Kelly Stafford’s, Wife of Matthew Stafford, Battle with Brain Tumor in Detroit

by Suzanne Halliburton

Matthew Stafford likely is on his way out of Detroit. And his wife, Kelly, admits she’s shedding “random tears.”

After all, the city helped pull her through the “toughest time” of her life. Matthew Stafford was the Detroit Lions long-time quarterback but is all-but-confirmed to be leaving the team. Kelly is his wife.

Kelly Stafford talked about leaving Instagram in an emotional post: “Thank you. This place, our home, the people… it’s hard to find the words to explain what this place means to me. Random tears come very often when I think about not being here.

“This place supported me during the toughest time of my life and during the happiest times and I want to thank y’all in the right way. “

The picture Kelly Stafford posted was of her hugging her husband in front of Ford Field.

Matthew Stafford And Wife Had To Get Through Devastating Diagnosis

So what was the toughest time of Kelly Stafford’s life? Her brain tumor.

The couple met when the two were attending Georgia. He was the star quarterback. She was a Bulldogs cheerleader. They were engaged long after Detroit used the No. 1 pick of the 2009 draft to select Matthew Stafford as the team’s franchise quarterback.

They were married in 2015 and didn’t waste time starting a family. The two have three young daughters.

Then in 2019, Kelly Stafford, who then was in her late 20s, received devastating news. After an MRI, doctors diagnosed her with acoustic neuroma, a slow-growing brain tumor. The tumor was attached to the nerve between her brain and inner ear. That’s why she was getting dizzy and feeling light-headed during normal activities.

“You know how they tell you to get up slowly, because you could be lightheaded and I’ve had that before,” Kelly Stafford told a Detroit TV station. “When I got up, it was a completely different feeling. And the room just started spinning on me. I grabbed the bed a little bit and I sat down and I called the lady back in and asked will you bring me some water? Got some water, stood up, happened all over again.”

Couple Was In California For Diagnosis

Kelly Stafford initially went to an emergency room. She was treated for vertigo. The couple was in California when she received her diagnosis. Matthew Stafford was with his wife as they waited to see the neurosurgeon.

“I remember sitting down, with (Matthew Stafford) in the waiting room and just losing it,” Kelly Stafford said. “Just thinking about our girls and the unknown. But I also remember looking around in that waiting room, at all the other people sitting there waiting to get looked at.”

They flew back to Detroit for the 12-hour brain surgery at University of Michigan Hospital.

Matthew Stafford said the doctor gave him an old-school pager. That’s how the quarterback received updates on his wife while she was in surgery.

Matthew Stafford described the messages:

“It was kinda like ‘ran into a hurdle, expect the surgery to go two hours longer than expected.’ Updates like that. ‘Everything on track, Kelly doing well.’ Those were the messages I was getting. You don’t really know the extent of what’s going on. When he finally came out and talked to us, we understood why it took longer than expected. He did an incredible job.”

Husband, Friends, Relatives Helped Out After Kelly’s Surgery

Kelly Stafford spent a week in the hospital. As promised, the surgeon saved her hearing.

“Every day, Matthew would come and help me out of bed, walk to the sink, brush my teeth,” Kelly said.

“I could not have done it without this man next to me, but also without all the support of the people that are close to us. We had parents here, siblings here, my mom was here for a long time. Our nanny is exceptional. I trust her more with my kids than I trust myself.

“I told Matthew, I think about those people who go through this and don’t have these privileges that we have and how they heal. They have to be complete rock stars because I truly don’t know how I would have done it without these people.”

No wonder Detroit holds a special place in the hearts of Matthew Stafford and his wife, Kelly.

The couple likely won’t know their next destination until at least March. That’s when the NFL’s 2021 calendar officially starts. So there will be time for a long, thankful, good-bye.