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After a series of strokes, this single mom’s life ‘fell flat on its face.’ So she took up axe-throwing


After a series of strokes in February, followed by cardiac surgery, rehabilitation and then the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, single mom Erin Katz has had a difficult year.

So the 41-year-old Ladysmith, B.C., resident took up backyard axe-throwing.

“I just really needed this to give me something cool to look forward to everyday because with my recovery mixed with the social distancing and isolation of the pandemic, honestly, my ‘busy, productive, single mom, working two jobs, homeschooling the kids’ kind-of-thing really fell flat on its face,” Katz said to host Kathryn Marlow on CBC’s All Points West. 

Katz’s troubles began in early February when she suffered the initial stroke. She was trying to feed her cats when she realized she could no longer grip the cat food can.

“I knew something was immediately wrong,” Katz recalled. She was rushed to hospital in Nanaimo where doctors thought it could be an atypical migraine. Another incident and hospital visit later, doctors concluded she had suffered a series of strokes. 

Katz, who also suffered mobility issues on one side of her body, had to have heart surgery. She ended up spending over two months in hospital. 

In the meantime, her three children, two girls aged eight and 11, and a three-year-old boy, were staying with Katz’s mother.

“When I was released from the hospital, she took me in as well because I couldn’t return home yet. I wasn’t able to do stairs and I live in a two-storey home,” Katz said. 

Last weekend, Katz and her kids were able to return to their family home — and shortly afterwards, taking advantage of an offer from a local axe-throwing company, Katz got an axe-throwing target installed in her backyard. 

Katz, who had first gone axe-throwing in December, said she’s now practising one-handed throws as she’s still regaining mobility on one side of her body. She also clarifies that the axe-throwing is not for physical therapy, but rather for her mental health. 

“I’m sure there are other people recovering from something and it’s easy to feel trapped and sad, but there is hope and there is positivity and you can do things in your life to make you feel regular again,” she said. 

That thing might be axe-throwing.

Listen to the interview with Erin Katz here:

Erin Katz is just 41 years old. But in February, she had a series of strokes, which led to heart surgery and weeks of medical care. And now she’s mastering a new hobby that also happens to be perfect for physical distancing. Kathryn Marlow reached Erin at her home in Ladysmith to learn more about backyard axe throwing. 8:16


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