Heartbreaking news came from Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still on Sunday. Devon, 25, wrote on his Instagram profile that his 4-year-old daughter, Leah Still, continues to battle cancer. She’s been fighting Stage 4 cancer over the last several months.
“I wanted to hear so bad that my daughter’s cancer was gone and when I didn’t it hurt me bad. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my family the results without breaking down. I honestly just wanted to shut down from every one.”
“But I understand that blessing don’t happen when I want them to, they happen when they’re suppose to. So we are going to keep faith and keep fighting no matter what. #LeahStrong #BeatCancer”
According to the Associated Press, a cancerous growth in Leah’s abdomen had been discovered in June last year. She went through surgery and chemotherapy and has continued treatment over the months since then.
At the end of last August, Devon was cut from the Bengals due to injuries he sustained in the preseason and his mind being preoccupied with his daughter’s illness. Devon told reporters he couldn’t focus on football at that time, with Leah understandably on his mind.
Still was re-signed to the practice squad a day later when the team learned Still’s daughter had cancer so he could pay for her medical expenses with health insurance from the NFL. A week after that, Still was promoted to the active roster.
A photo posted by Devon Still (@man_of_still75) on
Back in November, Still’s daughter was well enough to leave the hospital in Philadelphia and watch him play football in person at a home game in Cincinnati. Still said Leah hoped he would do a robot dance.
Devon Still told ABC’s Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO, the following.
“I got to do something for her. You got to make a play. You can’t just be out there dancing for no reason.”
At that game after the first quarter, Leah took part in a ceremony in which the Bengals presented a check to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for $1.3 million to go toward pediatric cancer research. The money was raised from sales of Devon Still’s jersey, No. 75, which ended up selling out.
Devon and Leah have received an outpouring of support from not only Cincinnati fans, but fans of other teams as well. After the heartbreaking news Devon has just revealed, there are more messages than ever on his Instagram account with words of encouragement, support, and prayer.
As Devon Still wrote Sunday, he and Leah aren’t giving up their fight anytime soon.
[Image courtesy of ABC News and NY Daily News]