We should preface this piece with a little warning; it’s about to get incredibly emotional up in here, and you might find this rather difficult to watch. Well, you’d want to be made of stone not to. Jake Bailey is an 18-year-old young man from New Zealand, and with one short minute speech, he has inspired not just his classmates at his school in Christchurch, but each and every person who will watch this, now that it has gone viral, to be the very best that they can be. When faced with an aggressive form of Burkitts non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer, doctors told him he wouldn’t be around in three week’s time, when he was to make this important, powerful speech – he was elected as the school’s senior monitor (much like a class president). Amidst bouts of chemotherapy, Jake has defied the medical odds, determined to share what he’s learned through such adversity, with those who are ready and willing to listen. An incredibly well spoken, intelligent and positive person, Jake puts the most refreshing amount of perspective on the journey we all face. He encourages his peers to make a difference in their own way; he reassures them that failure is essential on the road to success, and he allows for his own emotion to show. Though facing a fate that no 18-year-old should ever have to comprehend, Bailey is all about moral strength, and now more than ever, he’s a believer that you should never give up, that you should face your fears. Among many pearls of wisdom, Bailey urges everyone to be mindful of the here and now, as opposed to focusing on far away, long term dreams. “Continue to grow and develop, be micro-ambitious and focus on short term goals, we don’t know where we might end up, or when it might end up”.
He finishes with a sentence that you should really print off and stick where you’ll always be reminded to read it:
“None of us get out of life alive, be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have.”
And just as he wraps up, his classmates perform a rousing, emotionally charged haka.
We take Bailey’s words, and we keep them in our hearts. If we could post and package our hope for this brave, brilliant man, direct to Christchurch, we would.
Watch it, take it in, and share it.