Jim Kelly has been battling cancer for five years. Five years of fighting and battling and pushing back against a disease that has resulted in multiple jaw surgeries.
Wednesday night in Los Angeles, the biggest and best names in sport came together to honor Kelly at the ESPY Awards. The Bills legendary quarterback was awarded the Jimmy V award for perseverance.
Fellow Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Dan Marino presented the award to Kelly.
The following is his five minutes of remarks upon receiving the award. His speech also followed a short video about his career, his life, his battle with cancer and his son Hunter, who passed away at age eight from Krabbe’s Disease:
“Wow. It is never easy watching video about my son. So many times I’ve dreamt and continue to dream about Hunter and what he means in my life. It will never stop. And then when I look up here and see Dan and John and I just reflect upon some things we’ve been through and the good times.
“Dan, you and I battling year after year, twice a year. And, John, on behalf of the Class of 1983, thanks for winning two Super Bowls for us.
“When I look back in my life, I’ve always lived by the four Fs. The one I had, but I’ve changed it is fun. I still have fun, but I put the one in there that means more to me than it ever has, is my faith. My faith in the good Lord that he has plans for my life. Through my son Hunter, we will make a difference.
“My family. Wow, I don’t know can I say. My daughter Erin, every single time she walked in the hospital, not one time did she have a frown on her face. It was always ‘Daddy you look so good, you’re so cute.’ My daughter Camryn. So many times she hugged me and I didn’t want to let her go. Even today when she hugs me, I don’t want to let her go. And, my wife Jill — you are my heart, you are my soul. You are my everything. I love you, Jill.
“My brothers, I have five brothers — Pat, Ed, Ray, Dan and Kevin. They’ve been through everything with me. The good times, the bad times. The Super Bowls. We had fun. I’ll tell you I wouldn’t be here today without my brothers. I love you guys.
“My Bills family. To the Wilson family, to Terry and Kim Pegula, to the wackadoodle buddies of mine — all you guys. We continue to have group text messaging. It drives me crazy, but they keep doing it. Keep doing it because it makes me laugh and puts a smile on my face.
“To my Hunter’s Hope Families. There are 60 families in Buffalo, New York that their kids have the same disease as my son had. They’re trying to make a difference. I want to let them know I will be home tomorrow, me and my family, to go out there and make a difference.
“Finally, the fans, I came up with a saying ‘Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow.’ You don’t need to be a Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers to make a difference out there. Every single person can make a difference. You can be a normal person that gets up and goes to work, you can be a difference maker and put a smile on people’s faces. I urge anybody out there, anybody that is suffering, somebody not having a good day, you’re mom, dad, grandparents, what you say to them, the smile you have on your face, that could be the difference in them making it to the next day. Always, always persevere. Like Jimmy V said, ‘never, never give up.’
“And, to my Bills fans back home I love you. To everyone here tonight and the Jimmy V foundation, thank you for honoring me and humbling me with this award. I love you all. God bless, and may the good Lord continue to bless you.”