Sarah Murnaghan, 11, Home After Controversial Lung Transplant

The family of Sarah Murnaghan, 11, fought to change a transplant rule.

ByABC News
August 27, 2013, 11:13 AM

Aug. 27, 2013— -- Sarah Murnaghan is home today after undergoing two double lung transplants in June, a family spokeswoman told ABC News.

Sarah, who's battling cystic fibrosis, arrived home to balloons and a welcome sign around 9:30 a.m. after a six-month stay at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"There's no place like home," she said, according to ABC affiliate WPVI.

Sarah was able to undergo the transplants because her parents successfully fought a rule that prevented her from qualifying for adult lungs.

"I am so thankful to GOD, Sarah's donors, and the hundreds of thousands of you who stood beside us and fought for Sarah," Sarah's mom, Janet Murnaghan, wrote on Facebook on Monday night. "We entered CHOP on Feb 19, more than six months ago. I never could have imagined the journey that lay in front of us. If you are struggling with something bigger than you, I can say two things for sure; God is GREAT and so is the human spirit. There are so many beautiful people in the world! Thank you!!!!"

Read about Sarah's 11th birthday celebration in the hospital.

For the first time in two-and-a-half years, Sarah no longer needs supplemental oxygen but she still uses a machine to help her breathe, according to family spokeswoman Tracy Simon. She can walk with a walker and is focused on rebuilding the muscles that weakened during the time she was immobile before and after surgery.

When asked about her homecoming in a video posted by her family, Sarah said the ambulance ride was "pretty fun." She spent her first day outside the hospital dancing and doing arts and crafts with her siblings, she said.

Sarah will have round-the-clock nursing care for the next two weeks, WPVI reported. After that, she will have part-time nurses and plans to start school from home.

See Sarah blow a kiss and wave for the camera on July 4.

Janet Murnaghan started a petition around Memorial Day, calling attention to what would become known as the Under 12 Rule, which said that even though Sarah would be given priority when pediatric lungs became available, adult lungs would have to be offered to adult matches in her region before they could be offered to her.

On June 5, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from enforcing the rule for Sarah. By June 10, the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network re-evaluated the Under 12 Rule and decided to keep it but created a mechanism for exceptions, depending on the case.

Read more about the transplant policy review.

Sarah received a double lung transplant on June 12, but the transplant failed. On June 15, she received a second lung transplant.

Sarah's parents are expected to talk about her homecoming today at a 4 p.m. press conference from the family's home in Newtown Square, Pa.

ABC News' Beth Loyd contributed to this story.