Forget all the talk about horrific refereeing and guys like Greg army clogging the sporting reports, this is what we need to be paying attention to. This week, perhaps year’s biggest win was earned a day earlier by Leah Still, the 5-year-old daughter of former NFL player Devon Still.
Almost a year and a half after Leah was diagnosed with cancer, the 26-year-old former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle announced Wednesday on Instagram that doctors found “no evidence of disease” in Leah’s body, in turn, “cancer-free.”
To announce the amazing news, Still posted this picture to his Instagram page, with the caption:
Thanks for all the support and prayers! Just got the phone call that her scans showed NED (no evidence of disease)! #LeahStrong #StillKickinCancersAss
Since June 2014, when doctors diagnosed Leah with Stage-4 neuroblastoma and gave her a 50/50 chance to survive, it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions for everyone involved.
Still shot into the spotlight from an unknown player who didn’t know if he’d make the [Bengals] team, to a celebrity for all the right reasons, showing support for his daughter which the world now knows. The Bengals put on a genius campaign involving Still’s jersey, where the proceeds from every one bought would go directly towards pediatric cancer research, to which remarkably, within 24 hours, Still $100 jersey had more sales than Brady, Manning, Rodgers-every player in the entire NFL. Even coaches from other teams including Sean Payton were supporting the cause.
Unfavorable news hit the family months after Leah’s devastating diagnosis, when Devon was cut from the Bengals, to which he announced intentions to suspend his NFL career to care for his daughter. But they both received a reprieve when Bengals executives assigned him to the practice squad, then reinstated him to the team’s 56-man roster for the remainder of that season to provide better medical coverage. The team, a class-act through the whole ordeal, even donated profits from the sale of his jersey to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to fight pediatric cancers.
Devon and Leah made the most of the opportunity to raise awareness through events and social media (using the hashtags #LeahStrong and #StillStrong), raise funds for cancer-related causes, and serve as inspirations to everyone who’s been affected by the deadly disease. Still even wrote phrases supporting his message on egis eye black, which he wore during games.
Leah Still went through a grueling amount of surgeries, radiation, and other treatments not exactly knowing how many of millions of people where behind her, hopefully one day she’ll grow up to realize how much America fell in love with the little girl that stole out hearts.