- Jake Bailey, 18-year-old student from Christchurch, New Zealand to his graduating class, after being diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma and given 3 weeks to live.
BY JACOB GILLARD
An 18-year-old student from Christchurch, New Zealand, has defied all odds to send off his school year, delivering a speech to roaring applause at his high school after being diagnosed with cancer.
Jake Bailey, who had been given three weeks to live by doctors if he did not get treatment, took the stage at Christchurch Boys High School's Prize Giving ceremony in a wheelchair to celebrate the end of his high school career, after being released from hospital to take part in the event.
In late October, the teen was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, according to New Zealand Herald, an aggressive cancer which can kill if left untreated. "They said, if you don't get any treatment within the next three weeks you're going to die. Then they told me I wouldn't be here tonight to deliver this speech," Bailey said.
Reminiscing on the final year of high school — one of the most important times in any teenager's life — Bailey focused on commemorating his year's history, achievements and thanked his friends for all their support. He remained resolute throughout the speech, telling the hall the speech "isn't about what's to come, [but] it's about what an amazing year it's been."
"None of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have," Bailey said. "We don't know where we might end up, or when we might end up."
After the emotional speech finished, Bailey's cohort banded together to perform the haka for him. "I wish you the very best in your journey, and thank you for being a part of mine," Bailey said, as he finished off his address.