Young Woman Awaiting Lung Transplant Shows Power of Social Media to do Good

Mar 19

The power of social media to wield good is irrefutable to anyone who has taken notice of 20-year-old Hélène Campbell’s digital footprint. Diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in September 2011, she now awaits a double lung transplant. Shortly after her diagnosis, Campbell began documenting her experiences on her blog, A Lung Story, which included a move from her native Ottawa to Toronto so that she could be close to Toronto General Hospital when that fateful call arrives.

With her lungs operating at about one-quarter of their capacity, she remains uplifted by the outpouring of support she has received around the world. Justin Bieber was among the first to boost to her social media presence when he tweeted about her #BeAnOrganDonor campaign. About that success, she wrote in her blog:

This is the kind of response we wanted. Guys, we did it. As a team, we used social media, put it into use and for a good cause. I am sorry to those who got in trouble with their teachers in school or approached by your bosses at work for being on your phone, but it paid off.

As a result, Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network website beadonor.ca saw a huge leap in new donors and has ever since been averaging more donors per day.

Next, Campbell appealed to Ellen Degeneres with a video she posted on her website. It worked. She appeared via Skype on The Ellen Degeneres Show shortly after, where the host surprised her with pair of tickets to Toronto’s Hunger Games Premiere tonight. She tweeted earlier today to her 9000+ followers:

@TheEllenShow My brother and I are SO exited to see the Hunger Games tonight, my oxygen has been cranked up all day

— Hélène Campbell (@alungstory) March 19, 2012

No one can dispute the success of her blog, where her online presence first grew. There, she states the goals as:

  1. To document the journey of a remarkable, energetic young woman who now needs new lungs to breathe well again.
  2. To permit those who want to help financially by contributing to Hélène’s living expenses in Toronto.
  3. To raise the awareness of organ donation registration and the importance of giving blood.

Her shared experience continues to be a testament to the power of social media to do good. A lesson that is well worth learning for all of us.

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