Two weeks ago Jim Kelly confided in me that he was diagnosed with a form of cancer in his upper jaw, just above his two front teeth. The cancer is called Squamous-cell carcinoma and Kelly will undergo surgery on June 7th to have the growth removed from the bone in his upper palette.

When someone like Jim Kelly tells you he has cancer it stops you in your tracks. I have several relatives and close friends currently battling the disease so I am not new to hearing such news, but hearing it from Jim was a shock. I think many of us see Jim as this larger than life individual.

Jim’s personal life has been filled with plenty of adversity, especially with the loss of his son Hunter. Jim has also had many football related surgeries over the years on his neck, shoulder, etc. However, he is about to face the biggest personal health challenge of his life.

Jim told me straight out ” I’ll beat it,” with a confidence one would expect from the Hall of Fame quarterback. The big concern for Jim was living with the aftermath of the surgery on his jaw and how it would affect speaking and  eating. Jim will also have to wear a mouth prosthetic of sorts which will take some getting used to.

Jim and wife Jill have a strong faith in God and it is one of the things that has gotten them through their personal and family ordeals over the past two decades. They will need that faith as they are about to face another significant challenge. Needless to say, my prayers will be among the countless many that will be offered on Jim’s behalf.

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