SIXTEEN years ago Edwin Almeida was given just weeks to live.
The Greystanes resident, who works at Parramatta's Just Think Real Estate, was diagnosed with a rare condition that has seen his body riddled with tumours and chronic pain.
During his toughest times, the motivation of the the Ecuadorian ex-pat to push on was his desire to find his El Dorado . . . and the inspiration of his grandmother.
"Her teachings and beliefs infused this passion for life in me and she never stopped me from being an adventurer," Mr Almeida, who lived in Ecuador until he was eight, said.
"I also have this belief that I haven't fulfilled my purpose yet — I've always been searching for my El Dorado, my hidden treasure.
"That passion and drive was — and is — the cornerstone for my tenacity to fight for life."
Four dormant tumours remain in Mr Almeida's body and he battles constant pain.
"This journey has allowed me to look at life differently," Mr Almeida said.
"And now it's time to put back into the community for the many blessings I've received."
After he was diagnosed Mr Almeida consented to being used as a medical "guinea pig" to help advance medical research into rare cancers.
He has launched the 100k in 100 Days challenge that seeks to raise $100,000 for the Westmead Medical Research Foundation's research into cancer and rare diseases.
A gala dinner will be held on Saturday to coincide with the inaugural Premier Auctioneers Competition grand final.
He hopes the local business community will also support the cause.
Details: The Gatsby Gala Dinner is on Saturday, October 26, Novotel Parramatta. Book at www.premierauctioneerscompetition.com.au.