A seasoned news veteran found himself reading the teleprompter, knowing the word that was there, but being unable to say it. This and some other startling developments made him take a break from his job to try to fix the problem. After several months, he found out it was something he couldn’t fix: early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Geoff Hart, a morning show anchor at WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina, had been on medical leave since December 2020 before announcing his diagnosis in May. He shared his story in an emotional interview with his station.
Hart said he first started noticing strange things in 2018. It got really bad for him while working on promos one day.
He explained, “I couldn’t get two lines together back-to-back. I used to do 30 seconds by myself – boom! Like, nothing. And I’m like, ‘What’s going on with my memory?’ But I’m still thinking, ‘Wow, if I can just get this sleep thing, I’m going to be myself. I’m going to be fine.’”
When he ultimately stepped away to figure out what was happening, he assumed it would be sorted and he’d be back in a few months. After trying to get extra sleep and using some holistic approaches, nothing changed, though. He and his wife then made an appointment with a neuropsychologist.
During the first meeting, she told the Harts it looked like dementia. His immediate reaction was to think of his four children.
He said, “I want to live as long as I can so I can get my children to where they need to be. Charlie’s 13. I’ve got to get her to college. Jack? 15. So, that’s it. That’s it.”
After more tests, it was confirmed that he had early-onset Alzheimer’s, which led to his decision to step away from the anchor desk at WYFF. His coworkers were sad to see him go.
WYFF President and General Manager John Humphries said, “The WYFF 4 family is heartbroken by the news. Geoff is a part of our family, and we love him. We will continue to support him as he leaves to focus on his health and spend time with his family.”
Station news director Akili Franklin added, “Geoff is beloved by his co-workers and the viewers who have watched him throughout his 28-year career in the Upstate. He is a wonderful, caring journalist and has been a mentor and friend to so many in the newsroom. We will stand by his side now and in the years to come as he faces this fight.”
Going forward, the Harts say they want to keep sharing their story of living with Alzheimer’s to help others.
As for his legacy, Hart says, “I just hope that everybody in my family will take what I’ve given them and do the right things.”
To hear more of his story, watch the video from WYFF below.