Jim Kelly will begin chemotherapy Monday as he fights a recurrence of oral cancer in a New York hospital.
As his family, former teammates and fans provide support, Kelly, 54, told MMQB.com’s Peter King that he’s hopeful and knows he’s in for yet another fight in a life that has been filled with them.
“There is no way I’d be here without my faith. It’s been such a roller coaster,” the Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame quarterback said.”So many things. The Super Bowl losses, the fabulous career, my son born sick, making the Hall of Fame, my son dying, two plates and 10 screws in my back after major surgery, one plate and six screws in my neck after another surgery, a double hernia, the cancer, surgery on my jaw, the cancer coming back, now what I’m facing.”
Unlike last June, when Kelly had surgery, he has “countless microscopic tumors” in his brain, according to King, and Kelly’s wife Jill has described the cancer as “aggressive.” But Dr. Peter Costantino, executive director of the New York Head and Neck Institute, called Kelly’s condition “very treatable and potentially curable.”
“If he’s saying it, I hope so,” Kelly told King. “I just know there’s a lot of work to do, to shrink the cancer. I just pray it works. If you hear I’m about to have surgery, then you know it’s working. That’s the goal. But it won’t be an easy operation.”
Kelly’s daughters have posted poignant photos of their dad on social media as support has pour in. Daughter Erin, in a “CBS This Morning” interview, was asked what her one wish would be for her father.
“That he would come out of this stronger than he came in,” Erin, a Liberty University freshman, said (transcript via CBS). “My wish is that when people look at my dad, they see a guy who fought the good fight and who did it with such joy and courage and bravery because that’s who he is. That’s his character. I pray that when people see us they find hope and they find faith through what we’re going through.”