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Thank You, Kathi

For those of us who followed former KOMO-4 anchor Kathi Goertzen's health struggle throughout the years and were touched by her work with the community, her legacy will never be forgotten.

I’ve always loved Kathi Goertzen and am deeply saddened to hear that today she has lost her battle against brain tumors, after years of struggle.

Growing up, the 5 o’clock news with Kathi was a standard in my family – we’d have it on in the background every night while eating dinner. Kathi was a huge role model for me – she is the female news anchor I grew up watching and is a big reason I chose a career in journalism.

But, it was really more than her poise on television – Kathi was an outstanding reporter with a compassionate heart. After her diagnosis with brain tumors, she fought with grace and courage – then turned to her work to help others struggling with cancer.

I admired her Health Link updates and interviews – how well she related to those she spotlighted and worked hard to report the latest advances in cancer and health research. When she became too ill to work, she still updated her friends and fans with a Facebook page where she bravely documented her illness. Her last post earlier this month was full of hope, as she tried a new chemotherapy drug and posted a picture of herself hooked to an IV.

When my friend and KOMO reporter Rose Egge was diagnosed with cancer last year, she too drew inspiration from Kathi’s fight and shared her treatment story with Stronger Than I Think I Am, a blog series hosted by KOMO that followed her treatment and perspective as a 25-year-old cancer survivor.

I wonder now if Rose’s story would have been publicized the way it has, had it not been for the work Kathi did over the last few years highlighting her personal struggle while documenting the progression of others. I think Rose said it best today in a post on her KOMO blog:

"Thank you Kathi, for giving me courage when I needed it the most and showing me that there is no shame in illness. You are my hero, and a hero to everyone lucky to have known you."

I also think of the countless other cancer survivors touched by Kathi’s story – those who benefitted from her coverage of their fundraisers, read her research on the latest medical treatment and found inspiration through those whom she gave a voice.

Kathi, thank you. As a woman, I respect your courage to break the newsroom glass ceiling and rise to the top of your field. As a human being, I respect your dignity, compassion and willingness to share your story with others. You are deeply missed and will forever be a beacon of hope in the Pacific Northwest.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jennifer Chancellor August 14, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Kathi paved the way for so many female journalists from this area ... She was a true class act, a beautiful woman and a loyal servant to public service. She will be missed tremendously. RIP, Kathi. All Cougs go to heaven.
Brent Champaco August 14, 2012 at 06:11 AM
This is a great memory from Facebook user Denise: "She used to come into Target in West Seattle and sit in the restaurant there with the baby/s, I don't recall if there were one or two, but she was so nice to everyone. She was just so sweet and kind to all. I am so sad to hear this, she was a genuine and authentic person."
Mike Lewis August 14, 2012 at 07:54 AM
I met Kathi when I first arrived in Seattle as a newspaper reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer 12 years ago. She was smart, funny and self-effacing. I didn't know her well at the time but I immediately recognized the deference she received from other journalists. To the end, Kathi remained a class act in a profession that sometimes inadequately values that quality. -- Mike Lewis, Regional Editor, Patch.com
Tu-Ha Nguyen August 18, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Dear Kathi: I worked for Fisher Broadcasting in the late 90's. I met you prior to that as my family and I have lived in Western WA since the mid 70's. Thank you for your professional work. Thank you for your personal commitment to share your medical journey with all so that many who suffer as you did would be less alone/know more about their illness. I salute you as a women, former colleague and cancer survivor. In my eyes, you are a survivor because you are survived by thousands beyond your family. You will never be forgotten. You are now in heaven with my mom and dad. BTW, Dad really appreciated you and your good questions when KOMO interviewed him many years ago. Again, my respect, love and condolences to you and your family. May you rest in peace.
Fred Jacobsen August 19, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Great tribute - for an awesome lady - thanks Lauren!

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