A Fredericton, N.B. man is out to prove to others that it’s possible to live a full life with the lung disease COPD and to even set new fitness goals.

Wendall Betts was diagnosed in 2012, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a group of progressive lung diseases that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and other conditions. At the time, he had just 23 per cent lung capacity and was on oxygen constantly, making even simple tasks such as walking to the bathroom a huge challenge.

But with help from medical professionals, lifestyle changes, and a good dose of positive thinking, he turned his health around. Over the course of a little more than a year, he brought his lung capacity up to 40 per cent, and in 2015, he set the goal of walking across one of Fredericton’s walking bridges.

This year, he is organizing an event to walk two of Fredericton's bridges, as a fundraiser for the Canadian Lung Association. But he’s also doing it to inspire the million or so other Canadians living with COPD that it’s possible to live a full life with the disease.

“Just to be able to raise a little bit of awareness and hopefully educate some people to have hope and a positive mindset and belief that you can change things is so important,” says Betts.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore