EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

September 1, 2013

Turning her loss into a cause

Windham mom hosts road race in her husband's name

WINDHAM — On the evening of April 14, 2012, with their two kids put to bed, Chuck and Kori Doherty were relaxing in their family room talking about their wonderful life together.

“We were talking about being old and gray together and sitting on our rocking chairs watching our grandkids run around,” recalled Kori. “I’ll never forget it.”

Less than 24 hours later, after an 8-mile jog around Windham, Chuck collapsed while walking up the driveway. Kori, seeing Chuck sprawled on the pavement from the kitchen window, tried everything, including CPR, before the ambulance arrived. But nothing worked. Chuck was dead. At age 34.

It’s been a tough 17 months for Kori, a native of Malden, Mass., and her children, Ryan, 6, and Amber, 4. Really tough.

“It pains me to see the hurt in my kids’ eyes when they ask me where their dad is and why isn’t he here,” said Kori. “It hurts me to hear them say, ‘I love you’ to me and know my husband won’t hear those words.

“Every time one of them hits a milestone — like my son going on the bus for the first time or scoring his first goal in soccer or getting his first hit in T-ball or riding his bike without training wheels, it hits me. Chuck would have been so happy to experience them with the kids.”

On Sunday, Sept. 15, in downtown Burlington, Mass., where Chuck grew up and attended schools, Kori, with much help from his family — brothers, Dan, Chris and John Doherty — will host the first 5K for CAD — Conquering Aortic Disease — in Chuck’s honor.

Chuck had been diagnosed years earlier with a bicuspid aortic valve — a common heart defect, affecting one in 50 people, that sometimes restricts the flow of blood to and from the heart. But he had long been monitored by a cardiologist and his condition seemed well under control, his wife said.

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