Jake Bailey: School Captain Gives Stirring Speech A Week After Being Diagnosed With Aggressive Form Of Cancer [Video]
Jake Bailey is a hero in every sense of the term. The 18-year-old young man, who was diagnosed with cancer a week before he was due to graduate from New Zealand’s Christchurch High School, did not let the terrible news stop him from delivering a rousing speech to his fellow classmates.
None of Jake’s classmates had expected him to be there, but when he was wheeled to the stage by one of the school’s senior staff members, there was a palpable sense of excitement in the crowd. Their school captain had made the journey from the hospital against all odds, and once he was there, Bailey’s teachers and classmates all knew that the young man had something special up his sleeve. And he did.
In what is probably one of the most heartfelt and inspirational speeches you will ever hear, Jake Bailey began by saying doctors told him a week before the graduation ceremony that he would “die in a few weeks” if he did not immediately undergo cancer treatment. As Metro reports, Jake was diagnosed with the extremely rare Burkitts non-Hodgkinson lymphoma, a viciously aggressive form of cancer where the tumor grows at an alarming rate.
“I wrote a speech,” he began, “and 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 within the next three weeks you’re going to die.’ Then they told me I wouldn’t be here tonight to deliver that speech.'”
Jake said that he had prepared his speech before his diagnosis, and he decided against changing it because it encapsulated all that he wanted to say. The brave young man even joked that his peers certainly couldn’t expect him to write an altogether new speech from the hospital bed.
“Luckily, that speech isn’t about what is to come, but it is about what an amazing year it has been. And you didn’t expect him to write a new speech from the hospital bed, did you?” he said.
Bailey then went on to deliver a greatly stirring and emotional speech, which moved his class to tears.
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. We see more and further than our predecessors not because we have clearer vision, nor greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne upon the gigantic stature and knowledge. Thank you Christchurch Boys’ High School, for the height you have offered to us.”
You can see Jake Bailey’s entire speech in the video above.
Throughout the course of Bailey’s speech, his fellows and teachers at Christchurch Boys’ High School could not contain their tears; the young man spoke with unwavering courage even in the face of his damning cancer diagnosis.
He continued, “None of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have. We don’t know where we might end up, or when we might end up.”
According to Stuff.co.nz, Christchurch Boys’ High School principal Nic Hill said he was prepared to read out the speech before he was informed by Jake’s family that he would be attending the ceremony. He said Bailey’s diagnosis has had a serious impact on the school.
“It’s been pretty emotionally raw at school because it has been really quick.”
The end of Jake Bailey’s speech was met with a spontaneous Haka, the traditional dance of the M?ori people of New Zealand, from his fellow classmates.
People who have watched Jake’s speech on YouTube have taken to social media to express their solidarity with the brave young man.
One woman wrote, “The haka when used as a gesture of respect and unity gets me every time. I cry like a baby. Fight the good fight Jake. You’ve moved a lot of people.”
Another person wrote the following, “An amazingly strong young man. I hope he defies the odds and survives for many years. He could have a great future with his positive attitude.”
He certainly could. I wish Jake Bailey a swift recovery.
[Photo via Christchurch Boys’ High School/YouTube]