Deanna Kristensen is a Barriere, B.C., hometown girl who currently lives and works in Kelowna. Kristensen is well known for her outstanding photography and photo journalism. (Facebook photo)

Deanna Kristensen is a Barriere, B.C., hometown girl who currently lives and works in Kelowna. Kristensen is well known for her outstanding photography and photo journalism. (Facebook photo)

Hometown woman wins battle with COVID-19 and speaks out about her experience

A young woman from Barriere, B.C., is speaking out about her personal journey in dealing with COVID-19.

Although Deanna Kristensen is currently a Kelowna resident, she has family members in the Barriere, and numerous friends throughout the North Thompson Valley. Kristensen also worked for the North Thompson Star/Journal many years ago as a photo journalist.

In early December Deanna posted the following on her social media pages.

“Well COVID, here we finally meet. You bestowed a positive test upon me today, ironically, just as Canada is rolling out an approved vaccine. “You are an ugly invisible beast. You have chased me all year, harassing every aspect of my life and my family. Now, you have finally caught up to me. But, this is the end of you, bring on your last hit to me COVID. I will be the one saying goodbye to you soon. You are done. I will see my friends and family again, just in time to enjoy Christmas. It’s been 11 months of you haunting me and I have 14 days to kill you. This is your final match with me and after this past year, I can definitely beat you.”

A deluge of concerned comments from family and friends were immediately posted to her Facebook site, all sending prayers and good wishes for a speedy recovery.

The Star/Journal contacted Deanna, who said she was happy to have the newspaper publish her name as perhaps it would make everyone who knows her “be more aware about the danger of COVID-19”.

“I wish everyone knew what this is,” said Deanna, “I would love for people to know that COVID-19 is here and it is real. I am actually surprised that people are resisting following health protocols.”

When did she know she was infected?

“I am not sure how I was infected,” said Deanna, “But after visiting with one person in my bubble over the first weekend of December, I received a message from them on Wednesday letting me know that they had tested positive.”

She notes that although she was experiencing no symptoms at that time, “I had to immediately leave work, and half my fellow office co-workers also had to all leave as well and go into self isolation.”

Within a few days though Deanna did start to experience some COVID- 19 symptoms during her self isolation. She says that her “journey with this virus has been an interesting one so far”. It has disrupted her work, her life, and her plans for the holiday season.

“I am in Kelowna right now working for an aerospace technology company. Another big switch thanks to 2020,” tells Deanna, “I was living with Dad in Barriere throughout the summer, but found work here and was hoping to be able to come home to Barriere and be with Dad for Christmas – but I won’t now.”

The Star/Journal spoke with Deanna again on Dec. 20 when she was just out of quarantine.

“I still have lingering cold-like symptoms and am very tired,” she said, “But I’m starting to feel somewhat normal again. I’m trying to stay away from everyone as much as possible. Everyone should stay home for Christmas and look forward to being together again after they receive the vaccine.”

Deanna says it is important that folks be aware that COVID-19 is real and not a hoax, “I hope everyone up the North Thompson is able to keep this thing out of their homes.”

Christmas will be different for everyone this year, as it will for Deanna who will not be seeing family and friends during the holidays, but she will certainly be thinking about them.

“I wish everyone in the valley a healthy and safe Christmas,” said Deanna, “And I am very excited to be starting a new year soon!”

Jill Hayward is editor of the Barriere Star Journal

contact her at: news@starjournal.net