(FOX 9) - For the last three years, Laura Valvano Fischbach’s passion has been ballroom dancing, but it was her tango with a potentially deadly virus that quite literally took her breath away.
Fischbach believes she contracted COVID-19 during a girls' ski trip to Vail, Colorado, which was packed with people from all over the world for the U.S. Snowboarding Championships in February 2020.
It wasn’t until what she thought was walking pneumonia lasted for eight days after she returned to Minnesota that she got a text that someone she had skied with had tested positive for coronavirus. She then tested positive, too, becoming one of the first people in the state of Minnesota to be diagnosed with the disease.
"It was almost disbelief," she said. "I just couldn’t believe I was someone who had this because I kept thinking it was just a few cases here and there, people who had traveled internationally."
Fischbach quarantined and battled a lingering cough and fatigue for six weeks, eventually donating her blood to the Mayo Clinic so her plasma and antibodies could help people with the virus boost their ability to fight it.
She says the most frightening part of her ordeal was fearing she had exposed people in her community to COVID-19.
"It was very scary until all these people who had been contacted by the health department quarantined for 14 days and none of them developed symptoms, then I was relieved and could sleep through the night," she added.
After being sidelined by an unrelated surgery a couple of months later, Fischbach wrote a book about her journey titled "Dancing with COVID."
She did it so people will trust the vaccine and prevent anyone else from following in her footsteps if they don’t have to.