TORONTO - An Ottawa woman who harnessed star power to promote organ donation received a new set of lungs on Friday, but still faces "many hurdles" as she recovers from surgery, her doctor warned.
Helene Campbell underwent a double lung transplant overnight after a months-long awareness campaign that caught the attention of celebrity crooner Justin Bieber, among others.
The 20-year-old was admitted to Toronto General Hospital this week after her condition worsened, and news a potential donor had been found came "just in time," her family said.
"She was quite sick and she had a feeling of dread before the operation," a marked change for the typically cheerful woman, her father Alan Campbell said.
Dr. Tom Waddell, who helped perform the surgery, said Campbell will likely remain in hospital at least a month.
Doctors have her hooked up to a ventilator and life support system, and will keep her sedated for several days, he said.
"She's got many hurdles in the next few days," and in the months to come, he said, noting there are risks that her body will reject the transplant or contract an infection.
Campbell was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis last September and was consequently placed on a transplant list.
Her campaign to raise awareness about organ donation got a major boost from Bieber after the Canadian pop star tweeted about it in January.
It hit another high a month later when Campbell appeared by Skype on the American talk show "Ellen."
The show's host, Ellen DeGeneres, shined a spotlight on Campbell's case again on Friday.
"I'm so happy my friend Helene Campbell @alungstory was finally able to get her lungs. I'm sending lots of love and healing thoughts," she wrote on Twitter.
Many of Campbell's nearly 10,000 Twitter followers sent her messages of support as they awaited the results of her surgery.
"This is such a wonderful Easter miracle _ be strong we are cheering for you," one wrote.
Her parents tweeted their thanks for the encouraging words and also expressed their gratitude to the donor's family and the hospital staff.