On the day when Jim Kelly gathers together friends, former teammates, local and national celebrities for the cause named after his late son, the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback announced that he has cancer.
Kelly issued a statement Monday morning, the same day his 27th annual golf tournament kicked off to benefit his Hunter’s Hope Foundation and other pediatric causes. The former quarterback was diagnosed with bone cancer in his jaw. He’s scheduled to have surgery this Friday.
“This past couple of weeks has been difficult for me,” Kelly said in his statement. “I was recently diagnosed with Squamous-cell carcinoma of the upper jaw bone.”
The good news is after a recent examination it was discovered that the cancer has not spread.
“I have undergone tests which have shown that the cancer is isolated to my upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of my body. Doctors have told me that the prognosis for my recovery is very good.”
Kelly’s announcement had a bit of irony in that a man that has given so much of his time and effort to advance the cause of universal newborn screening for the benefit of infants is now the one in need of support.
“I want to thank everyone who has offered their prayers and would appreciate any prayers said for me and my family moving forward,” said Kelly.
For all cases of bone cancer combined the five-year survival rate is 70 percent according to the American Cancer Society.
But knowing Kelly’s makeup as a player and a person seeing the Hall of Famer beat the odds would be anything but surprising.
“With the excellent medical care that I will be receiving and the loving care of my wife Jill and my daughters Erin and Camryn and the support of my entire family and friend, I am extremely confident in my road to recovery. I plan to tackle this challenge head on, as we Kelly’s always do, with toughness, perseverance and faith.”