When Sameer Alazraqi left Iraq in 2014, terrorist group Islamic State occupied about one-third of the country.
The extremist militant group had reached the borders of Baghdad, where Mr Alazraqi was living with his pregnant wife and three children. They were closing in on the city.
For 40 years, Mr Alazraqi said his home country had been unstable. He constantly felt unsafe. He had high hopes that would change when America invaded in 2003, but it only escalated after he was tasked with rebuilding the military health facilities in the country.
Originally trained as an orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Alazraqi worked as a military doctor. When the US dismantled the Iraqi armed forces, he moved into an administrative role to re-establish the military medical system. His title was director-general of the military medical system and surgeon-general of the military medical command.
"No one wanted to join because it was very dangerous," Mr Alazraqi said. "Al-Qaeda used to target professionals, teachers, officers in the army. They would kidnap them and kill them."
He stayed in the job for 10 years and recruited thousands to military health roles.
"It was every day stress," he said. "We should change our way back and forth to our house, we should change where we sleep this night or the next night. Should I sleep at the office, should I go to my father's house or my uncle's house, or sometimes in a hotel. It was horrible."
Even his wedding day in 2007, when he married his wife Inas, was stressful. The couple couldn't invite relatives for fear of being targeted. There were 100 to 200 deaths every week in Iraq, either by improvised explosive devices, or people were kidnapped and slaughtered, at that time.
But he continued to do the job he felt was vital to the survival of the country.
"We have built all the military assets in the units, we built clinics inside the troop bases. The US used to support us, if we needed training they would support us."
But in 2013 Mr Alazraqi fell ill. He suffered chest pain and was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. He had open heart surgery. During his recovery he decided the stress of the job was too much.
He was offered a position as Defence Attache in Australia. He and his family arrived in Australia in June, 2014.
Not long after they arrived in the country, the minister changed and Mr Alazraqi and his family were recalled back to Iraq. It was at this point they made the decision to stay.
"The new minister, he doesn't like me, I don't know why. We decided not to go back because it is very dangerous for us. I can't guarantee the safety of my wife with those very bad people."
The family, including four children - Hussein, 10, Abbas, 8, Maryam, 6, and Ahmed, 4 - are on bridging visas. They were denied permanent residency but are awaiting the outcome of their appeal.
Mr Alazraqi studied to take the exam to allow him to practise medicine in Australia, but his heart condition deteriorated.
He recently spent two weeks in hospital following a heart attack.
Despite the setbacks, Mr Alazraqi wants to contribute to the community. He said he's had trouble getting work because he's on a bridging visa.
Canberra Refugee Support has awarded Mr Alazraqi a scholarship to help him study medical administration at Canberra Institute of Technology. He completed his Certificate 2 in Business Administration in 2018 and is hoping to continue Certificate 4 in Population Health when his health improves.
"Because I have a medical background I would like to be employed in something related to health here," he said.
"I finished a mentorship program in medical administration at Calvary Hospital."
At the moment, he is supporting his wife and her English studies and helping his four children with their homework. But he dreams of working again.
"I want to be part of the community, I want to work, I want to serve this country which has saved us from terrorism."