Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Congratulates Hélène Campbell On Her Organ And Tissue Donation Advocacy Efforts
Canadian Double-Lung Transplant Recipient Receives Diamond Jubilee Medal from Canadian Prime Minister Harper
CHICAGO, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In her first public appearance since her surgery, 21-year-old, double-lung transplant recipient Hélène Campbell held a press conference today about her journey and work promoting organ donation. Yesterday the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper awarded Ms. Campbell with the Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work raising awareness about organ donation and her personal courage in her fight against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Ms. Campbell's social media campaign for organ donation advocacy gained international status when celebrities became engaged by her story. Through her work via the Twitter account @alungstory and her personal blog, Campbell garnered the attention of Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres which led to a rapid and continued increase in her following. Now, with nearly 15,500 followers on Twitter and thousands of blog readers, Campbell is a renowned social media advocate promoting organ donation in her vital educational campaign.
The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is particularly grateful for the awareness Ms. Campbell brings to organ and tissue donation and to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. In July of 2011, Hélène was diagnosed with IPF. With no FDA-approved treatment or cure for IPF, Hélène's physician recommended a lung transplant. Considering that IPF is a main reason for lung transplantation, and that the demand for lungs exceeds the supply, Hélène’s message is extremely important to the pulmonary fibrosis community.
The Foundation's spring/summer issue of the Breathe Bulletin features articles on organ donation and stories of lung transplantation that highlighted April's designation as Organ Donation Awareness Month. In the issue, the Foundation featured an interview with Illinois' Secretary of State, the Honorable Jesse White, who oversees the Illinois Organ and Tissue Donor Program and two stories on lung transplantation, including Ms. Campbell's.
Ms. Campbell's interview provided the Foundation with a moving testimonial about the importance of organ donation and awareness in the fight against pulmonary fibrosis. Hélène expressed her hope for the future of organ donation saying, "If we can change not just the mindset, but the feeling towards organ donation of just one generation, it will follow us for years to come. Because we shouldn’t see organ donation as a bad thing.” Ms. Campbell is truly making a difference in her call to action. “I know it’s facing [your own] mortality [to consider organ donation], and it’s a tough time, and it’s not easy. But we can talk about it once, not dwell on it, and close that door, because it is something that we can benefit from in the future.” Wise beyond her years, she talks of her strength saying, “People are really stronger than they think they are. And they’re put up to this, to face stuff like this, and we can do it, it’s in us.” To read the whole interview with Hélène Campbell, please visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/breathebulletin.
About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is to help find a cure for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), advocate for the pulmonary fibrosis community, promote disease awareness, and provide a compassionate environment for patients and their families. The PFF collaborates with physicians, organizations, patients, and caregivers worldwide. December 1-3, 2011 the PFF hosted its first biennial international scientific conference, IPF Summit 2011: From Bench to Bedside, in Chicago; PFF Summit 2013 will be held December 5-7, 2013. For more information visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org or call 888.733.6741.
About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
According to the National Institutes of Health, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which over a period of time the lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff, and scarred. The development of the scar tissue is called fibrosis. As the lung tissue becomes scarred and thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and other organs don't receive the oxygen they need. In some cases, doctors can determine the cause of the fibrosis, but in most cases, there is not a known cause. When there is no known etiology for the fibrosis (and certain pathologic criteria are met) the disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF. IPF affects approximately 200,000 individuals in the US, and the annual mortality is estimated to be 40,000. At present there are no FDA-approved medical therapies.
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