Devon Still revealed that his daughter is cancer free!
On Tuesday, January 12, Still, a former Penn State football player, shared an update on Instagram revealing that his 5-year-old daughter, Leah, who he had with his ex-girlfriend Channing Smythe, had beat cancer after 18 long months of chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, and stem cell treatments.
Along with the update, Still shared a photo that read, “Leah Strong, 41 days of chemotherapy, 40 days of antibody therapy, 19 days of radiation, seven hour surgery, one win!”
“With Leah finishing her last treatment last night, I can really say my daughter BEAT CANCER!” Still wrote in the emotional update. “Words can’t describe how proud I am of this girl. No matter how hard it got or how painful the treatments were (and it was pretty bad a lot of the times) she never gave up!”
Devon Still continued his post by thanking his fans, family members, friends and social media followers for their support during this difficult time.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 13, 2016
“I want to thank everyone who followed us as I documented her fight on social media. The amount of support we received was beyond amazing! I can honestly say that you all made a big difference,” Still wrote. “Every time we received bad news or felt like it was coming to a point were we couldn’t fight anymore, I would go to the comments you all wrote cheering us on and it would make us fight so much harder.”
Leah was first diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, specifically, a cancer known as neuroblastoma, in June 2014 when she was only 4-years-old. At the time, the doctors informed Still and Smythe that their daughter only had a 50 percent chance of survival. Still started documenting her cancer battle on his Instagram using the hashtag #LeahStrong. Leah went into remission in March 2015 and finished her final treatment earlier this week.
Leah was awarded the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award at the 2015 ESPYs. Because she was too weak to attend the ceremony to accept the award in person, Still accepted it for her and gave an emotional speech about his daughter’s courage.
“At the age of 4, my daughter hadn’t even began to understand what life was all about,” Still said as he accepted the award. “I remember one night in the hospital, she just started putting things in her stomach and putting it in mine. She said, ‘Dad, I’m taking the cancer from me and giving it all to you.’ I started breaking down right there. She’s the toughest person I’ve ever met and she has the mindset that nothing will hold her down.”
Since kicking cancer’s butt, Leah has been very busy. In September, Leah walked in the Kids Rock! Fashion Show in New York City, strutting her stuff confidently down the runway, according to Us Weekly. Last week, after finishing her final treatment, she got to hang out with basketball star LeBron James.
James later shared a photo of their encounter, and captioned the photo by saying, “You go girl!!! Last treatment session today was a success and we’re off and running like never before. Continue to inspire me as well as so many others. Uncle LeBron loves you so much and we’re going to play Barbie house/tea party all together very soon. U, Daddy, Zhuri and Uncle LeBron.”
— E! Online (@eonline) January 12, 2016
At the end of his Instagram post, Devon Still shared some important advice for other families that are going through what his family went through, telling them to give their child’s cancer a purpose and use it to raise awareness.
“My advice to any family going through this battle: no matter how hard it gets, no matter what the doctors tell you, always remain positive! Speak victory into existence. Give your child’s fight with cancer a purpose,” Still wrote. “Use it to raise awareness so that you can help all kids fighting this disease. No matter how big or small your platform/following is, you will reach that one family that just needs to know they’re not alone in the fight so they don’t give up. drop to your knees everyday and pray.”
[Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]