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Double-lung transplant recipient leaves hospital again

Ottawa's Hélène Campbell, 21, gained acclaim for raising awareness about organ donation

Posted: May 11, 2012 8:37 AM ET

Last Updated: May 11, 2012 11:45 AM ET

Double-lung transplant recipient and viral-video sensation Hélène Campbell has returned to her temporary Toronto home after being discharged from hospital a second time, her mother announced today in a blog post.

"You will be glad to hear that Hélène is now back at her 'home away from home in Toronto' and that she’s feeling well," Manon Campbell wrote. "Many tests were done and we are now waiting for results in order for the team to make adjustments to her medication treatment."

Hélène Campbell, a 21-year-old Ottawa resident, underwent a double-lung transplant on April 6 after months of waiting for a suitable donor. She was diagnosed last fall with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable and degenerative lung disease.

Campbell has gained acclaim for raising awareness about the importance of organ donation. She appeared via video on The Ellen Degeneres Show, and her tweets have caught the attention of Canadian pop idol Justin Bieber.

Now has 'great deep sleep'

Campbell had been released from Toronto General Hospital last Friday, but was readmitted on Sunday night after experiencing shortness of breath Saturday. She was taken to the emergency room due to reduced oxygen saturation, according to a blog posting late Wednesday by her mother.

"Most of the shortness of breath was felt when walking and some while at rest. So, as advised and taught before her discharge, she went to the emergency department," Manon wrote on the website A Lung Story, which has been providing updates on her daughter's treatment and recovery.

The blog entry noted that the possibility of infection and rejection of the new organs remain major risk factors, as is common for many transplant patients recovering from surgery.

Friday's update was much more positive.

"For the first time since surgery, and especially for the past few nights, Hélène is able to have some great deep sleep ... YAY!!," Manon wrote. "Hélène returned to her physiotherapy at the Treadmill Room and loves every minute of it. We are looking forward to great warm weather for some walks and to finally discover some of Toronto’s great outdoor treasures; we are told there are many."

Before she was admitted to hospital on Sunday, Hélène managed to surprise her family members over the weekend by singing happy birthday to a relative, going on a short walk, and even showing up with a birthday cake with lit candles — something she could not have done months earlier. She had been advised to stay away from lit candles because of her oxygen requirements.

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