AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – One former Augusta Mayor shares how though his fight with cancer has just begun, so has a new meaning for his life.

Author, Changemaker Leader, and former Mayor of Augusta Deke Copenhaver’s life has changed forever more than one month ago. 

“The inflammation went away but the laryngitis didn’t. So, then I went back in and had a C-T Scan the week after Masters, and the following week I was diagnosed,” Former Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

Copenhaver served the city of Augusta as a leader for nine years. 

“It’s interesting with the cancer walk, we were able to raise– for our team– over $50,000. But that just shows me that spending nine years creating a sea of goodwill here, that sea of goodwill is still here,” Copenhaver said. 

And after that, he continued on his path to creating change by being the maker of it. 

“I’ve led a very blessed and interesting life. Spending nine years as mayor, but running my own small business, writing a best-selling book, doing leadership coaching, keynote speaking, Ted Talks. It’s just, the Lord has just blessed me with so much opportunity and I just– I like to take advantage of it,” Copenhaver said.

He tells me the new challenge he faces with stage three esophageal cancer is just a motivating piece to his puzzle. 

“When the diagnosis came, I’m like ‘what can I do to help other people through this?’ And I think one of the things I’ve said about leadership, in general, is that the only power that leaders should concern themselves with is the power to inspire,” Copenhaver said.

Outside of a waiting room, Copenhaver still spends his time being a part of things bigger than himself. 

He says doctors are hopeful about his prognosis and the thing that has helped him most is simple.

“I’m two weeks into treatment, no side effects, I’m going to the gym every day, eating well so I’m doing good. Five and a half weeks of treatment then surgery four to eight weeks after that– the goal is the complete cure,” Former Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

Copenhaver tells me though this could have been an ending point for life in some ways, it was the reason for a new beginning.