WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 29, 2013, 09:48 PM

A local soldier is back home from Kuwait, and battling a brain tumor

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- A local soldier is back home from Kuwait, only to go on a more personal battle.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- A local soldier is back home from Kuwait, only to go on a more personal battle.

24-year-old Luke Gaukler was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Tonight, a benefit at the Pickled Parrot raised money for Luke, a soldier with the 188th Vertical Engineer Company out of Wahpeton.

While serving in the hot deserts of Kuwait, something strange started happening to Luke Gaukler.

Luke Gaukler- Soldier Diagnosed with Brain Tumor: "I started getting these déjà vu type feelings. Some of them made me nauseous."

The 24-year-old wondered if it was a symptom of PTSD, the only explanation he could think of.

After he returned home, the strange sensations continued, hitting him about 20 or 30 times a day.

Luke: "February 28th I had an actual grand mal seizure. I kind of shrugged that off."

But after another seizure, he went to the Emergency Room.

An MRI brought back news no one wants to hear.

A brain tumor that doctors said was inoperable.

Luke: "it's on my right hippocampus, so it's kind of inside my brain. That's why they initially thought it was inoperable."

After further research, doctors gave him some good news - there are surgeons capable of operating on the tumor.

Next week, he travels to Mayo Clinic.

But surgery means he won't be working for awhile.

Calie Craddock with Military Ovation served overseas with Luke and helped plan a benefit.

Calie Craddock- Military Ovation: "We knew immediately we had to step up. He was an amazing soldier over there, and just this bright spirit that always brought humor to everybody's life."

That light-hearted attitude is part of what Luke says is helping him get through a tough diagnosis.

Luke: "They said it was a jellybean size and I asked them, "what flavor?" It doesn't really matter to me. I'm in God's hands, that's my view."

If you would like to help out, there is a benefit account set up under Luke's name at Wells Fargo bank.