BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jim Kelly and his family are in New York City as the Hall of Fame quarterback is preparing to undergo surgery for his cancer recurrence.
Kelly is said to be weak and “in bad shape.” He’s been in and out of hospitals for the past 10 days, but News 4 has learned that Kelly is scheduled to have surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan on Thursday because doctors wanted to see him immediately.
Dennis DiPaolo, co-owner of Ilio DiPaolo’s restaurant and a close friend of the Kelly family, said, “He is the specialist. I believe he’s like one of the top five in the world to perform the surgery. Needless to say, the community all says, ‘You know what, he’s the main guy, go to him.” So the whole Western New York community from Roswell Park, to ECMC, all the people say, “Jim, whatever you need, we’re here for you.” And needless to say, the rehab’s going to be very difficult.”
On Sunday, Jill Kelly posted a photo of the family in the hospital watching the Sunday service at the Chapel at Crosspoint online. She said she was “overwhelmed and humbled to watch Pastor Jerry and our congregation family kneel in prayer for our family…to be prayed for by name. We were on our knees too and our nurse asked if she could join us in prayer…and she did.”
Kelly had part of his jaw and teeth removed in June 2013, when oral cancer was originally found. Earlier this month, doctors at ECMC reported Kelly has had a cancer recurrence. The Kelly family has since said that the cancer has spread and that it is aggressive. They are asking fans and all of Western New York for prayers as Jim continues his battle.
The news of Jim Kelly’s upcoming surgery comes days after friends said Kelly was at ECMC for treatment. DiPaolo says former Buffalo Bills quarterback is in a lot of pain, but he adds that isn’t stopping Kelly from keeping his spirits up.
“He’s like come on, don’t hang your heads. Like you walk in the room and he’s in a huddle and still commanding everyone and even if he’s trying to rest his eyes, he knows you’re there and he goes, ‘Thanks for coming you guys.’ He’s just a remarkable individual,” DiPaolo said.
Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed went to visit Jim Kelly on Friday at his home. The visit had him smiling and laughing, according to his daughter Erin’s Twitter page.
“The outpouring of love has been such an uplifting feeling for him that it’s really given him strength to go on and he’s really excited. He says, “Boy, we’re going to have a celebration when I’m done with this.” And hopefully this is the touchdown play to get him home,” DiPaolo said.