Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly announced Monday morning that he will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance award at the ESPYs this year.
The Bills icon was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2013 and has battled the disease since. He was declared cancer-free in 2016, but the disease returned in March and he was forced to undergo surgery. He’s hoping he can stay healthy enough to accept the award on July 18.
“God willing I’ll be there,” Kelly said Monday, via ESPN.
Speaking prior to the 32nd annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic, a charity golf tournament, the man who quarterbacked the Bills from 1986-96 lauded the community that has supported him in increasingly difficult times.
“Buffalo, NY, you have the biggest heart in the world,” Kelly said in video captured by reporter Sal Capaccio. “I love you, I continue to love you each and every year and I hope as my brother Danny said last night, I hope we’re able to do this [for another] 40 and maybe 50 years.”
Kelly, a five-time Pro Bowler, struggled physically to speak at the event, which raises money for his charity, Kelly for Kids.
Kelly will join former Bills tight end Kevin Everett, who was paralyzed from the neck down in 2007, as a recipient of the award. Other winners include Rutgers’ Eric LeGrand and late broadcasters Stuart Scott and Craig Sager.