“Encourage them to live their life the best way they can.”

Those were the words cancer survivor Jay Scott told La Junta Intermediate School students Friday morning during a ceremony sponsored by the school’s student council.

Local cancer survivors were recognized and those who have lost their battle were honored.

Scott has been cancer free since 2012.

“On Dec. 15, 2012, the doctor told me, ‘You are cancer free,’” Scott said, fighting back tears. “That was the greatest day.”

He encouraged students to go in for routine check ups, and learn about self-examinations.

Scott said he had gone in for a routine visit when he noticed a knot on his neck. His doctor sent him to a specialist and he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

His next word of advice was to listen to the doctors and do what they say to do.

And, most importantly, keep a positive attitude if diagnosed.

“I thought wow, what devastating news,” Scott said about his reaction to the diagnosis. After having lost a relative to breast cancer, Scott said his first thought was “Uh-oh.”

He said he was ready to crawl in a corner, but knew that wasn’t the right attitude to have.

“I might have this disease, but I’m not going to lay down and let it take me,” Scott said.

He added, “Don’t ever quit. Ever, ever, ever.”

Scott said the students could encounter family members or friends who have cancer and encouraged them to not treat them any differently.

“Help them keep their attitude up,” Scott said. “Encourage them. Encourage them to live their life the best way they can.”

Following Scott’s speech, the cancer survivors in attendance were recognized and given a framed poem.