A Fredericton man living with a lung disease that makes certain everyday tasks nearly impossible is out to prove that he will not be defined by a diagnosis.

Wendall Betts was told he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2012.

“My lungs were at 23 per cent capacity and I was on oxygen 24/7,” says Betts.

Betts says walking to the bathroom was at times impossible, let alone bathing or eating.

“You don’t have the capacity to do anything,” says Betts. “Breathing was more important than eating.”

Bets says help from medical professionals coupled with positive thinking helped to turn things around.

“My lungs went from 23 per cent to 29 per cent in a six-month period, and then from 29 per cent to 34 per cent, and another six months I was at 40 per cent,” he says.

With his energy improving, bets made a goal.

“I said to my wife, ‘By next summer, which would’ve been 2016, I will be able to walk across that walking bridge with you.”

It was a goal that he did accomplish.

“It was amazing to see him to be able to do that after what we’ve bene through and where we've been,” says Sharron Betts, Wendall Betts’ wife.

“We kind of had some tears, and I really just looked to heaven and I said thank you God,” says Wendall Bets. 

Bets is now organizing an event to walk Fredericton's Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, as well as the Westmorland Street Bridge.

"I’m doing it as a fundraiser for breath, the lung association and just to be able to raise a little bit of awareness and hopefully educate people to have hope and a positive mindset and belief that you can change things,” says Bets.

He plans to do it again with other supporters on May 21.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.