“A week before I was due to deliver (this) speech tonight, they said “you’ve got cancer”. They said, “if you don’t get any treatment in the next three weeks you’re going to die.”
Christchurch, New Zealand – An emotional valedictory address by Jake Bailey, a New Zealand high school senior has gone viral online, attracting more than 1 million views since it was posted to YouTube on Wednesday.
Jake Bailey is a senior monitor (similar to a student body president) at Christchurch Boys’ High School. He was diagnosed with one of the world’s fastest-growing tumours — Burkitt Lymphoma — just a week before he was due to give the end of year speech.
None of us gets out of life alive so be gallant, be great, be gracious, be grateful for the opportunities you have.
“They told me I wouldn’t be here tonight to deliver that speech but luckily that speech isn’t about what’s going to come but what about an amazing year it’s been. And you didn’t expect me to write another speech from my hospital bed, did you?”
Choking back tears at times, he said: “Forget about having long-term dreams. Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals. Micro-ambitious. Work with pride in what is in front of us. We don’t know where we might end up. Or when it might end up.”
“Here’s the thing: None of us get out of life alive so be gallant, be great, be gracious, be grateful for the opportunities you have.”e.
Forget about having long-term dreams. Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals. Micro-ambitious.
Fellow students responded with a long, loud round of applause and a group of students even surprised Jake with a haka — a traditional Maori danc
Watch the full video here:
Since being announced in remission in January 2016, Jake has gone on to share his experiences, his story, and the things he has learnt that have given him clarity throughout his journey, in the hopes of helping others facing difficulties. He has been public speaking full-time for over 3 years now and has presented several hundred speeches across four dozen cities, to tens of thousands of people- for audiences of 3 people and audiences of 3,000 people, aged from 8 to 80 years old.
It is a hugely inspiring and uplifting presentation. Despite Jake’s story, the main subject is not cancer, but rather any hardship people may face in life, and it has helped many people reconcile their own experiences with all variety of adversity. He tells the full story, the lessons he has learnt, how it has changed his outlook on life, the benefit that these changes have bought him, and how others can implement them in their own lives on a daily basis.
He is the author of the #1 Bestselling book, ‘What Cancer Taught Me’, a weekly columnist for the NZ Herald, and the subject of the documentary ‘The Common Touch’. He is also an official ambassador for two charities- Maia Health Foundation in New Zealand, and Tour de Cure in Australia, and is incredibly passionate about these organisations and the differences they make.