transplant. She moved with her mother to Toronto in January, to be near the Toronto General Hospital, where such operations in Ontario are performed.
Once in Toronto, she began an awareness campaign that saw Bieber and TV talk-show host Ellen Degeneres get on board.
Degeneres tweeted about the surgery on Friday: “a lung story was finally able to get her lungs. I’m sending lots of love and healing thoughts.”