Hometown Hero: 15-year-old making a difference in Alzheimer's awareness
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
Catherine Dooley, 15, is on a mission -- "I actually want to be a neuroscientist" -- with big plans to change the world.
"Honestly, I'd like to be the person to find the cure. Not for the name, but just so other kids my age don't have to go through what my family has gone through," Catherine explains.
She's talking about Alzheimer's disease and the toll it's taken on her family.
She's had eight relatives suffer with the disease. Her dad, Tim Dooley, says, "For her, it's natural. It's not something she was introduced to or snuck up on her. It's just been a part of her life."
But now, it's her best friend who is slowly slipping away.
"My grandfather is one of the most important people in my life," explains an emotional Catherine.
A successful business man, Dave Lawson made time for family.
For years, he did the Walk To End Alzheimer's with his granddaughter. He taught her to play golf, and he showed her how to savor everything life has to offer.
Catherine says, "His success has inspired me tremendously. Even before he was diagnosed, he has inspired me to continuously find a passion in everything I do," which you can see in her drive to raise awareness about the disease.
The Walk To End Alzheimer's and the resources our local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association can provide, "From just someone you can talk to that's been through the same experience to having a neuroscientist or a neurologist help your family for what to expect next. For all those resources to be available because of donations, it's amazing."
Catherine's passion for the cause is why she is our hometown hero. She does all this and more including playing for the golf team, serving on the student council and on the yearbook.
Not long after our interview, she texted Neile and told her this week, for the first time in three months, her grandpa recognized her on one of her visits to see him.