Jake Bailey, cancer sufferer, moves Australian audience to tears after inspirational speech

By Cherie Howie

Christchurch Boys' High School head boy Jake Bailey gives an inspirational speech at the Tour De Cure Snow Ball in Sydney, on 18 June 2016. Photo / @Sarah_Dart
Christchurch Boys' High School head boy Jake Bailey gives an inspirational speech at the Tour De Cure Snow Ball in Sydney, on 18 June 2016. Photo / @Sarah_Dart

The inspirational words of cancer survivor Jake Bailey have wowed once again.

Last year, the then-Christchurch Boys' High School head boy won hearts around the world when he told fellow pupils and the school community at the end-of-year prizegiving to "be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have".

He had not been expected to attend the ceremony after being diagnosed with Burkitt's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma a week earlier.

This week, his words again brought people to tears.

Mr Bailey was invited to speak at the Tour de Cure Snow Ball in Sydney, and left the audience "floored", the cancer charity's communications officer Sally Heginbotham told the New Zealand Herald.

"He was amazing. We had 1000 people and he got a standing ovation. He's an amazing speaker and he had people in tears."

He told those in the audience the first thing he thought about every morning when he woke up was how grateful he was to be alive.

"I realise I'm not in another hospital bed and I'm not in a box in the ground, and I smile. Every day starts with me not being dead and what a fantastic way to start the day. If you start a day like that what can go wrong, honestly."

Mrs Heginbotham said the humble teen started his 20 minute speech by asking the audience to sit down.

"He was saying how he gets flummoxed because 'I'm an 18-year-old young man and I'm being asked to speak to a room full of adults'."

Like his earlier speech, he spoke again about how cancer had taught him to appreciate every day. But he also shared some of the unexpected challenges of fighting the disease, Mrs Heginbotham said.

Video

That included fending off questions about why he has a mark on his cheek, she said.

"People ask him 'were you in a fight? what happened to you?' This is just another part of having cancer that you don't think about."

Mr Bailey told the audience the best thing they could do to help was donated for cancer research. He had huge support around him, but the best thing anyone could do was help experts find a cure, Mrs Heginbotham said.

The teen has been in remission for four months and looked "fantastic", she said.
The ball raised $1.2 million for cancer research.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

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

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 06 Dec 2016 15:02:09 Processing Time: 301ms