NEW YORK, N.Y. (WIVB) – As Jim Kelly awaits the start of chemotherapy and radiation treatment Monday in New York City, the Hall of Fame quarterback is relying on faith, and support from loved ones, to get through the toughest battle of his life.
Telling stories and laughing like nothing was wrong, Kelly couldn’t stop smiling Sunday as he sat alongside friend Frank Reich.
“It’s funny because he was bringing back memories,” Kelly said of his longtime backup quarterback.
Reich stopped by the Manhattan hotel where the Kellys are staying as a show of moral support for the man he watched in awe on the sidelines for so many seasons.
“This is the best, to be with the people you love the most,” said Reich. “I mean what gets better than that?”
The cancer that Kelly is battling has now spread throughout his face.
“From what I’m hearing, it’s almost at the brainstem,” asked News 4’s Ed Drantch, who traveled to New York City to visit with the Kellys. “Yeah, it is,” Kelly replied.
The Bills’ all-time leading passer says he’s praying for a miracle.
“I just wish this maybe would have happened when I was 75 years-old and not so much when I was 54 but the good Lord with his timing, it’s my time but it’s also my time to fight.”
The Kelly family says they came to New York City for increased medical attention and perhaps, more importantly, pain management. They’ve been in New York for two weeks and will stay for the foreseeable future.
“We miss family, we miss our dogs,” said Kelly’s wife Jill with a laugh. “Jim misses the backyard and the turkeys and the deer. You don’t see that when you’re walking down the street in New York City.”
Jill is holding on to hope that this cancer is treatable and as doctors say, potentially curable. She says the whole thing is simply overwhelming.
“I fall apart and I’m afraid and I talk to God in ways that I get it all out there,” Jell told News 4’s Ed Drantch.
She continues to wear Jim’s cross, which he handed over when testing first started.
“I trust that He’s big enough for my anger and my confusion and all of those things,” she said of her relationship with God. “If I couldn’t go to Him I don’t know what I would do.”
Faith is guiding the Kelly’s through this second battle with cancer. They call it ‘Kelly tough.’
“I know that I’ve done everything you could possibly do here on earth,” said Kelly. “And if it’s my time, I’m going with a smile on my face.”