Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - One of Lafayette, Louisiana's most vibrant TV personalities has been battling cancer. But if you've watch KLFY's Gerald Gruenig eat his way through Acadiana, you'd never know he was in a fight for his life. Now, he can say he slaughtered his greatest opponent.

As someone who worked with him, I can tell you that the Gerald you see on TV is the same person you'd encounter in person. His big personality, as overwhelming as it may be to some folks, spreads joy and has turned him into one of the most recognizable faces in not only south central Louisiana, but across the state.

We had a blast when we were honored by a new Mardi Gras krewe as their first king and queen in 2020 before the world shut down because of the pandemic.

Courtesy Tracy Wirtz
Courtesy Tracy Wirtz

His star began to rise with the creation of Acadiana Eats and continued as he formed a Zydeco band that plays at festivals all over Louisiana. Gerald and KLFY made the decision to combine the two in the creation of the Acadiana Eats Festival, pairing great food and music in a way that's as unique as his charm.

Gerald Gruenig & John Weatherall Facebook via Beau Petitjean
Gerald Gruenig & John Weatherall
Facebook via Beau Petitjean

In June of 2023, Gruenig was diagnosed with Hodgkins' Lymphoma. He shared with his beloved audience a message about the new challenge he was facing, admitting that the initial diagnosis was a blow.

... when you hear it man, it’s at the knees bruh."

But nothing, even cancer, can dampen Gerald's positive spirit. He latched onto every piece of good news to keep him focused on healing. The cancer was confined to his neck and the cure rate is 90 to 95%.

He scheduled his chemotherapy treatments in a way that would be effective in his cure, but with an eye on what was happening at work. He continued producing, with his trusty cameraman John Weatherall, each episode of Acadiana Eats and all the responsibilities that accompany that project.

Recognizing that he has a battalion of loyal fans rooting for the battle he was facing, Gerald was open to sharing, but never negative or downbeat.

Fast forward to now. Gerald has wrapped up the 2023 Acadiana Eats Festival and, surprisingly, calls 2023 "the best year of his life." He referred to the festival as "a benchmark" for him and his family because it marked the imminent end to his chemo treatments.

Gerald received his final infusion this week. The timing was by design:

When we scheduled my infusions I’d have one left by the time of the festival, and that’s how I wanted to set things up when I found out how many infusions I needed to do and what my treatment cycle would look like.

Gerald has taken the Acadiana Eats show on the road beyond the borders of Acadiana. Now that his cancer journey is in the rear view mirror, we can't wait to see how much farther he can go in promoting Acadiana, our culture, and his music.

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