Monday I sat down with Jim Kelly at Ilio DiPaolo’s restaurant for an interview for my All Sports WNY show on WBBZ-TV. To think just twelve months ago Jim was in the battle of his life against cancer, his second in less than a year and now he’s back living such a busy life is truly a miracle.

Jim Kelly is physically not the man he was before his first bout with cancer in the spring of 2013, but mentally he’s so much more. Kelly now understands what it means to live each day to its fullest.

When my first question to Jim was how is he was doing, Jim said, ” I’m fine, I’m sure everyone has their own problems, they don’t want to hear about mine.”  Truth is, there are plenty of people who do care about Jim Kelly’s health because he’s a symbol to this community. A symbol of toughness and the refusal to quit.

Jim is still dealing with a number of health issues that are a result of his very invasive cancer and I’m guessing he’ll live the rest of his life with some form of pain as a result of it. Yet, Jim is done talking about it, he’d rather concentrate on making others feel better and talk about the future of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.

The timing of the return of Jim’s cancer couldn’t have been worse as far as he was concerned. The Bills needed a new owner and Kelly had planned on being in the mix to buy the team. When the bidding process started last year Kelly wasn’t sure he would even see another season of Buffalo Bills football let alone own the team.

In May of 2014 I sat down with Jim at his home and we did an interview to stress how important it was that the team remain in Buffalo. Kelly was asked by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to rally the community behind the Bills and that’s what he did. However, Jim was in so much pain that morning that I didn’t think he would get through the ten minute interview.

I told Jim we could reschedule and do it another day because his pain was so obvious. Jim said, “no, lets do it now!” and we did. Kelly had mentally prepared himself to deal with the pain and get his message out, but it certainly was not a pleasant experience for all involved. Jim was squeezing his fists so hard to endure the pain in his jaw and face that sweat was forming on his brow.

Now, the Bills are owned by the Pegulas and while Jim is a not part of the ownership group, he is still a valued member of the family.Jim shared a special relationship with Ralph Wilson and it appears he is enjoying something similar with Terry and Kim Pegula.

Jim Kelly is now taking advantage of his return to relatively good health by maintaining a schedule that would challenge anyone. Kelly continues to do appearances for the Buffalo Bills as well as Hunter’s Hope, Kelly for Kids and Kelly Enterprises. Jim’s schedule is daunting and today he is returning from New York where he just underwent his regularly scheduled three month scan to make sure the cancer has not returned.

For Jim it’s now about making a difference. A few weeks ago Kelly was sitting in a hotel room on one of his many road trips to raise money for Hunter’s Hope and he came up with the slogan ” make a difference today for someone who is fighting for tomorrow.” That is now Jim’s mission and one he will continue as long as long as the good Lord allows him.

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