Jake Bailey was your average high school senior until a cancer diagnosis changed his life forever.
Just a week before the New Zealand teen was scheduled to speak to his peers at school, he was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
Jake, who is his school's senior moderator - the equivalent to a class president - still made it to Christchurch Boys’ High School to give the speech.
“I wrote a speech and then a week before I was due to deliver that speech tonight, they said you’ve got cancer,” Jake told his teachers and classmates. "They said if you don’t get any treatment within the next three weeks, you’re going to die. They then told me I wouldn’t be here tonight to deliver the speech."
The student showed true strength in the inspirational speech to his classmates, encouraging them to look at the big picture.
“Moral strength is about making a conscience decision to be a person who doesn’t give up when it would be easy to,” the senior said. “Let other’s lead small lives but not you, let’s others argue over 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.”
After speaking, Jake received a standing ovation and was honored by his peers with a traditional haka dance. The entire class sang their school song to him and he was nearly moved to tears.
Jake’s speech hasn’t only affected his classmates - in less than a week it’s already been seen by more than half a million people online who are praising his strength and inspiring words.