Kentucky news anchor collapses on live TV

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Louisville news anchor collapsed while broadcasting on live television Friday.

In a clip during the 7:30 p.m. broadcast, WAVE's Dawne Gee was talking about holiday shopping when she began to slur her words and slumped forward onto the news desk.

Gee was rushed by ambulance to Norton Hospital, with meteorologist Kevin Harned at her side.

"She is talking now," Harned said on the ambulance ride from WAVE 3's news station. "I am with her."

Gee is a veteran television personality who spends most weekends as the emcee of community and charity events.  The mother of three is a survivor of both kidney and breast cancer, and a vocal advocate for health and nutrition.

At Norton Hospital downtown, family and friends gathered in the emergency room waiting room.

"They don't know what it is," Gee's mother, Joanna Smith, said, adding that her daughter was undergoing a CAT scan and further diagnostic tests.  "There haven't ruled anything out," Smith added. "They just don't know."

Metro Councilman David James was home watching a movie when he received a phone call from WAVE 3 director Bill Shory at 7:40 p.m. The news director asked James for Gee's mother's phone number. Shory was driving to the station, he said, adding he did not have Gee's mother's phone number in his phone.

Shory waited in the basement emergency room with Gee's family members and friends, adding that WAVE 3's website would be updated with news of Gee.

"We have a lot of people calling us wishing her well," Shory said.

Gee, 53, has shed 37 pounds in the last year since following medical advice to eat a vegan diet for her health.

Meat and dairy products can increase cancer risk for Gee, diagnosed this year with a genetic condition that may predispose her to cancer. In the last two years, Gee has had benign growths removed from her stomach and breasts, while doctors monitor a growth in her throat.

At the hospital Friday evening, Gee was alert while undergoing diagnostic tests to understand the fainting episode, Smith said.

"She is feeling better," Smith said. "We just have to wait for all the tests to come back. Thanks for all the prayers."

WAVE 3 issued the following statement on its website shortly after the incident: "Dawne Gee is recovering after fainting on air.  She is currently being treated after falling ill during the 7:30 newscast.  She was alert and talking as she was being taken for treatment."

While her condition stabilized, family members said Gee was admitted to Norton Hospital for overnight observation.

The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal


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