Drake’s catchy phrase “blessings on blessings on blessings” is especially appropriate on this particular day. Today, we celebrate the remission of four-year-old Leah Still and her long battle with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer. Fist bumps and smiles are heavy in rotation. Her father, Devon Still from the Cincinnati Bengals, is rejoicing for the recovery of his beautiful daughter, who was diagnosed nearly a year ago.
He took to Fox & Friends to confess that he learned more about true strength from the time spent with his daughter than he has in his football career. “Being tough is not on the football field,” he said. “It’s not not the weight room, but [it is] watching my daughter fight for her life for nine months with a smile on her face. That taught me a lot about the perspective on life.”
Words from Devon Still on his Instagram also got the tears going.
June 2, 2014 and March 25, 2015 are days I will remember for the rest of my life. As everyone probably knows, June 2nd was the day doctors walked into the waiting room to tell me my daughter had cancer. It was the most devastating day of my life. March 25th , however, is feeling like the best day of my life. Today we received news from Leah’s oncologist that her cancer, stage four neuroblastoma, is officially in REMISSION! After 296 days of day dreaming about what it would feel like to hear the doctors say my daughter is in remission, I finally know the feeling. Funny thing is there is really no way of describing it because I never knew this feeling existed. When I look at my daughter all I can do is smile and hug her. It was not easy but every day, and every treatment Leah fought like hell and kicked cancers butt! I’m so proud and blessed to call her my daughter. She has made an impact on me and on the world, at the age of four, that I can only wish to make in a lifetime. Thank you to my family and friends for the support through all those tough days. Thank you to everyone who has sent a letter to give Leah and our family motivation to keep fighting, a toy that helped Leah get through her days in the hospital, and more importantly a prayer that helped God hear our cries for healing. Thank you to the doctors at CHOP for putting together the best plan of action for my daughter. Thank you to Child Life members Sarah, Laura, and Lindsey for really turning what could be a scary place into a place where Leah would enjoy going because she knew she would have fun with you guys. Thank you to the Bengals for taking on my situation and standing by me and my family and for helping to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. To every media outlet and persons that helped raise much needed awareness, thank you. Leah is not done with treatments yet. She still needs more to make sure the cancer cells do not return and to build back up her immune system and other damage from the chemo but I know my little warrior will get through it! #FistBump #LeahStrong #BeatCancer #TheFightAgainstChildhoodCancerIsFarFromOver #ThrowingTheBiggestKidPartyEver #WaitForIt
With a 50/50 chance to live, Leah has showed us more about life in the past months than many of us feel in years. It first began with a viral video of Devon and his daughter fist-bumping as they took the routine commute to the hospital for treatment. A vibrant and adorable Leah is shown giving life to the camera, even amongst the conditions. With the full support and love from Devon’s family, friends, and fellow Bengals, he was able to stand by his daughter’s side every step of the way. The compassion of Coach Lewis allowed Devon to work close to home and maintain an income that provided for the (jaw-dropping) medical bills that piled for Leah’s treatments. Devon’s devoted teammates helped to raise $1.3 million dollars by auctioning off his journey, with all funds going towards the children’s hospital where Leah was receiving treatment.
The love and positivity all around Leah and her father have come a long way. Now every time you fist-bump, remember the hard fight that lies behind it.
Photo Credit: Instagram