Is there anyone connected with sports more deserving of an award for perseverance and determination?  It's been a rough couple of years for legendary Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and on Wednesday night he was presented the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards.

Fellow Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino and John Elway presented the award to Kelly.  They were all members of the six quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft and Kelly thanked Elway for winning two Super Bowls, the only Super Bowls those six quarterbacks were able to win.

Kelly then went on to deliver an emotional, passionate and inspirational speech urging us to "make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow... every single person in this room can be a difference maker."

The Jimmy V Award is named after college basketball player, coach and broadcaster Jim Valvano who while battling cancer gave an incredible speech at the ESPY Awards in 1993 with the encouraging words, "don't give up.  Don't ever give up."  He died two months later.

When ESPN announced last month that he would be the winner of the award the news release stated:

“Jim Kelly truly epitomizes perseverance. We are honored to give him the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance this year as he embodies the determination, strength of character, and spirit of the award.”

Kelly has undergone three major surgeries in the past five years.  One of those surgeries in March lasted 12 hours and more recently he had a follow-up surgery on June 21st.  Four days later he was able to attend his annual football camp for kids and earlier this week he attended a camp for kids at St. John Fisher College.




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