Ryan Channells is continuing to help fight the bushfire crisis while dealing with his own private battle.
The 42-year-old was diagnosed with stage four metastatic melanoma, the day before the catastrophic fire conditions impacted the Mid North Coast on Tuesday, November 12.
The volunteer NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighter chose to help fight the blazes, despite the devastating news.
The Wauchope resident is also a father to two children. Skye is three months old and Toby is two-years-old.
A small lump prompted Mr Channells to visit his general practitioner.
However after blood tests came back normal, Mr Channells sought advice from another doctor.
"The new doctor asked me to undertake two scans and a biopsy," he said.
"My advice to people would be always seek a second opinion if you're not happy, or something doesn't feel right.
"Now a lot of my friends and family have gone to get checked."
The diagnosis came as a shock to Mr Channells, his family and friends.
"I thought it's just a lump, they'd be able to cut it out and that would be it," he said.
Mr Channells is now waiting to undergo treatment and said he will have to travel to Sydney every week when it commences.
Mr Channells works at the Mid Coast Council at Taree and said his workplace has been incredibly supportive since he received the diagnosis.
Members of the NSW RFS have also reached out to Mr Channells to offer help where needed.
Mr Channells said his partner Carlie is the real hero, as she takes care of their children whenever he needs to fight fires or go to work.
The cancer diagnosis has taken its toll on Mr Channells' family.
"We've all been very stressed and we were just seeing a very dark tunnel," he said.
Now he's received a diagnosis, Mr Channells said the family has put a plan in place and there's now light at the end of the tunnel.
A fundraiser has been launched to support Mr Channells, his family and the financial cost of accessing treatment.
Ryan's sister Angela Channells said Ryan needs to focus his energy on himself and his recovery right now.
"If we can help reduce his and Carlie's financial worries, this can assist to lessen their load," she said.
Angela described her brother as a quintessential Aussie battler.
"Ryan is not just a wonderful dad, he is a great partner, son, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, cousin, friend, colleague and volunteer with the Rural Fire Brigade," she said.
Angela said the diagnosis has rocked the close-knit family but she said she's so grateful for all the support and kindness being shown by the wider community.
To make a donation to support the cause, please visit the go fund me page.
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