TrueNorth Respiratory was established on December 6th, 2012 by Kristen DeJong and Ashley Kostelnik after a whirlwind year that brought Ashley back home to the Yukon, and Kristen and her family moving up on a whim with a scrap-paper-plan of starting something big together.
An opportunity presented itself, and they both agreed that this was their future. TrueNorth opened for business less than a month later on January 2, 2013 in an industrial garage-turned-office. Their goals were to improve upon the respiratory care being offered in the territory at the time by bringing the expertise and perspective of Respiratory Therapists to the Yukon.
Business progressively picked up and they added their first administrative staff six months into operations. Another staff member jumped on a few months later, and another one a few months after that.
Slingshot forward to present day, and TrueNorth is out of the industrial garage and operating in a new clinic, has a high functioning, compassionate team, and has expanded on their services with best practice in mind, and the ultimate goal of keeping more Yukoners in the territory to manage their respiratory care locally.
It was her interest and passion in medicine and patient care that lead Kristen to pursue a diploma in Respiratory Therapy at Thompson Rivers University. Her studies through the program allowed her the opportunity to learn critical respiratory care in a number of settings including St Paul’s Hospital and BC Children’s. After graduation she worked as a clinical Respiratory Therapist at Victoria General Hospital and the Royal Jubilee Hospital. It was after attending a Yukon wedding she soon found herself along with her young family living in Whitehorse. It was a move that fit well right from the beginning. Enjoying running and biking are just a few of the draws the Yukon has offered her. Her work alongside her clients at TrueNorth Respiratory is what drives her to provide the best possible care in sleep and oxygen therapy. It is her goal to continue to try to enhance the availability of respiratory care in the territory.
Ashley was born in Whitehorse and has spent most of her life in the Yukon. She knew health care was her calling but couldn't settle on what exactly she wanted to do. She stumbled across a little-known profession called Respiratory Therapy, applied to university, and away she went mostly blind to what the profession had to offer. Following her studies, Ashley happily accepted a position in Victoria, BC and began work as a general duty Registered Respiratory Therapist between both of Victoria's major centres. Always willing to further her education, Ashley quickly accepted additional training on the Respiratory Wards including training to become a Certified Respiratory Educator, in the Bronchoscopy suite, and briefly in a long term care facility assisting patients on long term mechanical ventilation. Ashley always knew she could only be away from the Yukon temporarily. She and her partner returned home for good in early 2012 to the Yukon lifestyle they had missed! Running, yoga, a new puppy, and spending time with friends and her young family keep Ashley busy outside of work. Since joining the Yukon medical community with TrueNorth Respiratory, Ashley’s focus has been on best practice, continual improvement, and striving to offer Yukoners access to the respiratory care and expertise that she has seen the value of firsthand in her experience in BC.
Sheri Kostelnik, Office Manager
Kayla has been in Whitehorse for over 3 years since moving to Yukon in 2017 from Medicine Hat, Alberta. TrueNorth has been Kayla's 'second-home' since moving here, and she loves being a part of the team. With a college background in Financial Services, it makes sense that Kayla has grown into becoming TrueNorth's very own Finance Assistant. When Kayla is not busy in the warehouse or with clients, she can be found in her office jamming to music while focusing on the numbers. Although she never thought she'd work in healthcare, Kayla is happy she took the leap into the world of Respiratory Care. Kayla looks forward to meeting new clients and learning more about CPAP and Oxygen Therapy within TrueNorth.
Samantha Schalko, Office Manager
Lorna moved to the Yukon in April 2018 to join family and the TrueNorth Team. She is a mother of two awesome adult children. Lorna comes to us with more than 35 years work experience, including working as an office manager for a busy chiropractic office. Lorna loves being able to help people live the best lives they can and always has a listening ear and a welcoming smile.