An emotional video of an 18-year-old schoolboy from New Zealand delivering an inspiring speech to his classmates has touched thousands across the globe after being posted on YouTube last week.
Jake Bailey, a senior monitor (the equivalent of student body president in the U.S.) at Christchurch Boys' High School, was set to give a speech to his fellow students at an awards ceremony.
A week before the event, Bailey was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, Burkitt lymphoma. If not treated immediately, he would have only had three weeks to live. He was told that he would not be able to attend the ceremony.
However, Bailey took a break from intensive chemotherapy treatment to deliver his extremely moving, and stirring, speech.
The 18-year-old said: “Here’s the thing, none of us get out of life alive. So be gallant, be great, be gracious and be grateful for the opportunities you have.” He added: Forget about long-term dreams. Let's be passionatelt dedicated to the pursuit of shirt-term goals. Work with passion and pride on what is in front of us. We don't know where we might end up, or where it might end up.
He then went on to thank his classmates. “I don’t know where it goes from here for any of us, for me, for you, but I wish you the very best on your journey and I thank you for being a part of mine. Wherever we go and whatever we do, may we always be friends and meet again.”
At the end the crowd erupted in a standing ovation, sang a rendition of the school song, and some tearfully performed a haka in honor of their friend.
Afterwards, Nic Hill, the school's headmaster, told the New Zealand Herald that Bailey was presently healthy, and that although facing intensive treatments, that his prognosis was good. The fact Bailey's video had been seen, and his words celebrated and praised, around the world had left everyone at the school "humbled," Hill added. "It shows how great Jake's speech was and how courageous he actually was."