Teenager Jake Bailey knows first hand what it is like to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

The former Christchurch Boys' High student - whose heart-wrenching end-of-year speech went viral after he was diagnosed with stage 4 Burkitt lymphoma - spoke at a fundraising breakfast in Tauranga organised by Waipuna Hospice last month and has thrown his support behind the Shorts4Waipuna campaign.

The campaign encourages people to sign up to wear shorts on the shortest day of the year to raise money and awareness for the charity whose patients know all too well how short life can be.

At the breakfast, the 18-year-old told the crowd he found it hard to know what to say when asked to speak because he was not qualified to give out life advice.


"But what I am qualified to tell you about is how lucky you are to be here right now, because that's something that I do understand."

He shared some of the lessons he had learned through his journey.

"Embrace each day. I was dying to get home and watch TV. I was dying for the weekend. I was dying for the school holidays. And then before I knew it, I was dying in Christchurch Hospital. I know now that it is so important to make the most of it while you can," he said.

His experience had also taught him to live day by day and appreciate the small things in life.

While Jake has beaten his cancer, he knows how important it is to remind people of how short life can be for some people, and that is exactly why he donned a pair of shorts and posed for a photo during his visit.

-Waipuna Hospice has called on businesses and individuals in the Bay to wear their brightest, boldest, baggiest or briefest shorts to raise money for the services they provide as part of Shorts4Waipuna on June 21. Visit waipuna-hospice.co.nz/pages/shorts4waipuna to register yourself or your workplace.