Inspirational head boy: 'My cancer is in remission'

Jake Bailey giving his speech at Christchurch Boys High School. Photo / Supplied
Jake Bailey giving his speech at Christchurch Boys High School. Photo / Supplied

The Christchurch schoolboy whose emotional and inspiring speech after he was diagnosed with cancer went global is now in remission. One week before senior prizegiving, Christchurch Boys' High School senior monitor - head boy - Jake Bailey was diagnosed with Burkitt non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and told he might not live to see the day.

But he bravely left his hospital bed to deliver his speech from a wheelchair in early November.

"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 that you have," he told his school.

Jake Bailey has received great news in his battle with cancer. Photo / Supplied
Jake Bailey has received great news in his battle with cancer. Photo / Supplied

Today, he released a statement saying chemotherapy had been successful and he was in remission.

Mr Bailey had been undertaking "intensive chemotherapy" for the past three months and in a statement issued tonight, confirmed he was cancer-free.

"In response to the incredible and at time overwhelming interest and support in my battle with cancer, I am now fortunate to be able to announce that recent tests show that my treatment has been successful and I am officially in remission.

"There will be a lot of follow-up care over the coming years and cancer makes no guarantees, but for now I can get on with my life."

Mr Bailey thanked his family and friends for their support and said the medical team at Christchurch Hospital's bone marrow transplant unit saved his life.

His school also got a special mention, for their "amazing support".

"The benefit of such a tight-knit brotherhood has been so evident," he said.

Mr Bailey also thanked the public for the many heartfelt messages he received, "which have been exceptionally uplifting".

"I was blown away by what an impact my words had on strangers, but then I was blown away by what impact strangers' words had on me.

"Some of the letters I received were incredibly humbling," he said.

"I'd like to make special mention of the blood and platelet donors, whose donations helped save my life. To the nurse who encouraged me to get out of my hospital bed and deliver my final speech at prize giving; to the ward cleaner whose smiles always made a difference to my mornings. Thank you."

A nod was also given to the media, who Mr Bailey said were "extremely respectful" of him and his family .Mr Bailey acknowledged the battle other cancer sufferers faced.

"The thing about facing death is that you get to re-think exactly who you are and who you want to be, if you are lucky enough to get the chance. I want to make a difference more than ever before. Our lives are simply too fleeting not to."

This year Mr Bailey is on a gap year before university and said he would like to use his experiences to help others, perhaps by telling his story to schools.

"The chemotherapy has taken a huge toll on my body. It has left me with ongoing issues and it will take me time to get back to where I was previously. Sometimes I feel more like I'm 81 than 18," he said. "But I'm just grateful to be alive."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 23 Oct 2016 09:12:02 Processing Time: 612ms