Yahoo! News Canada; Saturday, February 18, 2012

When Hélène Campbell learned she needed a new set of lungs, the young Ottawa woman sprang into action.

Campbell suffers from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis—the scarring and thickening of the lungs—and knew she didn’t have time to waste. Within a few short months of her summer diagnosis, her lung capacity had plummeted to 21 per cent. She’s now in Toronto with her mother awaiting a double lung transplant.

But instead of taking a passive route, the 20-year-old decided to use her struggle to make positive change.

As CTV News reports, Campbell sent a tweet to Canadian pop star Justin Bieber last month, asking him to spread the word about organ donation.

The singer complied, re-tweeting the message to his 16 million followers.

What happened next illustrates the mobilizing power of social media and good deeds. Immediately after the Bieber tweet, Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network reported a massive jump in its visitor traffic. Even more impressive: 2,000 new organ donors registered online.

Encouraged by her early success, Campbell continued her efforts.

When popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres asked her three million viewers to send in their own toe-tapping videos, Campbell did one even better. In a video that shows her remarkable poise and charisma, she implored the host to help her get more organ donors on board.

“I love dancing like you do and without getting a lung transplant, I won’t be able to do it again,” she said, asking the host to bring up the subject on her show.

“Imagine if you could speak about it for two minutes, how many people would feel influenced to register and give the gift of life.”

Her words so moved DeGeneres, she had producers arrange a surprise Skype interview with Campbell. The interview aired on her Thursday show.

The host told Campbell she was inspired by her selflessness.

“You actually are sending this out not to help yourself, but you want to help others,” DeGeneres said, adding that she can’t wait for Campbell’s transplant so she can fly her out to California. “We are going to dance together, you and me, okay?”

Although she’s thrilled by the prospect, Campbell told CTV she needs to focus on getting healthy.

“That’s definitely one of the other many things to look forward to post-transplant. But we’re going to focus on getting [the transplant] first,” she said.

To follow Campbell’s journey visit her blog, A Lung Story.

See the online story here.