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‘Be Gallant, Be Great, Be Gracious, Be Grateful,’ Says N.Z. School Boy Battling Cancer

Full credit to 18-year-old New Zealander Jake Bailey from the Christchurch Boys’ High School for his strength and courage.

Despite being recently told he has a very aggressive type of cancer, he managed to give an inspiring speech to his school last Wednesday and the video of it has gone viral around the world.

“Moral strength is about making a conscious decision to be a person who doesn’t give up when it would be easy to, to be lesser because the journey is less arduous,” Jake says in the video above.

“But none of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, be grateful for the opportunities you have,” Jake said.

Jake was diagnosed with one of the world’s fastest growing tumors, Burkitt lymphoma, just a week prior to the senior prize giving day at his school where he was expected to make the speech, reported the New Zealand Herald.

It’s such an aggressive cancer that the doctors even initially told Jake that he may not have lived long enough to give his speech. He is currently undergoing intensive chemotherapy. Jake is the senior monitor, or head boy, at the school.

You can see his speech in full below, which includes a rousing haka after he finishes:

Nic Hill, the school’s headmaster, said in a statement: “Jake’s many attributes will help him through this battle, and we’ll be with him every step of the way.”

“We’ve also had feedback from people who have faced this form of cancer. Though Jake faces a tough time ahead the prognosis is positive,” he said.

‘One thing he must do is start thinking about himself rather than others.’

“We’ve had a huge amount of feedback about Jake. Here’s a recent one: ‘I’m proud of being an old boy today. I watched with tears in my eyes watching the wonderful and moving speech made by Jake Bailey.'”

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James Burke
What keeps the world ticking? James is always looking for the answer and the latest news from around the globe. When he's not behind his computer, he's basking in the Thailand sun, or dreaming of the southern hemisphere, where he grew up in rural Australia.

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