"I am going to die one day, but not every day - I am going to fight this like hell."
They are the words of orthopaedic surgeon David Healey, who, after dedicating a lifetime to helping others retain movement, has tragically been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, or ALS, as it is known in his Canadian homeland.
Dr Healey and his family moved to Australia in 2015, on the search for a change of lifestyle, a warmer climate and most importantly the opportunity to pass on his expertise to future generations at the Tamworth teaching hospital.
That was until last September, when Dr Healey noticed that his walking gait had changed, and he had what is known as a foot drop. Soon after, his worst fears were realised.
"I did a nerve conduction study which didn't show anything, and thought I might have crushed a sciatic nerve," he said.
"When it didn't get better, and started to get worse I instantly knew what it was, but hung out for anything else that it could be.
"I had another appointment booked with the neurologist in December, but I wouldn't go because I knew what she was going to say."
Dr Healey was officially diagnosed with MND in January, although kept that news from his two daughters until the day after Easter, for fear that Lauren, fresh out of the HSC at Calrossy, would not go off to university in Melbourne, while older sister Sarah is following in her father's footsteps at Perth's Curtin University.
"It is a horrible diagnosis and disease - that first night I was trying to solve all these problems about my family and their future," he said.
"The following day a neurologist friend told me 'no one can tell you how this is going to go, or how it will end'."
"At that stage I was losing hope, but after that I thought I am going to fight like hell."
Soon after Dr Healey joined forces with Professor Dominic Rowe, a leading researcher at Macquarie University who has dedicated his life to beating what he calls 'the beast'.
Dr Healey is now taking three different medications, including a trial medication to slow the effect of the disease, and continues to work.
"I love helping people so will continue to do that as long as I can," he said.
"I am going to throw everything at this, and make the best of every day - find the beauty and humour in everything and appreciate what I have, because sadness just wastes time."
Unfortunately Dr Healey isn't alone in Tamworth, with the region known as a cluster, or hotspot for MND, however the reasons for that remain unknown.