04/07/2012 02:57 EDT | Updated 06/07/2012 05:12 EDT

Helene Campbell, Ottawa Organ Donation Advocate, Starting To Stir After Double Lung Transplant


TORONTO - The family of an Ottawa organ donation crusader spent the day in seclusion Saturday, keeping close watch as she started to stir following a double lung transplant.

After months in the limelight, Helene Campbell's parents asked for privacy so they could focus on their daughter, who remains on life support in a medically induced coma.

But they shared her first small steps toward recovery with the thousands of people who have followed her battle with lung disease and her efforts to raise awareness of organ donation.

Manon Campbell took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon, saying her daughter was "responding to commands at times and trying to open her eyes as well."

Still, she wrote, it is "very crucial to keep her calm + resting."

Wishes for a speedy recovery continued to pour in Saturday on Twitter and on Campbell's blog _ the very devices that helped her rally celebrity support for her cause.

She was admitted to Toronto General Hospital this week after her condition worsened. Doctors learned of a possible match early Thursday and called her into the operating room just after midnight.

The lead surgeon, Dr. Tom Waddell, said Friday she will likely stay in hospital at least a month. She faces several hurdles _ including the possibility that her body will reject the transplant.

The 20-year-old was placed on a transplant list after she was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis last September.

Waddell said up to 20 per cent of those on those waiting for a lung transplant die before a match is found.

Campbell was propelled into the spotlight when her campaign to promote organ donation caught the attention of celebrity crooner Justin Bieber.

She later appeared by Skype on the American talk show "Ellen" and has been invited to return in person after the transplant.

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