Nick Kelly thought he was just tagging along with Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry on a busy Thursday on Super Bowl LIII Radio Row in Atlanta.
The moment Landry stood up as the two shared the stage on “The Jim Rome Show,” Kelly realized there was even more in store.
Landry surprised Kelly, an ambassador for the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Cleveland Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, with two tickets to Super Bowl LIII. Landry, who has made fighting cystic fibrosis a personal mission since he entered the NFL, saw it as a well-deserved token of appreciation for Kelly, whom he called “an inspiration.”
Kelly was left speechless as the two embraced on Rome’s nationally broadcast radio show.
“It’s love, man,” Landry said. “You’re an inspiration to a lot of people.”
Landry’s high school girlfriend, Mya Marie Zimmer, fought a long battle against cystic fibrosis before passing away in 2015 at the age of 24. Landry’s charitable focus has centered on finding a cure for the disease, and he acknowledges it annually through the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” platform.
“She was one of the women who helped me become the man I am, probably one of the reasons I’m sitting in this chair today,” Landry said. “I made a promise to her back then regardless of what happened between us, I’ll always push for this cause, promote this cause and raise more awareness about it.”
Kelly was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was just three months old. It didn’t stop him from achieving his goals, though, as he acquired a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Bowling Green and now works as a dietician.
“My disease does not define me,” Kelly said. “It’s all about the mentality, and that’s something we have in common. He always talks about that grind. You have to have that mentality. That’s something I’ve always prided myself on, speaking out.”