Inspirational schoolboy speaker Jake Bailey's cancer is in remission video

CHRISTCHURCH BOYS' HIGH SCHOOL/YouTube

The head boy of Christchurch Boys' High School, Jake Bailey, gave an emotional speech from a wheelchair at the school's end of year assembly in 2015.

Jake Bailey, the head boy whose inspirational prizegiving speech became a global hit, has announced his cancer is in remission.

The Christchurch Boy's High student shot to fame when he addressed his school prizegiving a week after being diagnosed with Burkitt's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma – a fast-growing form of cancer.

On Friday, after three months of intensive chemotherapy, Bailey, 18, announced he was on top of the disease.

Jake Bailey, 18, photographed at his mother's home on January 29, 2016.
JAKE BAILEY/SUPPLIED

Jake Bailey, 18, photographed at his mother's home on January 29, 2016.

"Recent tests show that my treatment has been successful and I am officially in remission," he said in a statement.

"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.

"But I'm just grateful to be alive."

He thanked his family, doctors, school and "the nurse who encouraged me to get out of my hospital bed and deliver my final speech", and said he was taken aback by the huge support he had received from the public.

"I was blown away by what an impact my words had on strangers but then I was blown away by what an impact strangers' words had on me. Some of the letters I received were incredibly humbling.

"The thing about facing death is that you get to rethink 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."

Bailey won global acclaim for his grace and bravery when he unexpectedly left hospital to attend the prizegiving and deliver the speech he had written, but his school principal had intended to read for him.

Jake Bailey, who gave an emotional speech while suffering from cancer, has announced the disease is in remission.
CBHS

Jake Bailey, who gave an emotional speech while suffering from cancer, has announced the disease is in remission.

Looking gaunt and sitting in a wheelchair he told the audience, "None of us get out of life alive, so be gallant, be great, be gracious, and be grateful for the opportunities you have. We don't know where we might end up, or when we might end up."

He was given a standing ovation. A YouTube video of the speech has since been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

Bailey is taking a gap year before heading to university and said he hoped to use the time to tell his story in schools and help other young people with challenges.

Christchurch Boys' High School head boy Jake Bailey is assisted by principal Nic Hill after his speech at the school ...
SUPPLIED

Christchurch Boys' High School head boy Jake Bailey is assisted by principal Nic Hill after his speech at the school prizegiving in November.

It would take time for him to recover from his treatment, he said.

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"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."

JAKE BAILEY'S FULL STATEMENT

For the last three months, I have undertaken intensive chemotherapy for Burkitt's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

In response to the incredible and at times 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.

There is a massive team of people I want to thank. Firstly, my family and friends who have been on this long, rough journey with me. I could not have got through it without the people who have been by my side.

My medical team from the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Christchurch Hospital. You saved my life. I am in great admiration and debt of your caring, with overwhelming respect for not only what you do but how you do it.

The Christchurch Boys' High family for the amazing support they have given me. The benefit of such a tight knit brotherhood has been so evident.

the public for their heartfelt messages 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 an impact strangers' words had on me. Some of the letters I received were incredibly humbling.  

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 prizegiving. To the ward cleaner whose smiles always made a difference to my mornings. Thank you.

Finally, I also want to mention the media, who don't always have a good reputation, but in my case have been extremely respectful to my family and I. 

I also want to acknowledge the other people who are undergoing treatment for cancer who have not necessarily received the same amount of support that I have.  I wish them and their families the best. I hope, like us, you share times of genuine depth amongst your hardship – moments probably missed if we didn't have to go through this.

The thing about facing death is that you get to rethink 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.

So, during this gap year before I go to university, I would like to use my experiences to help young people or others who are facing challenges by telling my story in schools or other audiences if that might motivate or help others deal with their own struggles.

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.  

But I'm just grateful to be alive.

Jake Bailey

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 - Stuff

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