Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still hoped to attend Wednesday’s ESPYS in Los Angeles with his daughter, Leah. The two will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award for fighting Leah’s cancer over the past year.
Five-year-old Leah, however, will not be able to make the trip. In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Still shared that doctors could not clear Leah to travel because her immune system was still weakened. Though her stage-4 neuroblastoma went into remission in March, Leah has continued to receive stem-cell treatments and radiation to strengthen her immune system.
“We are short one princess but unfortunately the doctors didn't give her the ok because her immune system is still weak,” Still wrote in the Instagram post, which showed him with some family members en route to Los Angeles. “She told me to hold it down for her on that stage so that's what I'm going to do!”
Leah was initially diagnosed in June 2014 and given a 50/50 chance to survive. The Bengals released Still from their active roster but added him to the practice squad so that he could maintain his health insurance to help pay for Leah’s medical care. Still was later added back onto the active roster and appeared in 12 games last season, recording 19 tackles.
Headed out LA with the fam @ashaadore @kerwaa @itonestill We are short one princess but unfortunately the doctors didn't give her the ok because her immune system is still weak. She told me to hold it down for her on that stage so that's what I'm going to do! #LeahStrong #ImTheOnlyMorningPerson #MySisterBetterLeaveThoseDamnHandSignsBackHereInPhilly
A photo posted by Devon Still (@man_of_still75) on
- Mike Fiammetta