BEING a cancer survivor has defined the life of one Merewether Heights man.
James Garlick was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma at age 15.
He has been in remission for almost five years and volunteers for the Cancer Council's Relay For Life.
Mr Garlick is Relay For Life's state youth development co-ordinator and believes his involvement has played a huge part in his battle against cancer.
"Relay convinced me I would be OK and that I would have the bright future I deserved."
Mr Garlick said despite being adamant cancer wouldn't define his life, in a way it has.
"Funnily enough, if it wasn't for cancer I may never have gone down the path I have; it's cancer that really led me to Relay For Life," he said.
"Without Relay there would be a huge gap in who I am."
For his involvement in Relay, Mr Garlick was named Young Citizen of the Year last month by Newcastle City Council at its Australia Day awards.
As the youth development co-ordinator, he aims to establish Cancer Council clubs at universities across NSW to support cancer fund-raising events.
Mr Garlick is a fourth-year student at the University of Newcastle.
He hopes to one day be a secondary school history and economics teacher.