Kathy Katz – Why I Walk

Kathy and Timedit

Kathy Katz and Tim Oshie have known each other for 29 years. Kathy met Tim through her late husband.

“We actually met at my wedding,“ Kathy says. “Tim and my husband were really good friends in high school. Back in the day, Tim was a disc jockey and he deejayed our wedding for us. That was the first time that I met him.”

Kathy and Tim remained friends after the wedding, but lost touch with each other for some time. It wasn’t until after her husband passed away in 2012, that she and Tim reconnected. In the years since they had last spoken, Tim was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“I had heard that he’d gotten Alzheimer’s a few years back. At the time time, I was living in North Dakota. He contacted me through Facebook and we just started chatting. I came back to Washington to visit some family and friends, and we met for lunch. We just hit it off. That was about a year and a half ago, and we’ve been together ever since.”

Kathy and Tim 1Kathy and Tim currently live in Everett. She has been asked many times why she would want to date somebody with Alzheimer’s disease. Her answer is simple: “The heart wants what it wants.” While Kathy has been questioned about her relationship with Tim, her love for him is not in question.

“Even though it has progressed to the point that he’s at now, I still remember the old Tim and he’s still in there. He can still crack jokes like he used to and is kind hearted and loving,” says Kathy. “He just has these obstacles that he’s dealing with everyday, and I want to be there to help him. I just like taking care of people. If he needed anything or anybody to be there, now’s the time — and I’m there for him regardless.”

Kathy was the primary caregiver for her late husband leading up to his passing, and that experience has helped in some respects. However, the impact of Alzheimer’s disease is something she didn’t realize until she saw it for herself.

“I knew that people become forgetful. I knew sometimes things can get lost. I didn’t know the full aspects of it until we actually starting dating. It’s a learning process and I’m learning a lot. It’s amazing how many people actually are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It just blew my mind when I found out.”

Tim is one of 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, but one of few who’ve made national headlines.

Tim’s son is T.J. Oshie of the Washington Capitals, the team that won the Stanley Cup this year. After winning the Cup, T.J.’s on-ice interview included a tribute to his dad who, as T.J’s former coach, realized his lifelong dream by seeing T.J. achieve his.

Kathy couldn’t be there, but she was cheering him on back home with Tim’s family. “Everybody was crying. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was one of my prayers that T.J. would win the Stanley Cup while his dad can still remember it. Thank God that happened.”

T.J.’s interview garnered a lot of media attention for T.J. and Tim. Now Kathy and Tim are getting involved with the Alzheimer’s Association in hopes that their story will create more awareness and lead to new treatment or a cure. To support the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, Kathy and Tim will be walking in Everett on Saturday, Oct. 6 in Boxcar Park.

“I found out about the Walk through T.J. He and Tim did a Walk a few years back, but I wasn’t aware of such a thing. I thought ‘Wow, what a great way to try and get family and friends involved and maybe have some fun at the same time,’” says Kathy. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and hearing everybody’s story.”

Alzheimer’s has presented challenges for Kathy and Tim, but they’re meeting those challenges head on, and they’re doing it together.

“Hopefully one of these days we can find a cure — hopefully sooner rather than later. As far as Tim goes, he’s always staying positive and just always has a smile on his face. I want people to know that no matter what your physical or mental condition is, love is still possible.”

Kathy and Timedit.jpgJoin Kathy, Tim and the thousands in Washington and Northern Idaho walking to end Alzheimer’s disease. Register today at alz.org/walk.

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