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Cancer-Stricken Student Gives Most Inspiring Graduation Speech You'll Ever Hear

It is surely every parent's worst nightmare. Your seemingly healthy child diagnosed with a deadly disease, devastating his hopes and dreams. That is real life nightmare of Jake Bailey and his family. A week before he was due to give a graduation speech from Christchurch Boy's High School in New Zealand, the teen was told he had the rare Burkitt's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, known to be the fastest growing human tumor, and that he may not have long to live. In fact, they didn't think he would be able to attend the ceremony.

But Jake, the picture of bravery, surprised his classmates and teachers by leaving the hospital to deliver what is perhaps the most profound graduation speech in history. "I wrote a speech. And then, a week before I was due to deliver that speech tonight, they said, 'You've got cancer,'" he began. "They said, 'If you don't get any treatment within the next three weeks you're going to die.'" He spoke of all the school had given him—a wonderful education and true lessons on what it meant to be a good human being. Though, he brought tears to the eyes of many when he talked about the precious nature of life.

Here's the thing, none of us get out of life alive. So be gallant, be great, be gracious and be grateful for the opportunities that you have … I wrote this before I knew I had cancer and now I have a whole new spin on it. Moral strength is about making a conscious decision to be a person who doesn't give up when it would be easy to. To be lesser because the journey is less arduous.

He went on to dare his peers, "Forget about long-term dreams—let's be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals." Not surprisingly, his words were met with thunderous applause. According to reports, Jake is now undergoing intensive chemotherapy to fight the disease.

This may have been a speech directed at teenagers, but this holds a valuable lessons for adults as well. As Jake's story attests, tomorrow is never promised. May we all be inspired to live life a bit more joyously and be grateful for every moment we have with those we love.

Watch Jake Bailey's full speech:

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