Ottawa lung recipient doing some breathing on own
Hélène Campbell's family says 20-year-old doing exercises in bed
An Ottawa woman who received a double lung transplant this week was doing some breathing on her own, her family announced on Twitter.
Hélène Campbell "continues to remain stable," the tweet reads, and "is able to do some breathing on her own but is still helped with the ventillator."
In another tweet, the family said Campbell is using an alphabet board to communicate when she's awake and is beginning to move around.
"She was doing some leg exercises while in bed this afternoon!" the tweet reads.
The Easter Sunday afternoon updates followed Saturday's news that Campbell was beginning to respond to commands and open her eyes.
Campbell's seven-hour surgery at Toronto General Hospital ended at about 9:30 a.m. ET Friday morning.
Doctors said the 20-year-old woman will remain in intensive care while they wait to see whether her body accepts the new lungs. Signs of rejection take up to two weeks to appear.
Hélène faces 'many hurdles'
Campbell's father, Alan, said during a news conference after the surgery that the transplant came at a "perfect time" because she had been getting sicker at a rapid pace.
Hélène Campbell achieved fame by using her Twitter account @alungstory to raise awareness about organ donation. She caught the attention of celebrities including teen pop star Justin Bieber and U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who had Campbell on her show via Skype in February to discuss organ donation.
Campbell had been waiting for the transplant surgery since last July, when she discovered she had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a degenerative lung disease, after collapsing on a hiking trail. She moved to Toronto with her mother while her father and three siblings remained in the Ottawa area.
In a news conference on Friday after the surgery, Dr. Tom Waddell said Campbell still required a ventilator and life support.
"She's got many hurdles in the next few days. Transplant patients have many hurdles over many years," Waddell said. "Going forward with organ transplantation, the biggest problem is rejection."
A live blog dedicated to Friday's surgery was flooded with messages of support Saturday.
There were a record 102 lung transplants performed last year in Ontario, the Trillium Gift of Life Network reports on its website, with 34 transplants completed so far this year and 66 people currently waiting for the procedure.