Two days after Jim Kelly announced that his cancer had returned, the Hall of Fame quarterback gave an inspirational speech at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation dinner where he was originally invited to receive the organization's award of excellence.
But any concerns that Kelly might cancel in light of recent developments were immediately put to rest by the quarterback himself. "I go, 'Hey, I'm not dead. If I can still go, I'm going,'" Kelly told the crowd, according to the Buffalo News's Vic Carucci.
He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013, when doctors gave him just a 10 percent chance to live. The cancer "came back with a vengeance" a year later and it has returned once again.
"All of a sudden, I didn't know where it was going, wasn't sure I was going to make it," Kelly said of the original diagnosis. "But one thing my family did and I just urge everyone in this room, if you're going to see someone -- they don't have to have cancer -- not one time did my family ever walk into my hospital room with a frown on their face. They walked in with an attitude that they were going to make my day better by their presence and what they said each and every day. And, boy, did that make a difference. My family knew I was going to fight through, they knew I was going to beat it and, more importantly, me in my heart knew I was going to beat it."
Kelly added that he's drawn inspiration from those who have said they've been inspired by his journey.
"I want them to know that they inspire me to never give up," he said. "Because if I can make a difference for you, I know what you've done for me. I live by this motto: Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow."
And the former Bills star even got a laugh out of those well-wishers who are fans of other teams, including Buffalo's rivals.
Kelly is scheduled for surgery at the end of the month but that won't affect his plans to attend a fishing tournament in Miami on Sunday.
"If the good Lord decides tomorrow's my day, hey, I'm going out with a fish in one hand and a cup of beer in the other, "he said.
Whatever happens, know this: Kelly won't give up.
"I might have lost four Super Bowls in a row, but I've kicked cancer's (butt) twice," Kelly told Carucci during a phone interview on Friday. "And I plan on making it a third, with the grace of God."