Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly is honored at the 2018 ESPYs with the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award for his cancer fight, according to ABC 13. The award is bestowed on someone each year, to “a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.” Kelly was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013 and was later declared cancer-free in 2014. USA Today reported that doctors discovered a squamous cell carcinoma in Kelly’s upper jawbone in 2013, which was removed. The next year, doctors found more cancer in his maxillary sinus and he underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatment to rid his body of the disease. After this, he was said to be free of cancer.
When undergoing his first surgeries, according to WXXI News, Jim said, “I am extremely confident in my road to recovery. I plan to tackle this challenge head on, as we Kellys always do, with toughness perseverance and faith.” He shared his cancer news on social media. Today, his wife, Jill, continues to update fans with her husband’s health issues, so be sure to visit her Instagram page for the latest news on Jim and photos of his progress.
Unfortunately, in March 2018, Kelly, again, found out that he would be battling cancer. And so, he had surgery to remove the cancer and needed to get his jaw reconstructed. According to ABC, he currently has a mouthful of stitches and cannot eat solid foods until the fall of 2018.
During his cancer battle, Kelly had also had difficulty talking, so speaking was an issue. He also lost his sense of taste and was unable to produce saliva, for a time, as reported by Fox News.
Recently, USA Today reported that Kelly has an “unexpected checkup” coming up due to effects from his most recent surgery. He explained to ESPN that, “I’m not sure what’s going on. I have some things that I want to have looked at, and then we’ll go from there. I don’t know whether I’m going to be here for two days, four days or in and out. And then hopefully I pray when September has rolled around that I can finally bite into a piece of meat and not soup every day.”
According to Fox News, Kelly’s upcoming checkup will take place the second week in August. He explained, “My doctors are in New York. I’m not there every day. So I want to be sure that everything [that] is going on, is going on for the right reasons.” He also said that, “Just like everybody, if you go through a broken leg or something, you got to have checkups. If there is a little pain here [where] you think there shouldn’t be anything, you got to get it checked. Even though I’m blessed to have [the doctor] at [Erie County Medical Center] I go to in Buffalo look and make sure that things are going pretty good, it helps.”
The Jimmy V. Perseverance Award at the ESPY Awards was named after men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano, who lost his battle with cancer in 1993, as reported by USA Today. In Kelly’s acceptance speech, his aim is to speak from the heart and talk about his “four f’s” – faith, family, friends and fans.