Christchurch student Jake Bailey wins quote of the year

Christchurch student Jake Bailey wins quote of the year

Christchurch Boys' High School head boy Jake Bailey has won Massey University's Quote of the Year 2015 with his inspiring words at his school's prize-giving.

Jake was the undisputed winner, receiving 77 percent of votes in the competition.

The secondary school student came out of hospital to present his speech at the end-of-year prizegiving, while being treated for Burkitt non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

He is the first winner in four years whose quote is unrelated to world of politics.

Jake's winning quote was: "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".

His speech went viral on social media and made international headlines.

Jake and his family say they have been overwhelmed and humbled by the impact of his speech he made in the midst of his chemotherapy treatment last month.

"I didn't think what I had done was such a big deal, so the fact it went viral was wholly unexpected," says Jake, who voted for Steve Hansen's quote from the Rugby World Cup.

The 18-year-old is one of a handful of teenagers his age that doesn't actually have a Facebook page, preferring to keep his life off social media.

"After that night, someone created a page for me, which has been useful to give well-wishers updates," he says.

Jake has passed the halfway point of his treatment and is in his third cycle of chemotherapy. His family have been overwhelmed with offers of support from all over the world and the international media attention.

"The knowledge that so many people are supporting us is definitely giving us all a big boost," Jake says.

The personal messages from other survivors and their families have made a particularly big impact, as well as messages from the Prime Minister John Key, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and former All Black Dan Carter.

Jake's mother Janine Harrington is "hugely" thankful for the ongoing support and grateful to those who took the time to vote for Jake's quote.

"I've never known such fear as when Jake was diagnosed. The support and love we have received has made a difference," she says.

"We would like to be able to thank everyone personally for everything they have done for Jake and our family."

Heather Kavan, a speech-writing specialist at Massey University, says every now and then, a person comes along who inspires great feelings of affection in New Zealanders - and this was certainly the case with Mr Bailey.

The other contenders:

3 News

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz