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Jill Kelly  

Author, Speaker, & Chairwoman of Hunter's Hope Foundation

“Jim and Jill must be commended for sharing this heartfelt story. Their bravery and courage is unsurpassable.” —Brett & Deanna Favre

Jill Marie Kelly is the wife of retired Buffalo Bills Quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, Jill and Jim have been married for 14 years and have three children, Erin (15), Hunter (February 14, 1997 – August 5, 2005), and Camryn (10), plus three dogs. A seasoned writer, Jill has authored four books, including her family memoir, Without A Word – How a Boy’s Unspoken Love Changed Everything. A New York Times best-seller, it is the story of how their son’s love was so powerful, it not only overcame his disease, but brought the Kellys to a place of life, joy, and faith that can only be called miraculous.

Two weeks after Jim Kelly retired from his NFL Hall of Fame career in 1997, his son Hunter James Kelly was born on his dad’s birthday. Jim and Jill Kelly were on top of the world: their family was growing and the future couldn’t have been brighter. But when Hunter was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease, likely to end his life before his second birthday, dark clouds of heartbreak and grief shrouded the light of promise. Yet somehow, even as Krabbe Disease claimed Hunter’s life eight years later, the disease could not overcome his triumphant spirit.

In her best-selling memoir, Without A Word, Jill recounts how the Kellys discovered life, joy, and faith in the midst of suffering. Artfully revealing how Hunter impacted his family and the lives of countless others during his brief 8 ½ years, she candidly details both the joy and heartbreak of parenting a child with Krabbe disease.

In September 1997, Jim and Jill founded the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. As Chairwoman of Hunter’s Hope, Jill helps leukodystrophy children and their families by raising awareness and research funds for these devastating diseases, and advocating for Universal Newborn Screening. Jill and Jim have shared Hunter’s story and the hope of Hunter’s Hope all over the world. They have appeared nationally on many television shows including Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Discovery Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports and others. Jim and Jill have also appeared in various print publications including USA Today, McCall’s Magazine, Reader’s Digest and People.

A much sought after speaker, Jill has spent the past ten years sharing her heart with people wherever God opens the doors. Whether speaking at large, nationally acclaimed festivals and mega-churches, or close, intimate gatherings of youth groups, retreats, and Bible studies Jill’s warmth, openness, and down-to-earth approach allow her insightful messages to connect at a deeply personal level.

In addition to her memoir, Jill is the author of three books of prayers, including Prayers for Those Who Grieve and Prayers of Hope for the Brokenhearted (Harvest House). Her literary achievements continue to bring invitations to speak about subjects dear to her, while encouraging people everywhere to always persevere through trails.

The Kelly family resides in Western New York.

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