It all began with Hunter James Kelly, the little boy who wasn't supposed to live to see his second birthday.
Shortly after he entered this world, Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects one in every 100,000 children.
While his battle with the condition did ultimately cost him his life, Hunter beat the odds and made it to age 8. This was partly owing to his own strength and will to live, but also to the tireless efforts of his parents, who worked very hard to make sure he had the care and support that he needed -- both medical and personal.
His father is Jim Kelly, former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. His mother is Jill Kelly, a former model, a longtime Attica resident and an alumnus of Notre Dame High School in Batavia.
The Kellys were devastated by the loss of their son, and this devastation could easily have shattered their family.
Instead, it brought them closer together.
The same devastation could also easily have snuffed out any faith they had in the possibility of any meaning, purpose or goodness in the universe.
Instead, it drew them into a close, personal relationship with a loving God.
Hunter's ordeal, the hurdles Jim and Jill faced in their marriage, their love for their children, the faith they both found...these are some of the subjects that Jill covers in her new memoir, "Without a Word: How a Boy's Unspoken Love Changed Everything."
"Without a Word" will be Jill's third published work. The others are "Prayers for Those Who Grieve" and "Prayers of Hope for the Brokenhearted."
As you might expect, the memoir is told mainly from Jill's perspective. But it also includes contributions from Jim and the couple's two daughters, Erin Marie and Camryn Lynn. Each member of the Kelly family shares his/her experience as part of a family that has suffered together, loved together, struggled together, and believed together.
Jill will be featured on NBC's "Today Show" on Sept. 10 (the day after the book's release) and on "Fox and Friends" on Sept. 11.
In the meantime, she was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with The Batavian about the faith that has sustained her throughout all of her ordeals and given her a strength, peace and joy that inspires everyone around her: