From being a world champion to sustaining a serious brain injury and setting a goal to walk by Christmas, this is the story of how ski cross star Anna Holmlund continues to beat the odds.
At the peak of her career Anna was number one in the ski cross world cup and finished third in the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi. Her goals were to win and to evolve and strengthen as a professional skier. Her aim was to be the best ski crosser in the world. Today, however, her goals are different yet nonetheless challenging.
On this day, Anna, an Olympic medalist in her sport, was training in San Candido, Italy in preparation for a world cup race. A routine training run ended in a devastating crash in which she suffered severe internal brain hemorrhaging. Anna was immediately flown to the hospital in Bolzano where she had emergency surgery and was put into a medically induced coma.
Two weeks after the crash Anna was flown home to Sweden where she was transferred to intensive care at Karolinska hospital in Stockholm. The neurological damage she suffered was more severe than first anticipated. She was later moved to a rehabilitation clinic in Danderyd, Stockholm.
After nearly three months in a coma, Anna woke up to a new reality and a long road ahead. She was, and still is, facing the toughest battle of her life. Her overall improvement is crucially dependent upon the first two years of her rehabilitation process.
One of the first things that caught Anna’s attention when she awoke was a drawing next to her hospital bed. The drawing, made by a little girl, depicted a heart with the words “World’s best skier” written on it. Anna turned over to her parents with wonder in her eyes and asked, “Am I the best in the world?”
In July 2017 a decision was made to move Anna back to Sundsvall, her hometown, where she could continue on her road to recovery in closer proximity to her family and friends. Thus began a new chapter in her rehabilitation process. Her treatment continues and her prognosis is undecided.
On the fourteenth of October, during her first official appearance after the accident, Anna showed the world how far her strong will had taken her. With a smile on her face and together with cross-country star Charlotte Kalla, she christened a roller ski track on Alnö, an island outside of Sundsvall.
Anna is now able to communicate in short phrases. Small tasks that were once simple are now very energy consuming, and she faces limitations with short term memory. One should remember, however, that she has risen from devastation, and she continues to set up new goals for her future with the help and care of others. Anna’s ever present will to evolve helps her push herself to battle through every day challenges.
All donations go straight to Anna’s rehabilitation and future.
Anna gives her greatest thanks to everyone who already has, does, and continues to support her on this journey.
Visit Anna Holmlunds competition site at competition.annaholmlund.se