By: Ryan O’Toole ~Guest Writer~
Over the summer, getting back onto the football field was the main concern for Bengals lineman Devon Still, until his whole world was turned upside down.
Still was driving to a dance recital when his daughter, Leah, began to experience pain and fever-like symptoms. He turned the car around and took her to the hospital, where she would soon be diagnosed with a type of pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma.
The cancerous tumor is located on her hip. She was given a 50 percent chance of survival by doctors. Suddenly, everything changed for Still.
“Football stopped crossing my mind,” he said. “When I heard she had a 50 percent chance of survival, I just wanted to spend all my time with her. That is not time you could ever get back.”
The Bengals were very kind to Still. Head coach Marvin Lewis told Still he could take all the time he needed. He was cut from the roster after training camp, but remained on the practice squad where he would keep his insurance to pay for Leah’s treatments. The Bengals also announced that all proceeds from Still’s jersey sales would be sent to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to help fight pediatric cancer, with each jersey going for $100. There has been more than $500,00 raised in support of Leah.
“At times I’ve felt like I couldn’t go on. This has hit me harder than any obstacle I’ve faced in my life. It makes no sense to me. I never heard of neuroblastoma before, and now I am an expert on it. But the Bengals have been so good to me,” Still said. “People I don’t know have been so good to me. Fans have been so good.”
Still’s story has been broadcasted throughout the country and there has been an outpouring of support.
Still has played with the Bengals the past two weeks, but his thoughts remain with his daughter, whose Sept. 25 surgery date is quickly approaching. Thanks to enormous support from his family, the Bengals and people around the country, Still and his daughter are set to take this next step in the road to Leah’s recovery.
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