Vinton, Va. – “Something in me was just like I’m going to learn how to do this just to prove to myself I can,” figure skater Anna Johnson said. Anna Johnson fell in love with figure skating since she first took to the ice at the age of 9. It quickly became a passion and through the years, she would perfect her craft. But she admits she often struggled with jumps, building muscle, and even keeping weight on. “In the back of my mind I knew that I didn’t feel good, but I wasn’t going to let it hold me back,” Johnson explained. What eluded doctors came into focus as Johnson was about to turn 20. She was diagnosed with a rare form of the terminal, genetic disease Cystic Fibrosis. Severe complications followed, including multiple reconstructive abdominal surgeries. “For probably 3 or 4 years I had to completely shut it out. I couldn’t talk to a lot of people I knew from skating. I put my skates in my closet and shoved pillows so I wouldn’t have to look at them. It was so painful,” Johnson admitted.
Johnson was sidelined for 5 years after health complications caused a serious back injury. But she made a triumphant return in November-persevering through pain and proving that here greatest signature move was her inner strength. “It was just a passing thought like 'I wonder if I could still skate? I wonder if I could do it again? It only took like two times of me being out here and I was like ‘I’m back, I have to do this again,” Johnson said. In December, she became the Main Coach and Figure Skating Director at Lancerlot Sports Complex in Vinton-no longer hiding her skates, but encouraging others-to lace’ em up. “We’re all going to have really, really bad stuff that happens and things that just break us. But you have to just look at it as a plot twist. It’s just a page, the page will turn and who knows what comes next because God is creative,” Johnson said.