Days before reconstructive jaw surgery in his latest bout with cancer, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was still out raising money for the American Cancer Society.
Kelly made an appearance Sunday in Utica to sign autographs and pose for pictures with a portion of the proceeds going to cancer research. Kelly had been spending time in Arizona before returning to the East Coast for surgery, scheduled for Wednesday in New York.
"We’re inspired every day by Jim Kelly and the 15.5 million cancer survivors who have faced this disease and the thousands who are currently battling the disease,” Robert Elinskas, senior community development manager for the northeast region of the American Cancer Society, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. “We’re grateful for his help in raising the funds needed to continue to fund life-saving research, education programs, advocacy efforts and patient services. Jim Kelly was a leader on the football field and he continues to lead off the field in this important fight.”
Kelly's surgery involves the removal of part of Kelly's upper jaw and a segment of his palate. Using a technique called microvascular reconstruction, doctors plan to take a portion of the fibula from one of Kelly's legs — along with attached soft tissue and blood vessels — and insert it in his upper jaw.