Campbell's first public appearance since double lung transplant
TORONTO - Helene Campbell hopes every person in need of an organ donation receives the treatment and care she has been given.
Campbell, who underwent a double lung transplant on April 6 made her first public appearance Thursday, literally dancing with joy at the procedure’s success.
Campbell, 21, from Ottawa, was full of thanks for everyone involved in her procedure as she spoke to the media at Toronto General Hospital, where she continues to recover.
“I have a voice and I’m able to breathe, and that for me is a miracle,” said Campbell.
She said she’s honoured that a family mourning the loss of a loved one considered saving the life of another.
“Giving someone like me a second chance - a gift of dancing again, a gift of life - and I will honour that gift as long as I live.”
Campbell admitted she was lucky to receive her new lungs fairly quickly, as some patients in need of organs can wait years, and some never receive a transplant.
She hopes that everyone waiting for a donation eventually receives her gift of a new life.
“In the treadmill room where I have met remarkable people who are fighting for their lives, working out three times a week, waiting for that gift. I pray every day that they receive the same gift that I have.”
Campbell then showed the crowd a dance move she learned while on a trip to Barcelona. She got up with her mother and father, Manon and Alan Campbell, as well as her doctors - Dr. Gary Levy and Dr. Shaf Keshavjee - to perform the arm-swaying dance she says is the signature move for organ donation.
Helene’s parents said they’ve been inspired by their daughter’s procedure and, like her, wish for others they’ve met along the way to meet with the same success.
“It breaks our hearts to know that some of them may never receive that chance of taking a deep breath like Helene is now able to do,” said Manon Campbell.
Helene’s next appearance will be on the Ellen DeGeneres show, where she plans to thank those who have helped along the way, like Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber, who retweeted Helene’s pleas to register for organ donation programs around the world.