Erin Katz landed a bullseye on her backyard target board (Submitted photo)

Erin Katz landed a bullseye on her backyard target board (Submitted photo)

Ladysmith stroke survivor uses axe throwing for relief and recovery during COVID-19 pandemic

Erin Katz spent eight weeks in hospital recovering from multiple strokes

Erin Katz, a single mother of three from Ladysmith is using backyard axe throwing as a tool in her recovery after suffering multiple strokes in February.

“It was awful. You just wake up one morning and your life is completely changed,” Katz said.

Katz spent eight weeks in hospital, and recently returned home to Ladysmith on April 19. During her eight weeks, Katz relearned how to walk with a cane, and how to walk up stairs. Her left side was partially immobilized by the stroke.

“My arm isn’t really responding, but my leg is doing so much better. I can walk with a cane, and I can do 13 stairs now,” she said.

Prior to her stroke, Katz had started axe throwing at Axe & Grind axe throwing club in Nanaimo. She fell in love with the sport, and hoped to make it a regular activity. Axe & Grind clubs in Nanaimo and Victoria have been closed due to COVID-19, however they are selling backyard target boards for anyone who wants to continue the sport at home.

“Coming home and not having much activity to come home to, because I’m so limited, and self-isolating, I needed something fun to do,” Katz said. “It makes me feel fierce. I can still do cool stuff, even though my body isn’t cooperating and the world is shut down.”

Danny Hamilton, owner of Axe & Grind said that people with disabilities and mobility issues have participated in axe throwing at Axe & Grind in the past. Hamilton came to set up the target board in Katz’s backyard, and gave her instructions on how to throw safely.

“We can teach anyone to throw an axe,” Hamilton said. “But this was a pretty special case.”

Hamilton participates in the online World Axe Throwing League, and competes against axe throwers from around the world in games of axe throwing. He was moved by Katz’s story, and has offered to train Katz in the sport.

“She can call on me anytime. We can do video chats, and I can coach her by video,” Hamilton said.

Because her left arm is immobilized, Katz can only throw one handed axes at this time. She hopes to work her way back to throwing two-handed axes in the future.

Katz’s children now think they have the coolest mother in the world. Her children Ellery, 11, and Emmy, 8, participate, however her youngest Luke, 3 is not allowed to go anywhere near the axes until he’s old enough participate safely.

“It’s so huge right now. It’s the only thing I look forward to every day,” Katz said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pnina Benyamini strikes a yoga pose. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

Island Health’s acting medical health officer for the central Island says schools are very safe, even after COVID-19 exposure at five schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this month. (File photo)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Qualicum superintendents ask Island Health about COVID-19 safety at schools

Central Island medical health officer answers questions parents have been asking

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have ruled out fouled play in the death of a woman in Chemainus. (Black Press file photo)
No foul play in death of woman in Chemainus

Police officers make determination after an investigation

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read