A STOIC Ron Dyne has vowed to continue serving as Gympie Mayor for as long as he feels fit and able, following his devastating diagnosis this month of inoperable cancer.
Councillor Dyne, 69, will begin chemotherapy next Friday on the Sunshine Coast.
He was diagnosed last week with bowel, liver and pancreatic cancer.
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett and the other Gympie Regional councillors are believed to be "gutted" at the news and are rallying around their Mayor.
One councillor said it was hard to come to terms with and that Cr Dyne was "a wonderful, loving, caring person".
"He has had the rug pulled out from under his feet," the councillor said.
Cr Dyne himself said yesterday he knew the months ahead would be tough but that he wanted to reassure the community he was "certainly fit enough to continue" in his role as Mayor "but will immediately take leave" should he feel he was not able to fully meet his responsibilities.
"The journey ahead will be a challenge but that is what has been determined as the best way ahead given that I cannot have surgery," he said.
He encouraged Gympie residents to not ignore any unexplained pain.
"My advice to the residents of Gympie Regional Council is that when they have pain, go to the doctor straight away so that the effects are minimised."
Cr Perrett said this was an "extremely difficult time for those who have worked closely with Ron".
"I have been his deputy for 10 years and the news he has cancer has shocked us all," he said.
"Councillors stand ready to carry on the business of local government as Ron focuses his immediate energy on treating this indiscriminate and insidious disease.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ron, Dulcie and his family as he tackles the greatest challenge of his life."