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CINCINNATI (CBSMiami) – Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still has been in the news a lot over the past year, but not for anything to do with his football career.
Still’s daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer last June.
In the time since then, the 4-year-old girl has undergone several surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor from her stomach in addition to other rounds of treatments including chemotherapy and stem-cell treatments.
After a long and hard battle, the Still’s finally received some good news on Tuesday.
Still wrote in an Instagram post that doctors “didn’t see any active disease” in Leah’s body.
He went on to say that while they still have to wait for MRI and bone biopsy results later this week, “doctors feel very optimistic about [the tests] because of the results from [Tuesday]”.
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That moment you get the best news you've ever received and don't know what to do so you just flex!! We got Leah's Scans back tonight and the doctors told us they didn't see any active disease in her body!!! We still have to wait for her MRI and bone biopsy results later this week. But the doctors feel very optimistic about them because of the results from today. So for now we celebrate!! #LeahStrong #PrayersWork #ThankYouEveryOne #ImSoHappyIFeelNumb #BeatCancer #NotCancerFreeYetButWeOnTheWayThere
This is obviously great news for the Still family. People around the country have been showing their support for young Leah after her fight with the disease became a national story.
Last September, Still was originally cut by the Bengals at the end of training camp after playing two seasons with the team. It’s no coincidence that the next day, he was signed to the team’s practice squad.
By signing Still, the Bengals were giving him something better than just an opportunity to continue his NFL career. Under contract with Cincinnati, Still was provided health care by the team which was huge for him and his daughter.
Still had been told that Leah’s medical expenses would cost around $1 million. The Bengals knew that and quickly added him to the practice squad to help with Leah’s care.
After just one week, Still was promoted to Cincinnati’s 53-man roster and remained there for the majority of the season. He played 12 games and finished the year with 19 tackles.
The team even began selling replicas of Still’s #75 jersey and donated the proceeds to pediatric cancer research. During a nationally televised game against the Cleveland Browns last November, the Bengals donated $1.25 million to the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center Hospital, funds that were collected through Still’s jersey sales.
Devon and Leah announced in January that they had written a children’s book titled I Am Leah Strong for kids who are undergoing cancer treatments. The book was released in February and is available online.
Still is currently an unrestricted free agent but has an offer on the table from the Bengals for one year, $1.54 million.
Follow David on Twitter (@DavidDwork)