Jim Kelly received the worst of news yesterday from Doctors at ECMC when they told him his cancer had returned.

Doctor Thom Loree today released this statement: “Jim Kelly came to ECMC this week for continued testing related to his oral surgery. Unfortunately, it has been determined that his cancer has returned. Our team of head and neck cancer specialists is determining a course of treatment that will allow Mr. Kelly to battle this cancer successfully. Mr. Kelly has asked that you to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

I had been told of Kelly’s situation earlier in the day by one of Jim’s very close friends. I was saddened to hear that the popular Kelly, who has already endured more personal hardships than most, was again in for the fight of his life.

Jim has been in constantly pain since the original surgery in June of 2013. Now the diagnosis that the cancer has returned will have Jim and his family travel to a cancer facility in New York City for a plan on how to conduct treatment.

Kelly did not undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments after his June surgery and it was determined that he was cancer free. Jim did have regular cancer screening sessions, but the constant pain over the past nine months caused Doctors to seek the origin. The tests this week found the re-occurrence of the form of oral cancer that was originally diagnosed last year.

Jim has made numerous public appearances since his surgery and appeared on both All Sports WNY and the Fred Jackson Show. This clip is from August 6th and Jim discussed his battle.

I have known Jim Kelly for 28 years and we have had a friendship since he hung up his jersey in 1996. Jim lost his son Hunter in 2005 and has undergone too many surgeries for football related injuries to count. Still, his original cancer diagnosis was a shocker because Jim has always seemed bigger than life and too tough to bring down.

When Jim bounced back so quickly from that surgery it was keeping in form with his “tough guy” reputation, but he now faces an even bigger struggle. Anyone who has had a relative or friend suffer a re-occurrence of the disease knows what I’m talking about.

Jim Kelly has come back off the mat after every setback in his life. I will pray that number 12 continues true to form and again comes out of this fight, perhaps bloodied, but not bowed. Kelly is as tough as they come and it’s that toughness and the strength that comes from his faith in God that will pull him through, again.

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