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Benefit set for father of four with brain tumor

Joshua and Jeannie Walker are shown with their children, Trinity, 11, left, and Cash, 9, at Lincoln Elementary School on Dec. 21, where the family received donations that the children raised to help as Joshua receives treatment for a brain tumor. John M. Steiner / The Sun

If you go

What: Benefit for Josh Walker

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 9

Where: Knights of Columbus Hall, 519 1st Ave. S., Jamestown

Details: Freewill donation for taco feed, 50/50 raffle, silent auction

Contact: Betty Gross, 320-2176, or Jeannie Walker, 269-6447

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Joshua Walker, who turned 40 on Jan 3, is awaiting the result of tests in his battle with a brain tumor.

"His spirits are strong and he is very positive and upbeat, essentially just enjoying spending time with his family," said Jeannie Walker, his wife. "Everybody in this community has been so great to give us support in their prayers, and people have been calling us and it's been really great."

It was sudden, Jeannie said. He woke up the morning of Oct. 21 unable to speak.

Walker was rushed to Jamestown Regional Medical Center where it was determined that he was not having a stroke, she said. Six hours later, he could speak well enough to be understood, she said.

Walker was transported by ambulance to Essentia Health in Fargo where doctors discovered a lesion on Walker's brain. He was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and diagnosed a week later with glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor with symptoms including headache, nausea, blurred vision and seizures.

Walker had to wait a month before his condition improved enough to undergo tests that included a craniotomy, MRI, computed tomography scan, blood testing and a spinal tap, Jeannie said. This was done to rule out other possible diseases and to learn more about the tumor.

"We are going to the Mayo (Clinic) on Jan. 14th for the final pathology report of a biopsy that was done," Jeannie said. "It is going to tell us the degree of the tumor and whether it is cancerous or not."

The results of the tests will determine the course of treatment, she said.

Walker has been a prefabrication worker for Duratech Industries for the past seven years, she said. He has regained his ability to walk and talk but cannot work as a heavy equipment operator because of potential seizure activity, she said.

A taco feed and the Josh Walker Benefit account at U.S. Bank are helping to offset travel costs to the Mayo Clinic and the tests and medications that are not all covered by Walker's health insurance, she said.

"Since a lot of these tests are out of the norm, they are not covered as much as a normal illness, which is typical with brain tumors," said Jeannie, who is employed as a nurse at the North Dakota State Hospital. "There was a lot of ruling out of different things they thought it could be."

Modern Woodmen of America is providing a matching fund for the taco feed up to $2,500, she said.

Walker's seizures are also putting his hobbies on hold, she said. He enjoys camping, working on older cars and riding motorcycles—all things that are difficult if not impossible with seizures.

The Walkers have two children, Trinity, 11, and Cash, 9. Josh Walker has two other children, Cayleb 9, and Ceanna, 9.

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