Iron Range man wins Discovery Channel reality show - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Iron Range man wins Discovery Channel reality show

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Gilbert, MN -

An Iron Range man is back home after winning a reality show on national TV. 

Luke Soderling, of Gilbert, was a contestant on the Discovery Channel show "The Wheel."

Luke was one of six people picked for the show - a survival test, pitting contestants against the South American wilderness, moving them to different ecozones on the continent at random. Their only way out was to push a button and give up the challenge, or survive the entire 60 days.

"I was ready to smash that beacon right off the bat, but the production team wouldn't let me," Soderling said, "I was ready to throw it in the Amazon. There was no way I was pushing that button. Absolutely, no way."

"The Wheel" wasn't the first challenge Soderling has overcome. 

"When I was first diagnosed, they told me I had stage three thyroid cancer," Soderling said, "I had a golf-ball-sized tumor on my thyroid and the thyroid needed to be removed."

Soderling was diagnosed in 2013. After a year of treatment, he was cancer free. 

"I wasn't quite sure I was going to be around for my boys any longer. So, it was really something that you're just not sure when you tuck the boys in to bed at night, if you were going to be able to be there for them," said Soderling, "So, going out on this adventure was something I really wanted - to show them I was back, I was strong, I was able to do these things, and I wanted to take on these things to prove to myself just as much."

Luke says he didn't get any sort of tangible prize for being on the show. The reward was just finishing. 

"I wanted to show my boys that you don't quit. You don't give up. And when things are hard, you keep pushing forward and you never, ever stop."

Soderling's family owns a plumbing business. Luke's dad helped with his work while he was away. 

Their family and friends helped Soderling's wife, Amy, take care of the couple's four sons. 

The Discovery Channel has the full episodes of "The Wheel" posted here

You can follow Luke's journey, here.

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