A RARE form of cancer revealed James Garlick's inner hero.
He was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma - with a tumour found at the base of his spine - when he was 15.
Now 22, he has been in remission for almost five years, but said the experience changed his outlook on life.
After he finished treatment, Mr Garlick's school teachers suggested he volunteer on Cancer Council's Relay For Life committee.
Relay For Life is an annual fund-raiser for cancer survivors and their carers. Mr Garlick has been on the committee for four years, and is preparing for the 2013 Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life this weekend.
Mr Garlick said his cancer survival was partly thanks to Relay For Life.
"The whole atmosphere of the committee and the event actually convinced me that I was going to be OK," he said.
As committee secretary, Mr Garlick organises the event's ceremonies.
A third-year Newcastle university secondary teaching student, Mr Garlick said juggling his degree and Relay For Life was tricky, but his experiences had taught him to seize every day.
■ The Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life will be held this Saturday, November 2 at the Hunter Sports Centre, Glendale, and is sponsored by The Star.
2013 Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life event program;
11:00am - Gates Open
1:15pm - Team Captains Meeting
2:00pm - Opening Ceremony
2:10pm - Survivors Afternoon Tea
2:15pm - PCYC Community Choir
2:30pm - Fightback Alley
2:30pm - KinderGym 1
2:45pm - Aboriginal Dance Group
2:45pm - Jumping Castle/Tattoos
3:00pm - MCP Dance Cheer Squad
3:15pm - KinderGym 2
3:30pm - Vocal Evolution Singers
4:00pm - Ruby the Clown
4:30pm - Mascot Race & Kids Lap
4:30pm - Circus Avalon
4:45pm - Itty Bitty Dance Studio
5:25pm - Scotia Highland Dancers
5:45pm - Miss Relay Pageant
6:15pm - Amor De Salsa
7:20pm - Taylor Eyeington
8:00pm - Hope Ceremony
8:30pm - Maddie McKenzie
9:00pm - Fightback Ceremony
9:15pm - Fireworks
9:30pm - KDL Trio
11:00pm - Trivia
12midnight - Midnight 5km Run