KOMO TV anchor Kathi Goertzen died on Monday. She'd been ill for years. Fourteen years ago, she got her first brain tumor. What's made her illness unique is how public it's been. As a KOMO anchor for almost 30 years, she made her living with not only with her mind, but her face and her voice, and she allowed us to watch that face and voice leave her. A lot of people wouldn't want you to see that. But she knew her outside was not the real story.
"I don't want people to go, 'Oh poor Kathi, look at her isn't this awful,'" said Goertzen in one of her last interviews. "I want them to go 'Boy, she was handed a tough thing but she's still going on and she's still living her life. She doesn't look the same, but she's still Kathi.'
So the real struggle, she said, was not us seeing the nerve damage from her illness and her surgeries and treatments -- here was the real hard part.
"The toll it takes on my loved ones and my family and having to tell them I have to go through this again, ah. That's what I hate the most is worrying everybody and my girls have been in the ICU more than any young person should ever have to. That's the hardest part is putting people through this. You know I'm tough, I'm a Cougar," said Goertzen.
"I'm a Cougar." She was from Seattle --Queen Anne High -- went to WSU, came back home and connected with us in that anchor chair.
And in staying connected with us through her illness, she let us grieve with her but she left us with more than that.
"I have a great faith that there is something much larger than me that is pulling the strings and is in charge and I just have to listen and open myself up for what I am supposed to do and it's great comfort knowing that there is more than this, and this is just a shell, really," said Goertzen.
KOMO TV anchor Kathi Goertzen died on Monday, 54 years old. I don't know whether it came naturally to her to stay in public as her health deteriorated -- some us of wouldn't or couldn't do that, but I feel grateful to her for not hiding away and for leading with love over fear.
By Bill Radke