It’s been a week since Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly had extensive surgery in New York City to remove cancer in his jaw and have it reconstructed. Kelly is expected to be in the hospital for at least another week, but his dentists here in western New York are using the opportunity to honor him and potentially save lives.
“He comes in regularly and he’s normally doing just fine. It was news to us that it had come back,” said Dr. Jeffrey Martin, a dentist at Westermeier Martin Dental Care in East Aurora.
For Dr. Jeffrey Martin, Bills hall of Famer Jim Kelly isn’t just a patient — he’s a friend.
“Jim is one of the greatest guys that we’ve ever met,” said Dr. Martin.
Kelly continues to recover at Mount Sinai in New York City from a 12-hour surgery to remove cancer in his jaw. His family has been giving updates on social media and showing pictures of the couple sharing a hug.
Now Dr. Martin wants to help honor his friend by offering free oral cancer screenings April 12th – for #12.
“It’s very simple, you know it just takes a few minutes. Look in somebody’s mouth, look at their lymph nodes just to make sure that everything’s normal,” said Dr. Martin.
April is oral cancer awareness month and Dr. Martin wants more people to know the signs of the deadly disease.
“Red irritated areas or white areas or ulcers that aren’t healing right away,” said Dr. Martin.
And as Kelly took his first steps after surgery this week, Dr. martin says getting screened is the first step in possibly saving a life.
“He wants everyone in western New York to make sure they’re screened and make sure they get checked out regularly so they don’t have to go through you know what’s he’s gone through,” said Dr. Martin.
Dr. Martin says 51,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. He says it’s becoming more common in young adults now in their 20’s and 30’s.
The screenings will be at both Westermeier Martin Dental Care locations in East Aurora and Amherst. People can go anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on April 12th to be checked out.