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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.

Brian Soergel August 13, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Great tribute, Lauren. I've also posted a story on Kathi on the Edmonds Patch site. http://patch.com/A-wTwq
Lauren Padgett (Editor) August 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Thanks, Brian. She will be missed.
Laurie Miller August 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM
What a truly brave lady and how wonderful it was that her family was so incredibly supportive. She will be missed and her battle never forgotten. She leaves an important legacy, connected with so many and supported some wonderful foundations. She had a rare ability with people and was filled with compassion. and kindess. She believed there was much more for her after the life she and we all came to know. Where she now goes, into the hands of God, may she continue her quest of service to others. Rest In Peace our dear Kathi.
Richard Bray August 14, 2012 at 01:20 AM
A classy lady who led an incredible life and showed us that there's also great dignity in illness and suffering. God bless you Kathi for your example of how to live with purpose! I'm glad you are no longing suffering and I'm sure you're hearing "Well done my good and faithful servant."
Robin Helene Hebert August 14, 2012 at 02:27 AM
She made you feel like you were her friend...very warm and professional in her career as well. My condolences to her family and her KOMO family.
Christie Anderson August 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
I agree with Brian, Lauren....what a lovely tribute to a remarkable woman who touched so many lives....she will be greatly missed and remembered by all who knew her, whether personally, or in a background newscast while sitting at the dinner table. Thanks Lauren for this touching memorial on Kathi Goertzen.
Marilyn Hendrickson August 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Several years ago, my husband did a live on-air interview with Kathi. He was so nervous and she was just unbelievably understanding and gracious. She did her very best to put him at ease and her kind, caring spirit was unforgettable. We love you Kathi and will miss you more than words can say.
Marilyn Hendrickson August 14, 2012 at 02:39 AM
She sure did Robin....she was a class act.
Akiko Oda August 14, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I had the honor of working with Kathi when I interned at KOMO in 2009. She was incredibly smart, witty and had a great sense of humor. My favorite memory of her was ironically not about journalism. We had a good laugh about men who wear too much cologne. "If the man has his windows down in his car, and you can smell his cologne when you walk by the car--you're wearing too much cologne!" she would say. But of course, she was too classy to say that to any guy who fell victim to the over-cologne syndrome. My heart goes out to her family and everyone who was impacted by her strength and grace as a journalist and a person. You'll be missed, Kathi. You will always be an inspirational icon and a legend in this community. Rest in peace.
Dave Nelson August 14, 2012 at 03:34 AM
As a spokesperson for a local fire district , I would make my rounds to the different news stations. Kathi would be at her desk, smile and wave if on the phone. She is and always will be a classy journalist and a great woman with a nose for news. To my friends at KOMO TV and Radio big hugs.
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 (Editor) 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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