|Helene Campbell, 20, of Ottawa had double lung transplant surgery in Toronto on April 6, 2012. (File Photo)
OTTAWA – Helene Campbell, the 20-year-old Ottawa woman who underwent a double-lung transplant last week, is now breathing on her own, can whisper words and has been up and walking, according to recent entries in her blog.
Campbell became an Internet sensation after she took to Twitter to engage celebrities in her campaign to raise awareness for organ donation.
Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber are among her supporters and have tweeted the cause to millions of people.
Campbell even made a brief appearance on DeGeneres' show in February in a surprise Skype interview.
According to her blog, which is run by her parents, Campbell's lungs collapsed in July 2011 and she was placed on a transplant list after being diagnosed with a degenerative lung disease.
The optimistic young woman began documenting her journey and advocating for organ donation awareness through alungstory.ca and her corresponding Twitter account.
On April 6, after months of waiting and campaigning, Campbell received her new lungs.
One week after her successful surgery in Toronto, Campbell is still recovering in intensive care but making progress.
On Friday, April 13, an update was posted to her blog noting her progress throughout the week.
"Wednesday was a big day for Helene. Her morning first consisted of a walk around the unit," according to the post.
Her family wrote that Campbell was able to get up for a second time that day, moving to sit in a chair, but will need a good night's sleep after her hard work.
On April 14, another update was posted saying Campbell's breathing tube had been removed and she was "smiling ear to ear."
In clear tones of hope and excitement, the family even joked about Campbell's progress.
"She can now whisper, sounding like Darth Vader with a case of laryngitis and has the craziest 'big hair' we've ever seen!" said the post.
Her family also took time to post Campbell's first words: "I'm so happy I can breathe!"