“Your son has been diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy. There is no treatment and no cure. I will do everything I can to help your son. But the disease has already progressed so fast that I don’t think he will live to see his second birthday.” With these words, pro football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, were catapulted from a seemingly fairy-tale life of celebrity into a world of private struggle and medical uncertainty. What the public didn’t know, however, was that behind the scenes lurked more than a family’s pain at the dire prognosis of their only son. Hunter’s illness exposed the troubled depths of a marriage that had long been shadowed by uncertainties of its own. For eight years the future was unwritten, with Hunter defying all medical odds and his parents pursuing every means to save his life. Meanwhile, Jim and Jill’s marriage continued to fail yet was held together only by their love for their kids and their determined hope for Hunter. Though Hunter’s illness prevented him from ever speaking a word, his will and unconditional love spoke volumes to his family and all who knew him. And in time, the light of Hunter’s silent, all-too-brief life shone into the darkened corners of Jim and Jill’s lives, leading them to authentic faith, a restored relationship, and the establishment of a foundation that is reaching other families with terminally ill children around the world. Without a Word transparently shares it all: The heartbreaking moments . . . and those Jill would love to relive. Moments that add up to a time filled with unimaginable pain . . . and indescribable joy. Moments that silently transformed the hearts of every member of her family . . . and changed their lives forever. Moments that may even change your heart and life, too.
Jill Kelly is the wife of NFL Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. In September 1997, three months after their infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with a fatal disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy, Jim and Jill founded the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. As chairman of the board of Hunter’s Hope, Jill helps children suffering from Leukodystrophy and their families by raising awareness and research funds to fight this devastating disease. She has also written two other books, Prayers for Those Who Grieve and Prayers for the Brokenhearted. She and Jim live in Buffalo, New York, with their two daughters and three dogs.