A local hero and an anchor of the community in western New York, Jim Kelly has the support of his city as he continues his treatment for oral cancer.
In his most recent oral surgery, Kelly’s doctors added tissue to the upper part of his mouth after the cancer cells were observed to have returned. The intensive surgery follows many months of care, and recuperation from a 12-hour surgery he underwent in March to remove the cancerous cells and reconstruct his jaw.
As the Buffalo News reports, Kelly’s more recent oral surgery took place at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York City. Kelly’s upper jaw has many stitches following the implant surgery, which has caused swelling and slurred speech.
Despite the discomfort from the surgery, Kelly went right back to the football summer camp he runs in Buffalo. His annual camp is designed to help high school football players hone their skills on the field, and Kelly has been managing and participating in the camp for 31 years.
Amazingly, Kelly was able to play flag football with the camps, and was seen zooming around New Era Field on a golf cart just 72 hours after his intensive surgical procedure.
Kelly, a University of Miami alumnus who led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s — an NFL record — will receive an ESPY award in Los Angeles on July 18. The Jimmy V Award, named for NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano, goes to “a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.”
This is the second time Kelly’s oral cancer has returned since 2013. He has more surgeries scheduled for this August and September, including one in which surgeons will install permanent dentures.
Photo by Staff Sgt. Corenthia Fennell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons