'I was lucky:' News 6 receptionist beats breast cancer

Karen Gehl celebrates final round of chemo

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sometimes people just need to be heard is a lesson News 6 receptionist Karen Gehl knows better than most.

You may recognize her if you've ever called News 6.

For the past 27 years, Gehl has been listening to viewers and greeting guests from inside the lobby at WKMG. 

"I've never met a stranger, everyone that comes in, I welcome them like they're my friend," Gehl said.

Last December, Gehl went to see a doctor about some persistent back pain. When the specialist sent her for an X-ray, he recommended she also get a mammogram. This was her first mammogram, she said, because she had no family history of cancer. The mammogram revealed a mass and her doctor diagnosed Gehl with stage 1 breast cancer.

"I was lucky," Gehl said.

For six months Gehl went through 16 chemotherapy treatments under the care of Dr. Muhammad Imam, of Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute.

"This is what I love from my best patients, and this is what I'll remember and why I'll always remember Karen because of her ability to just keep fighting," Imam said.

"Now I get to ring the bell," Gehl said.

Surrounded by her family, friends and doctors, Gehl rang the bell to symbolize an end to her chemo treatments. While undergoing treatment, Gehl had to post a sign that read, "No Hugs Please," but after her final round, she plans to take it down.

"From now on, I'm going to get hugs. Bring it on," Gehl said.

Doctors expect Gehl to continue with surgery and radiation in the coming months.

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