Friends tee it up for pal

By John Frank, The Daily Iowan, July 19th, 2010

Tim Doherty, a former golfer and student at the University of Iowa, is like a 52-year-old with Alzheimer’s.

After suffering a brain aneurysm eleven months ago, he is recovering well but still suffers from memory loss.

“He doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, but he has the same symptoms,” said Kevin Doherty, 61, his brother and legal guardian.

On July 16, Tim Doherty met with old friends and acquaintances, people he hadn’t seen in several years. Some even traveled from the scorching Arizona to see their longtime companion.

They attended the Elks Club’s charity golf tournament, Tee Up For Tim, on July 16 to raise funds for Tim Doherty, a man who served the greens as a golf pro from 1985 to 1999.

Doherty has long since left his job at the Elks Club, where he managed tournaments, oversaw groundskeeping crews, and worked with club members to improve their swings.

Although Doherty’s cognitive ability functions on a lower level than in the past, he’s made amazing strides toward recovery from the massive brain aneurysm he suffered in August 2009, friends said.

Nearly a year after the traumatic experience at the Wig and Pen and far removed from the confines of a hospital bed, Doherty was able to shake hands and hold basic conversations with participants in the tournament.

“It’s not necessarily a charity event,” Doherty said. “It’s more of an event for a lot of our donors and vendors. It’s a feel-good tournament is what it is … I’ve been real pleased with the outcome of it.”

Kevin Doherty recounts his brother’s rehabilitation, which started at On With Life in Ankeny.

“On With Life was actually very instrumental in getting Tim to where he is now,” Kevin Doherty said. “When he left the University Hospital, he was in a coma non-response … A lot of the same people here

[at the fundraiser] were going up to visit him up in Ankeny.”

To Kevin Doherty, the bustling crowd of people and the groups of golfers on the greens in the smoldering heat is proof of the lives his brother has touched throughout the years.

The $14,000 raised on July 16 will help pay medical bills. Also, Kevin Doherty said, he plans to put together a photo album to keep the images fresh in his brother’s head.

Kevin Doherty, who is retired, houses his brother — who needs 24/7 care.

“You kind of have to watch out for him, because sometimes he’ll do some goofy things,” he said. “He goes to Pathway Adult Daycare one day a week on Tuesday. He actually walked out the door of Pathways and walked to Robert’s Dairy … He’s basically OK. It’s just that he has these memory problems.”

Doherty will never make a full recovery. He will never be the same brilliant, knowledgeable golf nut his friends and coworkers knew.

But memories of Doherty still hold strong in the minds of those who know him.

“Just being able to see all the guys I know from working out here that play out here almost every day and how much they respected Tim and how much they cared for him,” said Iowa senior Mara Porter, who works at the Elks Club. “Seeing them get all excited for this was really inspiring. It just showed how much Tim meant to them and how great of a person he is.”

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