Friday, January 31, 2014

Loriana Hernandez, former KTBC & KXAS anchor, vows to beat cancer

Former Fox 7 KTBC & NBC 5 KXAS anchor Loriana Hernandez is fighting acute leukemia

Loriana Hernandez
Loriana Hernandez
When Loriana Hernandez left Fox 7 KTBC and Austin with her young son after seven years to join her husband at his job in Virginia, she never thought this new journey in life would lead to where she is now - a diagnoses of acute leukemia.

She had been experiencing horrible pain while anchoring for the last few months, but did not realize what her body was telling her.

Hernandez has received lots of well wishes in the media since her story went public. Her friends are also trying to help her raise the money needed to battle the disease.

Mike McGuff: Does it make you stronger to know there is so much support for you in the Austin community?
Loriana Hernandez: It absolutely touches my heart and gives me strength to have so many supporting me and rallying around me. It is not how I choose to normally live my life. For my 20 years in TV, I have rallied around so many to help others, from holding fundraiser to telling someone's story and even launching a foundation to help those with autism. My heart only knows how to rally around others. Right now, it is almost surreal to have the table turned on me and everyone rallying around me. It gives me strength. I have so many prayers being said, positive energy sent, and care packages full of love headed my way and for the first time in my life, I'm ok with it. I'm allowing it because it can save my life. I turned to social media after being hesitant to do so because I had to decide between keeping this private or having a support team like no other. I felt weak, broken down and lost, and decided I have nothing to hide and everything to gain sharing my story.
Social media and the power of a network of friends got me one of the best doctors in the country to treat leukemia. It took me 48 hours of social media and by the grace of GOD, not only did I get in Johns Hopkins Hospital, but Dr. Mark Levis called me directly himself and said, "come now your bed is waiting for you."
I'm forever grateful to my media family, FOX 7, and colleagues at all the stations who have sent prayers.

Talk about some of the symptoms you felt while anchoring newscasts?
LH: The last 6 months while I was on the air, strange things happened to me. Bone pain like no other was a big, big symptom. I remember going to work one morning to co anchor the morning show, "Good Day Austin," and my arm was asleep and numb. It tingled and sent excruciating pain that was almost unbearable. I rolled icy hot on it and pounded my arm with my fist. I tried acupuncture and more. Meteorologist Zack Shields and my co-anchor, Dave Froehlich, kept trying to help me figure out what was going on. I read the news and held my arm. In between sound bites on air, I grit my teeth because of the pain. I couldn't miss any more work.

I had some blurred vision and bouts of exhaustion but brushed those symptoms off to getting up at 1:45 am for work. Not to mention my life as a single parent while my husband and I commuted from Washington D.C. I mean, who wouldn't be tired? I just decided to get over it and ignore the pain. Once I got up and got to work, I often felt fantastic because the morning show energized me! I loved our team and had so much fun, which made ignoring the pain easier.

Were you scared to go public with this?
LH:Yes, as I mentioned before, I was scared to go public. After all, how does a health reporter who prides herself on eating a whole plant based diet (80%) and fitness fanatic get so sick?
I also hate asking for help. Again, I help rally around others. I have trouble accepting help from others without guilt. But I made the decision to do so based on two reasons. One, when I got the diagnosis, I went into reporter mode. I had to get Dr. Mark Levis. It was like getting the big interview. I was going to win at all costs and find him. The power of social media made that happen. And two, in my entire career, I have been open and shared so many ups and downs, hoping others could learn from my challenges, like weight loss or fertility and IVF, that I was not going to change and HIDE behind cancer. I have nothing to hide and everything to gain, like a cure.

Do you think your fight can raise awareness so people can get checked themselves?
LH: YES, YES, AND YES!! My message to everyone is two fold.

First, get a COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT, or CBC, every three months. My diagnosis came after conducting a blood test needed to start an embryo transfer. My fertility doctor wanted to make sure I was healthy after a bout with the flu. If it weren't for that test, I would have been pregnant with leukemia.

Let me explain how quickly it developed. My last blood test in September looked good. By Jan 20th, cancer had taken over.
Second, TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTHY, EAT HEALTHY, AND GET FIT. Who you are when you arrive at the hospital, as in how healthy you are, determines how they can treat you. The healthier you are, the greater your shot. I am on a very, very aggressive treatment because I am fit. I thank GOD I have been taking care of my body.


Will you continue to blog on about your cancer fight?
LH: YES YES YES. I am on a mission now to change lives. I want everyone to know how I fought this, how I won (I know I will), about diet and fitness after cancer, and one day, I hope to go through IVF and have the baby we were hoping to have. My goal is to inspire and educate others on my battle. Not only will I continue my blog, but I'm working on a documentary. It only seemed like a natural thing to do given my husband and I both work in TV. (He is currently a News Director for Comcast SportNet but moved up the ranks after being a photographer for many years.) We are documenting every step of this journey to educate others.
I have big plans after I win the battle, to share, educate, and inspire as so many have done for me.

--end of interview--

To see more about the fundraiser, bog to

Austin TV personalities have sent their thoughts on Hernandez and her current battle.

" I worked along side her for 7 years. I've never seen anyone more cheerful, determined, professional, smart, and caring. That's a helluva combination. She's too much of an optimist to let this get the better of her. She's a doll." - Mike Warren, 5 & 9 anchor at FOX 7 KTBC Austin

"Loriana is one of the most caring people I have ever met. If anyone ever needed anything, she was the first one to offer help, no matter what. Well now its her turn. I hope everyone who reads this either takes a moment to say a quick prayer or donate money. This is the fight of her life and she needs every ounce of support we can give her. She needs to stick around to raise her two year old son and grow old with her husband. Please help by going to this link. Any amount is appreciated." - Jenni Lee, former Fox 7 KTBC anchor

"I am so glad i had the opportunity to work with her before she left because she is an awesome person. We became friends in a hurry because she is a funny person with a great outlook on life. Loriana's smile is so contagious. It's easy being around her with her great personality and positive attitude. With her strong will and faith, this cancer has no chance of defeating Loriana!" - Zack Shields, Morning Meteorologist on FOX 7 KTBC

"Loriana is not only sweet and beloved .... she's amazingly strong and that's why we are all confident she will be able to fight this aggressive leukemia. She not only has the viewers pulling for her with prayers and positive thoughts ...she has plenty of sisters in TV news who are rooting for her with admiration and support." - Judy Maggio, main KEYE Austin anchor

(Thanks Jenni)

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