Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still is celebrating Father’s Day with one of the best gifts he could ask for with the news that his 5-year-old daughter Leah will be able to leave the hospital Monday.
Still celebrated the news with Leah in an adorable Instagram video he published Saturday night.
Leah is battling Stage 4 neuroblastoma and has some setbacks along the way, including the complications from a May 5 stem cell transplant that forced her into her most recent hospital stay.
Devon missed most of the Bengals voluntary offseason workouts to be with Leah, but he was back at Paul Brown Stadium for last week’s mandatory minicamp, even though he had permission to miss it, and he talked about how special Father’s Day has become for him since Leah’s battle began with her diagnosis on June 2, 2014.
“Fatherhood means everything to me,” Still said. “It changes you when you bring your offspring into this world, and you know, the Bengals really last year helped me be a father first, rather than being a football player first, and that helped me deal with the situation I was in.
“When you have a daughter like mine, it’s easy to be a father to a kid like that,” Still continued. “It’s easy to love a kid with everything you have when you have a daughter like that.”
While the fact that Leah can leave the hospital Monday is encouraging, Devon said there is still more fighting ahead. He said there will be more radiation treatments in the area where her tumor was removed, followed by immunotherapy to stabilize her system.
Leah and Devon will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs on July 15. Devon said he is hopeful Leah will be able to be there in person to accept it.
“There’s a possibility,” he said. “The ESPYs have been working with us as hard as they can to make sure that I don’t put my daughter at risk when I take her out there because she has to stay away from a lot of people for about 90 days after her stem cell transplant because her immune system is still weak. But they’ve definitely been stepping up and giving us every avenue to try to get her out there so it’s all dependent upon how she feels.”