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Motivation | Sports | Inspiration | Leadership | Parenting | Teamwork
NFL Hall Of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly exemplifies what toughness is all about. From a young boy in the small town of East Brady, PA to his days as a star quarterback in the National Football League, he has shown the courage to overcome every obstacle he has faced.
Mr. Kelly led the way for other quarterbacks at Miami University--what became known as "Quarterback U." From Miami, he went on to lead the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances and established himself as one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks to play the game. He holds virtually every Buffalo Bills passing record. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week a total of ten times during his career. He has played in the Pro Bowl five times and was named MVP in 1990.
In August of 2002, Jim Kelly was enshrined in the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed upon a professional player. At the time of his induction, only 51 of the 216 men in the Hall made it in the first year of eligibility and he did so with his arm and his courage to lead. He is the only player in Buffalo Bills history to have his jersey retired (12).
But nothing could prepare Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, for the battle they would face a few months after his retirement in January of 1997.
At four months old, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly's son Hunter was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Krabbe Disease (Globoid-Cell Leukodystrophy). Doctors did not expect their son to live past the age of two, but through love, support, and prayer, he surpassed expectations. Hunter celebrated eight years of life and found everlasting peace on August 5, 2005.
Jim and Jill Kelly established the Hunter's Hope Foundation in 1997 in honor of their son. To date, the foundation has allocated over $14 million to Leukodystrophy and other neurological disease-related research. The Foundation is the Mr. Kelly's lifelong commitment to increase public awareness of Krabbe Disease and other Leukodystrophies, as well as to increase the likelihood of early detection and treatment. The Foundation's goal is to fund research efforts to identify new treatments, therapies, and a cure for Krabbe Disease.
Mr. Kelly is a Game Analyst for both NBC Sports and ESPN, currently conducts a weekly local radio show called Under the Helmet with Jim Kelly, and has appeared on General Hospital, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Extreme Makeover, Oprah, Necessary Roughness, and Scouts Honor. He has served on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and is a founding member of the NFL Quarterback Club. In 2000, he received the Farther of the Year Award from the National Fatherhood Initiative. He has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Delta Sky, People, and Philanthropy World.
Along with Hunter's Hope Foundation, Jim Kelly serves as CEO for Jim Kelly, Inc. and is actively involved in Kelly for Kids Foundation, Jim Kelly Football Camp, and The College Channel due for launching in 2010.
Through it all, Jim Kelly and his family have prevailed. His story is one of True Courage. He is the co-author with Vic Carucci of Armed and Dangerous, (Doubleday Publishing, August 1992).
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