Devon Still accepts Espys Award for daughter preserving through stage IV cancer.
Last Wednesday night at the Espy Awards, defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals Devon Still accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance award for his daughter Leah Still, who is battling neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer. The award was named after North Carolina State college-basketball coach and past bone cancer survivor, Jim Valvano. Valvano advocated for bone cancer before he died in 1993 shortly after receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the Espys.
Leah’s father had this to say during his speech:
“For every child out there that’s battling cancer … y’all are the real heroes,” Still said. “I am here today to let y’all know, as long as I have this platform I’m going to continue to fight for y’all.”
Doctors found a tumor in the 5-year-old’s stomach back in the summer of 2014, and diagnosed her with Stage IV neuroblastoma and gave her a 50 percent chance of survival.
Although Leah did not attend the awards show, she did make an appearance in a pre-recorded video thanking everyone for their support and for honoring her with the award.
The Bengals player was cut from the team but was later assigned to the teams practice squad. Fortunately, Leah is covered by the team’s health insurance.
In keeping the support for Still’s daughter alive, the team agreed to sell his jersey and donate the profits to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to help fight against the disease.
Devon and daughter Leah are currently working on a children’s book called, “I am Leah Strong” for children with neuroblastoma. Proceeds from the book sells will go to pediatric cancer charities.
“After having numerous families contact me for advice on how to deal with fighting pediatric cancer and seeing the amount of kids that follow Leah’s story, Leah and I decided to write a children’s book that talks about Leah’s fight,” said Devon Still in an Instagram post.
The book can be pre-ordered at iamleahstrong.com or by calling 312-455-CURE.
To join the Still family in the fight against cancer use the hashtag #LeahStrong and #StillStrong to help raise awareness on social media sites and fundraise for events involving the cancer fight.
For information on volunteer opportunities with the American Cancer Society go to http://www.cancer.org/involved/volunteer/index to find event and program information.