This schoolboy’s speech to his peers will break your heart 197



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“None of us get out of life alive.” These are the heartbreaking words an 18-year-old schoolboy delivered to his schoolmates as he made his formal speech as the outgoing head monitor of Christchurch Boys High School.

Jake Bailey was diagnosed with Burkitts non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancers that can rapidly fatal without equally aggressive treatment.

Worn, tired and clearly very unwell, the young man insisted on delivering the speech he had written for his classmates, his words given added poignancy by the fact he was in a wheelchair, fighting for his life.

He held back the tears as he told his peers, “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.

“We don’t know where we might end up, or when we might end up.’

“Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”

“The future is truly in our hands. Forget about long term dreams, lets be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short term goals.”

Finishing with the school motto, “Altiora Peto”, which means “I aim higher”, Mr Bailey was overcome with emotion as the school burst into a spontaneous Haka and gave him a lengthy ongoing standing ovation.

See his incredible speech here – have you ever seen such strength and dedication in a young man?

Join us in wishing Jake Bailey strength and hope as he faces down his cancer and, hopefully, wins the battle. 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. A good wake up call for all of us to be thankful that we wake up every morning and to be grateful for each day. My thoughts and prayers go out to this young man and his family.

  2. Debbie Bryant , I agree with every thing you have said , I watched on Sat 7th , I am 72 yr’s now it bought many of a tear to my Eyes

  3. I am often saddened or troubled by things I see or read, but I’m not often brought to tears. I was by this. Good luck to him, I hope his chemo knocks his cancer and he goes onto to lead a long productive life.

  4. An incredibly brave and inspiring young man what a wonderful speech, I wish you and your family the very best for the future. NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

  5. I am in tears watching this wonderful young man. His approach to life is exceptional and I pray that he will live to fulfil his potential.

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