A North Canton who captured the number one spot in a 2016 Midwest ice skating competition, soon found herself asking if she would ever skate again.
Sadie Woodruff, 17, of North Canton, fell in love with figure skating after her parents traveled to Vancouver to watch the Winter Olympics in 2010. Years after hard work on the ice, a cooking accident left Sadie and her mother with severe burns.
Sadie, a GlenOak High School senior, was cooking beignets with her younger sister in the her family's kitchen when the oil caught fire.
"My mom told me and my sister to get out of the house," Sadie said. "We left and then I heard my mom scream, which, at the time, I didn’t know she was trying to bring the pan outside."
When Sadie ran back into the home to check on her mom, she stepped on the hot oil that had covered the kitchen floor.
Sadie suffered second-degree burns to her feet. Her mother, Jennifer, had suffered burns to her legs, feet, her right arm and face. Jennifer spent 23 days in the Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute at Akron Children’s Hospital, the regional burn center that treats adults as well as children.
Sadie's injuries were less severe.
"She came to our burn center for three or four days and took a few weeks to heal," Dr. John Crow, chairman of the Department of Surgery and director of the burn center said.
“It really hurt to put pressure on them,” Sadie said. “So I knew skating would be really difficult if I decided to go back to it.”
The biggest challenge ahead would be for Sadie to make her way back on the ice.
"I think I’m more competitive now," Sadie said. "I think the struggles make me want to do more."
Sadie still has some discomfort on specific jumps, but it’s those very challenges that have strengthened her goals capturing the gold medal in her own way.
"If you love it, then keep doing it," Sadie said. "If you truly love it, everything will fall into place."
Sadie's schedule is full, focusing on ice dancing as she trains two hours a day, six days a week, while also taking college credit courses at Walsh University.