Tony Rossi, Director of Communications, The Christophers
TV Tech Expert Grounded in Catholic Faith
Katie Linendoll felt a natural affinity and passion for computers at a young age and earned a degree in Information Technology. In the years since graduating, she has become a tech contributor for the “Today Show,” “Rachael Ray Show,” and other outlets. Through it all, Katie carries with her the Catholic faith she learned growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania. “I am unapologetically a Jesus girl,” she told me during an interview. And she really does carry her faith with her because she travels so extensively for work, from Alaska to Iceland.
One thing to which Katie is firmly committed is making it to Mass every Sunday, even when it’s not easy. She recalled a trip to the Faroe Islands, a collection of 18 islands, connected by tunnels, between Sweden and Iceland. The name “Faroe Islands” means “Sheep Islands,” which is appropriate. “There are 45,000 people there,” Katie said, “but 85,000 sheep!”
There is also only one Catholic church: “I was driving through these tunnels to get from island to island, and there’s sheep in the road and they’re not moving...[I said to them], ‘You guys have got to move!’ And they’re like, ‘Baaaaa.’” Thankfully, she made it to the church on time.
Because God is so important to her, Katie shares her faith occasionally on social media. Various business people advised her not to do it, believing it would damage her career. And she notes that she has lost a few followers. But overall, the response has been positive. Katie observed, “I found another Scripture verse on the way here…about being a light-bearer. Don’t put that lamp under a vessel. Let it shine. And I’m going to let it shine.”
One of the ways that Katie lets her light shine is by finding technology that can make a positive difference in someone’s life. Her favorite is a segment about eSight, a virtual reality-like headset that can restore vision to the legally blind who suffer from central vision loss. “We flew out to the company,” said Katie, “and the receptionist is blind and has on the device. Workers there are blind...We’re discovering that people that hadn’t had vision for 30 years can use this device and see.”
For six months, Katie pitched this story to various TV shows. Finally, “Inside Edition” agreed to use it as a Christmas segment, giving Katie the idea to put a twist on it. She found a six-year-old boy in Los Angeles, who had a brain tumor that caused him to lose almost all his vision. Katie and her sister Nadine gifted the eSight device to the delighted boy and his family. After the segment aired, Katie received grateful emails from people whose loved ones were struggling with blindness, thanking her for putting this life-changing device on their radar. “That’s a great snapshot of the things that I’m after,” she said. “It takes so much work to get that story on the air and make it happen, but it’s so worth it.”
When she’s not working, Katie spends time volunteering with pediatric cancer patients through the Batcole Foundation, which was founded in honor of a boy named Cole Winnefeld, who died of neuroblastoma in 2015. They use virtual reality headsets to give kids a pleasant distraction while they’re receiving chemo and radiation. Katie is thrilled that she can use her God-given gifts to bring a little joy to these kids’ lives. It is just one way that she sees herself serving as a light in the darkness.
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