North

'I am homesick': She asked for photos of Yukon, and social media delivered

Yukoner Stephenie Worth is in Vancouver recovering from a stem cell transplant and missing home. She asked people to send her photos of home — and the response was 'overwhelming.'

Yukoner Stephenie Worth in Vancouver recovering from a stem cell transplant

When Yukoner Stephenie Worth, recovering in Vancouver, asked people to share photos from home on Facebook, she got dozens of replies — including this beauty from Mikael Bruce. (Mikael Bruce/Facebook)

It started with a simple request.

"I was wondering if I could get pictures of the night sky with all the stars and the moon," wrote Stephenie Worth, on the Whitehorse Rants and Raves Facebook group last week.

"I am homesick."

Worth lives in Tagish, Yukon, but she's now in Vancouver recovering from a medical procedure. She was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer, and in October she had a stem cell transplant.

She's had to stay in Vancouver since then and won't be able to come home until late January, at the earliest.

Worth says she get a little tired of seeing gray skies and concrete buildings in 'Raincouver.' (Submitted by Stephenie Worth)

Being stuck in a city far from home has been tough. In Tagish, Worth loves stepping outside to breathe the air and take in the scenery — the dark skies, the northern lights, the trees, and the wildlife. 

"Raincouver," as she calls it, just can't compare.  

"Sometimes I get to see the mountains, I get to see a little bit of the ocean — but it's just not the same. And all you see is like, concrete buildings. So it really makes you miss home."

That's what sparked her Facebook request — instead of looking through her rain-streaked window in the city, she wanted a little window to home.

Yukoners were more than happy to share their view. Pretty soon, Worth's post had a string of photos in the replies. Other people sent pictures directly to her.

They gave her the sky, the stars and the moon, and a whole lot more — snowy forests, shimmering moonlit lakes, the city ablaze with Christmas lights. 

"I asked for the night sky, but I got pictures of everything else ... It's been overwhelming, but I'm loving every bit of it," Worth said.

Some of the dozens of replies to Worth's Facebook post. (Facebook)

"It's amazing to see all the different photos from different photographers from all walks, like beginners to the experts ... It's lovely."

Time to recover

Some people have also posted messages wishing her a speedy recovery. Worth knows, though, that she's still got some road to travel.

It makes me want to get better faster, so I can come home.- Stephenie Worth

She'll be in Vancouver until the new year, and once home she'll still have to take it easy. She'd love to celebrate her homecoming with a party at Whitehorse's reopened bowling alley but that will have to wait.

"I have to be careful still because I have no immune system. So I'm like a newborn baby. I have to get re-immunized, I have to stay away from sick people, [because] I can get sick really fast — it's just like having a regular transplant."

What she most wants now, though, is to be able to just step into some of those photographs, absorb the silence, and feel the familiarity of home. 

Another beauty shot shared on Worth's Facebook post, from Akvabela Martakova. (Akvabela Martakova/Facebook)

"I would love to go home to Tagish, and just do that for one night. Just look at the sky, without any city lights and traffic. I'm tired of listening to the traffic, oh my God."

She hopes the photos keep coming — and she's especially hoping for some animal shots. She misses seeing wildlife, even the foxes that skulk around Whitehorse.

Her virtual book of postcards isn't just a nice diversion, she says — it's actually helping her "a lot."

"I got my little wish. And so when I have my sad days, I just start looking at those pictures," she said. "It makes me want to get better faster, so I can come home."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story referred to the stem cell transplant as surgery. In fact, it is a non-surgical medical procedure.
    Dec 18, 2019 12:15 PM CT

Written by Paul Tukker, with files from Dave White

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