Jim Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his success as a quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in 2002 – his first year of eligibility. Today, the story he shared during his induction is known as one of the most moving and memorable speeches given by any Hall of Fame inductee. As the closing keynote speaker of the 20th Annual LCI Congress, Jim will again tell the inspiring story of his resiliency and drive throughout a lifetime of unforeseen challenges and tragedies.
During the fourth game of his senior year playing as a quarterback for the University of Miami, Jim was blindsided and suffered a separated shoulder. A doctor said he may never gain his full range of motion back, but he proved the doctor wrong. This was the first of many times Jim displayed his sense of perseverance.
After his recovery, he went on to be drafted to the Buffalo Bills where he spent his entire NFL career, leading the team to six AFC East Championship games and four consecutive Super Bowls – an achievement no other team has matched since.
After retiring from the NFL, Jim and his wife, Jill, welcomed their first and only son Hunter into the world. Tragically, Hunter was born with a fatal disease and was given only two years to live. Like his father, Hunter showed the same resiliency. He proved doctors wrong by celebrating eight years of life until he was laid to rest in 2005.
In 2013, Jim was challenged again with a diagnosis of cancer in his upper jaw. Today, Jim is cancer-free after beating cancer more than once and hasn’t let it stop him from spreading his message of perseverance to audiences across the country.
Throughout every battle, Jim remained resilient and continued to use his platform to make a difference in the lives of others. This year, he was presented the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards where he delivered yet another powerful speech calling on us to be difference-makers for others in need.
On the evening of Thursday, October 18, LCI Congress attendees will have the opportunity to gain value from Jim’s powerful story of resiliency and perseverance – one that is relatable to all of us who have faced hardships in both our professional and personal lives.