By URSULA REUTIN
"Never say you can't." That motto has been adopted by the Ballard High School's softball team this season.
Their inspiration is longtime Seattle TV journalist Kathi Goertzen, who lives the saying every day as she continues to battle an aggressive brain tumor.
On Tuesday, more than 30 players went to bat for her at Lower Woodland Park to raise money for the Kathi Goertzen Foundation for brain tumor research.
"Look at these girls, they're amazing, hitting these home runs!" Goertzen said, as she watched them from underneath her umbrella.
Goertzen's daughter, Andrea, is the team's starting pitcher. Her teammates jumped at the chance to do the home run derby to show support for her and her mom.
Despite repeated surgeries to remove parts of a growing brain tumor, Goertzen still shows up to nearly every game to root for the team.
"This is not about a fundraiser. This is to support a teammate, and our number one fan," said senior captain Jamie Thelen.
This season, the team is also wearing wristbands that say "Pray for Kathi" and "Never Say You Can't." That's something Goertzen has always said to her daughters when the going got tough.
"We've always told them to do the best you can, and never, ever give up," she said.
The saying is something she lives by now as she fights the benign brain tumor that she's had for over a decade. It affects her facial nerve and makes it hard for her to speak as clearly as she once did.
After her latest surgery less than two months ago, she received thousands of letters, emails, and messages on facebook. She is truly touched by all the support she gets from the community every step of the way.
"I was truly blown away at the response. I didn't know that I had that many people who even gave me a second thought," Goertzen said.
She and her husband, Rick, have been busy building the Kathi Goertzen Foundation for brain tumor research.
"The motto for the foundation is Inspire, Hope, Cure...Kathi's inspirational story, hope for other people with brain tumors, and to inspire research to find a cure," Rick said.
As Goertzen watches the girls battling the rain and wind to hit home runs for the foundation, she said she wants everyone to know she's hanging in there.
"It's a battle. Every day is a struggle. But what the girls are epitomizing is how I am. Never say you can't. You get up every day, and you go, regardless of what's happening to you," she said. "It's not always easy, but you just can't give up."