introduction

I’d rather this book never existed. Or maybe I should restate that and say cancer wasn’t supposed to be part of my story. Our family experienced the heart-shattering loss of my younger brother, Hunter, in 2005. When you go through something like that, you kind of assume you’ve been through the worst and that the other shoe dropped when the first one did. But that’s not the case with our family.

No, we’ve not ventured into the kind of valley of death that Job did (thank God), but we’ve had a tough go of it over the last decade or so.

And it’s been hard—really hard.

As the older daughter of an NFL Hall of Famer and legend, I’m going to share some of the darkest moments and brightest miracles of my life with you as I watched my father, who won countless battles on the gridiron, battle an enemy bigger and stronger than any he met on the field—cancer.

But that’s not really what this story is about.

Oh, and don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a “be all you can be, no pain, no gain” type story.

Toughness is overrated. Trust me—I’ve seen it up-close-and-personal.

And being Kelly Tough, well, you’ll have to continue reading to understand what that really means and why it just might matter to you and your story.

What you’re about to read is a love story.

A love between a father and his daughter.

And a greater love between your heavenly Father and you.

Yes, you.

If this were just my story then I’d suggest you set this book down now and let it collect dust on your nightstand or bookcase shelf.

Like my story, there’s more to your story than you ever imagined or dreamed possible. Maybe just the thought of that seems impossible, especially now in the midst of what you’re going through. But whatever circumstance or heartbreak you find yourself overwhelmed by right now, I promise you that it’s not the end of the story.

In fact, it just might be one of the greatest chapters of your life.

You might not see it or believe it now, but someday you will. And maybe that someday will be the day you read the last page of this book.

Because as I already mentioned, this isn’t just my story; it’s yours too.

One quick thing before we move on. At the end of each chapter I share what I have called “by faith,” a summary of sorts for you to ponder as well as a few quotes and some verses I really like from the Bible that I feel compliment the content shared in the chapters.

Like I said in the beginning, I’d rather this book didn’t exist.

But now that it does, I am so thankful for all that God has done in the midst of these pages. I trust that He will do a work in your life from the moment you lift the cover until the time it is placed back on the shelf or into someone else’s hands.

With love,

Erin