Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance Wednesdy night in Los Angeles. The award is presented to a "deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perserverance and determination."
Accompanied on stage by his daughters, Kelly, 58, gave an emotional speech that urged all to never give up, no matter what they are battling.
"I came up with a saying, 'Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow,'" Kelly said. "When I look across this arena and when I talk to people and I look at you, you don't need to be a Russell Wilson, an Aaron Rogers to make a difference out there. Every single person in this room can be a difference maker."
Kelly, who led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances from 1990 through 1993, gave a shoutout to his Bills "family" and the fans.
"To my Bills fans back at home, I love you," he said.
He also urged fans to offer positivity to others in need.
"If you have somebody out there who is suffering - it doesn't have to be cancer, it could be somebody not having a good day, it could be your mom or your dad, it could be your grandparents - what you say to them, the smile that you have on your face, that could be the difference in them making it to the next day," Kelly said.
Before accepting his award, the audience watched a video remembering Kelly's son, Hunter, who died of Krabbe disease at age 8 in 2005.
"It is never easy watching video about my son," he said, "So many times I've dreamt and continued to dream about my son, Hunter, and what he's meant in my life and will never stop."
The Jimmy V Award is named for former North Carolina State men's basketball coach Jim Valvano, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 46. Kelly included Valvano's inspirational words in his acceptance speech.
"Like Jimmy V said, 'never, ever give up,'" Kelly repeated.