North

Yukon woman who fought 'for her life' with COVID-19 begs others to get vaccinated

When Yukoner Darlene Jim tested positive for COVID-19, the virus hit her hard, leaving her struggling to breathe. She's now imploring fellow Yukoners not to put off getting their vaccinations.

Darlene Jim found herself struggling to breathe after contracting the virus

Darlene Jim is now in the process of recovering from COVID-19 — and she's on a mission to convince people to get vaccinated. (Submitted by Darlene Jim)

Darlene Jim still has no idea how she contracted COVID-19. 

Jim, a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations in Yukon, describes herself as a homebody who rarely goes out.  

So when she went to get a rapid test two weeks ago because she wasn't feeling well, she thought she might have bronchitis. 

Fifteen minutes later, she had her positive result — though she admits the diagnosis wasn't entirely a surprise. 

"I wasn't really totally in shock, because I didn't get my vaccination, [but] I kept thinking it wouldn't happen to me," Jim told CBC North. 

What did come as a surprise was how hard the virus hit her, intensifying to the point that she says she could barely breathe.  

She was weak, couldn't eat, and felt fear creeping in. 

"I was scared, [thinking] how far is this going to go with me, am I going to be one of the people that don't make it?"

Jim sought medical care and was quickly hospitalized, and as of late last week, was just beginning to improve. 

"Fighting the battle for your life is really scary, but I'm glad I'm home now," she said. 

'It could be you next time' 

Over the long days, Jim thought about her family and community — and about why she didn't get the vaccine. 

"I just had surgery, not too long ago, so I was waiting until my body healed. And I was scared to get the needle, because I didn't know if it was going to affect it," she said. 

"Maybe that was just an excuse, just me being bullheaded, thinking it's not going to affect me." 

Now, she's on a mission to convince those still on the fence or putting off their shots to get them as soon as possible, taking to social media to spread her message. 

"This Covid is real. I should have gotten my vaccine shots, but I didn't, and it put me into this spot that I never want to see again," said Jim. 

"You never know. It could be you next time. Please get vaccinated."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Darlene Jim as a member of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. In fact, she is a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
    Jul 26, 2021 1:44 PM CT

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