Tonawanda News

Bills

June 3, 2013

Former Bills QB Kelly battling cancer of the jaw

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Later, a youth sports foundation in Sioux Falls, S.D., announced that Kelly would not be able to attend the Hy-Vee/Sanford Legends banquet on June 13 for personal reasons.

This is but the latest operation Kelly will have had over the past few years. He's also had surgery to correct back, neck and hernia problems.

Kelly has remained active despite the diagnosis.

On May 26, Kelly joined country music artist Tim McGraw on stage and threw footballs into the crowd during a concert outside Buffalo. A week earlier, he attended The Preakness in Baltimore.

And then there was Kelly playing host to the many weekend festivities regarding his charitable foundation.

Kelly was upbeat in addressing reporters on Sunday, while attending the foundation's annual gala and auction. He was just as engaging before the golf tournament in making sure to greet many of his guests. Taking the microphone to start the tournament, Kelly joked in reminding everyone to enjoy themselves while cautioning that mulligans were not allowed.

"Jim cuts a wide swath," former teammate-turned-broadcaster Steve Tasker said. "He doesn't forget people. And for that, people love him. That's why Buffalo loves him. That's why I love him.

"He's a teammate in life."

The Kelly for Kids Foundation was established in 1987, and has since donated tens of millions of dollars to numerous organizations around the region.

Kelly later founded the Hunter's Hope Foundation in honor of his son, Hunter, who was born in 1997 with Krabbe disease. That's an inherited degenerative disorder of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The disease hinders development of the myelin sheath, a fatty covering that protects the brain's nerve fibers.

Given little more than three years to live, Hunter died at the age of 8 in 2005.

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