Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is in New York City preparing for scheduled Thursday surgery to treat an aggressive recurrence of cancer.
Kelly was diagnosed with a form of upper jaw cancer last summer and underwent surgery to remove part of his jawbone. He had been diagnosed as cancer-free following the surgery. But in recent days, Kelly returned to the Erie County (N.Y.) Medical Center for further testing.
"Jim Kelly came to ECMC this week for continued testing related to his oral surgery," Dr. Thom Loree, a head and neck surgeon, said in a statement. "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."
Kelly's wife Jill is recounting the family's battle in an intensely personal series of blog entries. And Kelly's daughter Erin posted the following photo to Instagram:
Kelly's former teammates Bruce Smith, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas visited their quarterback at his home last week.
Jill Kelly's blog contains anecdotes of Kelly's days in the hospital. One of the more recent involves Kelly meeting Jason, a man in his late 30s with only weeks left to live:
"With flowers in hand instead of a football, number 12 is wheeled down the hall and around the corner into Jason’s room. This complete stranger that will soon dominate our conversation for days to come is shocked and ecstatic to see Jim Kelly in his room. The nurses and everyone else in the room can’t help but feed off of the contagious joy radiating from this man. You would never know he had just weeks to live. He celebrates every heartbeat and acts more alive than most people who enjoy perfect health."