Kelly starts chemo, radiation to fight cancer recurrence

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has started chemotherapy and radiation to fight a cancer recurrence.

Before Kelly began treatment, he spoke to News 4′s Ed Drantch from New York, where the Buffalo Bills legend spoke about the future and said he is not afraid of death. However, he and his family were praying for a miracle before beginning the first round of radiation.

Jim said, “I really don’t know what to expect. You’re told some things, some of the setbacks, some different things, and you go into it with a mindset as you’re going to beat it.”

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Jim says he will fight to the end and is not afraid of traveling down any of the various roads ahead, including death.

“With this, it’s in the good Lord’s hands. I mean, there’s nothing I can do, or my wife or friends or relatives can do now. It’s doing what the doctors tell me and again continue to pray,” he said.

His wife Jill has relied on her faith throughout her husband’s battle with cancer, which began last year when Jim underwent surgery to remove part of his teeth and lower jaw.

She said, “I trust that he’s big enough for my anger and my confusion and all of those things. If I couldn’t go to him, I don’t know what I would do. I really don’t have any hope, I really don’t have any hope for Jim through this cancer. I don’t have any hope in the midst of any sort of struggle.”

Cancer has spread throughout Jim’s face, taking hold of nerves and creating a painful, burning sensation.

Erin Kelly, Jim’s daughter, said, “Going through this, I have a different perspective on what that means, whole different perspective on what it means to be strong, because he is physically weak. He has no strength left in himself and that’s where he has found true strength is in his weakness.”

But regardless of the pain, Jim still smiles, especially when his former teammates come to visit.

Frank Reich was Jim’s backup quarterback during their years on the Bills, but was in New York City on Sunday for some emotional backup.

Reich said, “Distance, time, travel, we have our own families. You go out, you do stuff, but we’ve always kept in touch throughout the years. Our friendship goes way beyond the field.”

Jim added, “I know I’m in for this through the long haul, but I’m up for the challenge. Who knows where I’ll be in six months from now, but I will fight and I know my family will be behind me.”

Even with the passing of Ralph Wilson, owner and creator of the Buffalo Bills, Jim says his focus is on fighting cancer. But that didn’t stop him from joking about his potential future with the team.

“I told Frank, ‘When I become the owner of the Bills and when I do beat cancer, I’m going to be calling knocking at his door, because we might need a new head coach then.’ Doug Marrone, don’t worry, you still got a few good years left in you, but this is my boy right here!”

Jim wasn’t saying he will buy the Bills. He says he has more important things to worry about right now. But it’s clear cancer will not dilute his spirit.

He and his family continue to ask for prayers.

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