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"Never, Never Give Up": Many Faith-Filled Moments at This Year's ESPYS Award Ceremony

Mark Martin : Jul 20, 2018 : CBN News

"Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow." -NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly

(Los Angeles, CA)—[CBN News] At the awards ceremony in which fans honor the best in sports, highlights included powerful, inspirational, faith-filled moments. (Screengrab: Jim Kelly/via ESPN video)

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPYS.

The Jimmy V Award is named for the late Jim Valvano, a former North Carolina State men's basketball coach, who gave an emotional acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 1993. He was battling cancer, and during the speech said, "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."

Kelly is recovering from surgery in March to remove oral cancer, and in his inspiring acceptance speech Wednesday night, he referred to Valvano, saying, "Always, always persevere. Like Jimmy V said, never, ever give up."

The focus of Kelly's speech was ''Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow."

"So I just urge anybody out there, if you have somebody out there who is suffering—it doesn't have to be cancer—it could be somebody not having a good day," Kelly said. "It could be your mom or your dad," he continued. "It could be your grandparents. What you say to them, the smile that you have on your face, that could be the difference in them making it to the next day."

Kelly concluded his acceptance speech, saying, "And to my Bills fans back home, 'I love you,' and to everybody here tonight and to the Jimmy V Foundation, 'Thank you for honoring me and humbling me with this award.'"

"I love you all. God bless, and may the good Lord continue to bless you. Thank you," he said.

The 700 Club's Terry Meeuwsen interviewed Kelly in 2012, discussing a book he wrote, entitled, 'The Playbook for Dads.' The accompanying article at says "Kelly committed his life to the Lord in 2007."

"Christianity wasn't the magic bullet to a perfect life, but it is the source of my hope and identity," Kelly said.

The article went on to say that he referred to himself as a work in progress.

Another powerful moment at the 2018 ESPYS involved hundreds of young women and girls, who were sexual abuse victims of former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar, receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. (Screengrab: via ESPN video)

The first victim to speak publicly about the abuse by Nassar was former gymnast Rachael Denhollander. She couldn't attend the ESPYS because she's close to giving birth to her fourth child, The Detroit News reported.

But she told the news outlet that she hopes the award means culture is changing in how it views abuse victims.

"It's an incredible honor, but means so much more because my hope is that it signals a cultural shift in how abuse survivors are treated and viewed," Denhollander said.

"I am constantly aware that behind myself and each Sister Survivor are hundreds of other survivors who still have no voice and do not have the support or army behind them," she continued.

"We remember them, and stand for them, tonight too," she said.

CBN News reported in January how Denhollander shared the love of Jesus Christ with Nassar during his sentencing hearing.

"Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing," she said to Nassar. "And that is what makes the Gospel of Christ so sweet."

"Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found, and it will be there for you," she said.

In another inspirational moment at the awards show, three coaches who died in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year, received the Best Coach award.

Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon received ESPYS posthumously.

The families of the three coaches received a standing ovation.

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