Erin Kelly on Her Dad, Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly’s daughter shares story

Updated: Tuesday, May 19 2015

“Jim Kelly big muscles”. Erin Kelly, remembers her first sentence and laughs at the irony. Jim Kelly’s 20 year old daughter and author of “Kelly Tough” couldn’t have written it better.

Erin’s book being released this month tells the Kelly family story from her perspective. The toughest Kelly of them all: younger brother Hunter, born with Krabbes a fatal genetic disease. “He’s the most incredible human I’ve ever met, says Erin Kelly. “We wanted to know God after Hunter. His death transformed the Kellys with a new found faith.

Her brother’s death would not be the first time Erin would learn life doesn’t always go as planned. Erin says, “I didn’t expect my dad to ever come to me and say what he said. He admitted to me he had not been faithful to my mom. The fact he came to me and apologized says a lot about his character and who he is to me that showed a lot about what I’m going to look for in a husband”.

The tough guy with tears in his eyes was forgiven by his daughter.

Jim and Erin two bonded over basketball and the Bills. Life was good and then another setback just as Erin was heading to college. Jim was diagnosed with-cancer of the upper jaw.

Cancer treatment and a recurrence would test Erin’s faith like nothing else.” I remember my mom praying over him like I’ve never seen her pray before, and I think in the moment it hit me, I might lose the most important person in my life.” From there, I started living more in those moments. I think that was one of the defining moments and I thought these moments are going to be cherished”.

Erin says cancer also changed her dad and adds, “I don’t remember much of who he was before all of this which is interesting. I see who he is now he’s living fully, every single day”.

Physically he’s not the same Jim Kelly of his football years. “The Jim Kelly big muscles” his young daughter once spoke of has been replaced with something even stronger, something only a young woman who has seen a lot can appreciate. “I’ll take the physically weak man with the spiritual toughness way more than the tough.”

Jim Kelly continues to be cancer free and is growing physically stronger.

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