View Full Version : Bengals Defensive Lineman Devon Still Reveals His Daughter Has Cancer

06-07-2014, 09:41 AM
Hopefully we hear some happy updates soon.

When Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still returns to the field this season, he will do so with a heavy heart.

Still revealed Wednesday in an Instagram post that his daughter, Leah, has been diagnosed with cancer.
“Last night I found out my daughter has cancer,” Still wrote. “I decided to let (people) know not for sympathy, because I’ve come to the point where (I’m) no longer feeling sorrow, but to ask that y’all keep my daughter in your prayers. The more prayers that go up, the more faith we (have) that she will overcome this obstacle.”

Still was taken by the Bengals in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft after a standout college career at Penn State. He has appeared in 18 games as a reserve player for Cincinnati over the last two seasons. “If y’all know me, y’all know this girl is my world,” Still added. “I know that she is strong and she won’t let anything hold her down without a fight.” The 24-year-old was absent from the Bengals’ Organized Team Activities on Tuesday and Wednesday. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, released a statement via Twitter on Thursday. Please keep Devon Still, his daughter and entire family in your thoughts and prayers as they fight through this toughest of times — Drew Rosenhaus (@RosenhausSports) June 05, 2014

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2014/06/bengals-defensive-lineman-devon-still-reveals-his-daughter-has-cancer/

06-07-2014, 09:42 AM
Devon Still @Dev_Still71 · Jun 3
I debated with myself whether I was going to post anything on social media but I felt it would be… http://instagram.com/p/ozTxWYJ6oe/

06-07-2014, 09:42 AM
Devon Still @Dev_Still71 · Jun 4
(She's not allowed to have flowers)
Leah Still
1600 rockland rd unit 3a
Wilmington, de 19803 http://instagram.com/p/o03L0pp6oQ/

06-07-2014, 09:43 AM
Devon Still @Dev_Still71 · Jun 4
Can't tell her she's not prepared to fight! http://instagram.com/p/o1Y6gkp6sO/

Devon Still @Dev_Still71 · 16h
I can't respond to all the tweets but reading the stories about ppl overcoming cancer really gives me hope,,,thanks

Devon Still @Dev_Still71 · 13h
If she gotta rock a baldy so do I...We're ready for chemo!! #BeatCancer #IThinkIRockABaldyPrettyWell http://instagram.com/p/o7FAIHp6jO/

06-07-2014, 12:36 PM
At his age, I was barely unselfish enough to care for a dog. Being a good dad, a pro athlete, and the support system for a cancer patient is a seriously full plate.

Definitely sending hope and well wishes to his daughter.

06-19-2014, 11:35 AM
https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/452159081462001664/hoClVcvV_normal.pngDevon Still @Dev_Still71 (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71) · 17h (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71/status/479383738938580992)

Thanks for the support RT @MeaganGood (https://twitter.com/MeaganGood): thebeautifulone's photo http://instagram.com/p/pZIbXmCNhr/ (http://t.co/IjJvsWuq6q)

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/452159081462001664/hoClVcvV_normal.pngDevon Still @Dev_Still71 (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71) · 20h (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71/status/479349229656477696)

Riding around trying to find all the things I promised to buy her at the doctors today to get her to… http://instagram.com/p/pZcqC8J6ly/ (http://t.co/E7rZPKzKzC)

06-19-2014, 10:27 PM
Makes me tear up. Good father. Beautiful child. Mother Effer disease.

06-19-2014, 11:00 PM
Is Devon married? Little girl's mom around?

07-18-2014, 01:44 PM
Devon Still ‏@Dev_Still71 (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71) 16m (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71/status/490186216072294400)
Always a good feeling to watch those hospital doors open for her to walk out #HomeBound (https://twitter.com/hashtag/HomeBound?src=hash) http://instagram.com/p/qmcrkrJ6ko/ (http://t.co/LnYxl41FnM)

07-19-2014, 08:52 AM
Still hoping for the best outcome. That poor, sweet, adorable, bald-headed, little princess!

07-23-2014, 11:06 AM
man_of_still75 (http://instagram.com/man_of_still75)8 minutes ago
As many of you know my daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma on June 2nd of this year. She is my world and I appreciate all the love and support that everyone has given. She has begun treatment at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia but will transfer to Cincinnati Childrens Hospital so we can be close during the season. A lot of people have asked me how they can help. One way that you can help is by supporting my PLDGIT campaign to Sack Pediatric Cancer. Half of the donations will go to research so that no other child has to endure this process and the other half will go to support families who can not afford the extremely high medical bills that come with fighting cancer and the cost of hospital stays. Any amount will help! #Prayforleah #whodey #PLDGIT


07-23-2014, 11:09 AM

07-23-2014, 01:45 PM
Former Penn State DT Devon Still finds inspiration, hope in daughter's pediatric cancer battle


After scraping her finger, Leah Still bites her lip as her father, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, applies a bandaid on July 13, 2014. Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
Elizabeth Frantz (http://connect.pennlive.com/staff/ElizabethFrantz/photos.html)

http://imgick.pennlive.com/home/penn-media/width40/img/avatars/10467082.png (http://connect.pennlive.com/staff/asnyder/index.html)By Audrey Snyder | asnyder@pennlive.com (http://connect.pennlive.com/staff/asnyder/posts.html)
Email the author | Follow on Twitter (https://twitter.com/audsnyder4)
on July 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM, updated July 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM

WILMINGTON, Del – The 4-year-old girl, who reaches just past her father's knee, can't stop smiling on a warm, Sunday afternoon. She giggles while blowing bubbles at her parents, stopping every few seconds to tug at her floral-printed dress and talk about Disney princesses and her freshly painted pink fingernails.
She's talkative, inquisitive and thoughtful as she alternates between patting her mother's head and grabbing at the collared shirt of her father, Devon Still, the defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. (http://search.pennlive.com/devon+still/)
PHOTO GALLERY: Devon Still through the years (http://photos.pennlive.com/4503/gallery/penn_state_standout_devon_stil/index.html#/0)
The "selfie queen," as her parents call her, pulls out her iPad and is holding an impromptu photo shoot next to the couch. In a lot of ways Leah Still is a normal 4-year-old-girl. On days like Sunday she's running around the house not acting like a stage-four cancer patient whose 50 percent chance of survival has turned her parents' world upside down.
"If she had her hair and everything you would never know there's anything wrong with her," Channing Smythe said as she looked at her smiling daughter. "She's just like a normal kid."
Leah's health is dictated by rounds of chemotherapy, daily shots to boost her immune system, stem cell harvesting, looming surgery, radiation and more chemotherapy. A tumor in Leah's abdomen has spread to her hip and bone marrow, making surgery to remove the tumor and treatments to stop the spread of the disease the next course of action. Her stem cells will be harvested, so once they are strong enough they can be taken out and frozen in anticipation of a stem cell transfer.
If all goes well, she could complete a final chemotherapy treatment in November and begin rehabilitation shortly thereafter. The process is lengthy and the treatments strong, as children who are younger than a year old and whose cancer hasn't spread like Leah's typically have more favorable outcomes. But, her parents say she keeps telling them she is fine. They cling to her optimism and strength as a source for their own.
Even when she flashes a cheek-to-cheek grin and fills the living room with laughter, Devon and Channing can't help but picture hospital rooms and the upcoming rounds of additional chemotherapy. The wavy hair Leah once loved is replaced with a bald head. The Band-Aids on her chest serve as physical reminders of her ongoing fight against neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.
Her parents are worried as they talk through the medical plans for the coming months, knowing the long road ahead will test all of them more than they ever imagined since Leah was diagnosed on June 2.
"I feel bipolar, honestly," said Devon, the former Penn State standout defensive tackle. "When it all first happened it hit me hard. Sometimes I feel optimistic like she's going to overcome this and then sometimes I think about the numbers the doctors gave us about the 50 percent chance of survival. ... It's like an emotional roller coaster for me."
On this mid-July afternoon Leah is calling the shots as she spends a day home after completing her second round of chemotherapy. Her parents smile when Leah's princess-themed pink bracelets rattle as she runs into the kitchen. Her dad opens another container of bubbles and she returns to search her suitcase for one of her favorite princess-inspired DVDs.
This is a rare moment of relief for Leah's parents, who spent much of the three previous weeks staring at the white walls inside Children's Hospital of Philadelphia watching their daughter take treatment after treatment and deal with occasional bouts of nausea as her young body tried to cope with new medications. Leah and Channing will soon head to Cincinnati as Devon readies for Bengals training camp, allowing both parents to remain nearby as Leah continues treatments at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Devon and Channing balance these carefree moments of smiles and bubble blowing bubbles with the unknown reality about the future that is never far from their minds.
"It just messes with me bad emotionally because I don't know what's going to happen," Devon said. "Sometimes I don't want to keep telling myself that nothing is going to happen to her because if something would happen to her I can't even. ... I'd be crushed. I try to find a balance between having faith and understanding the reality of what is happening."
And, when that reality first set in, the parents said it felt like they were trapped in a nightmare.
The four words no parent wants to hear
Leah was everything Devon and Channing imagined when she was born during Devon's junior year of college. Channing and Leah moved in with Devon in an off-campus State College apartment, and the parents balanced taking care of a baby while Devon was captain of the football team during a tumultuous 2012 football season.
http://media.pennlive.com/patriot-news/photo/2014/07/23/15462679-large.jpgFour-year-old Leah Still talks to her mother Channing Smythe while leaning over the couch in Smythe's home in Wilmington, Del. on July 13, 2014.
Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
The young parents loved seeing Leah crawl on the floor in front of Devon after he returned exhausted from football practice and appreciated how teammates chipped in for occasional babysitting duties.
Caring for his daughter was Devon's drive and playing football was his vehicle to give her everything she needed. A quiet player off the field, Still's face would light up when talking about his daughter and how he aimed to use an All-American senior season to jump start an NFL career. Still was a second-round pick by the Bengals in the 2012 NFL draft and Leah spent time between Wilmington and Cincinnati as Devon and Channing worked on co-parenting the little girl whose life their world revolves around.
"Anything for that little girl," Channing said. "From the day she was born I always knew there was something special about her. People always kind of flocked to her and they just love her. ... I didn't realize how big the love was until this happened."
A seemingly healthy Leah went to live with Devon in Cincinnati for three months this spring allowing them to spend additional time together while Channing, who resides in Delaware and also cares for Leah, received a break. The father and daughter took a trip to Disney World where they met Cinderella and Snow White and the 6-foot-5, 310-pound athlete said he might've been more excited than his daughter who didn't want to leave.
The two spent the months at home together singing and dancing to Drake's 'Hold on, We're Going Home' and watching movies while Devon learned more about Leah than ever before.
"There are a lot of things she doesn't like," Devon said with a laugh while Leah smiled through the front door, repeatedly ringing the doorbell and observing the cars driving down the street. "She likes sitting up under me while watching TV. It's like the little things that make her happy. She doesn't really want too much. Now looking back at that time I spent with her I really cherish it because you never know what can happen now."
Leah returned to Channing in Delaware and Devon prepared for the Bengals' Organized Team Activities to start the first week of June. He returned home for Leah's first dance recital that week, but after a fever and leg pain prompted a doctor's visit, a series of tests were ordered to determine the cause.
Perhaps the pain that extended to Leah's hip was the result of growing too fast? Looking back Channing recalled Leah's fourth birthday party in May, an event at a nearby park where her daughter wasn't jumping on the trampoline like the rest of her friends.
"No, I was jumping higher," Leah chimes in while running up the steps backward in search of another dress to change into.
"We should've known something was wrong then," Channing said shaking her head.
While Devon and Channing waited for the ultrasound, X-ray, CT scan and MRI, Still said he knew something was wrong. Having scans and exams has become routine for Devon, who knows from football injuries that an MRI should last about 45 minutes. When it took twice as long he became uneasy.
Channing fell asleep, but Devon couldn't. He kept thinking back to Leah's previous doctor visit at nearby A.I. duPont Children's Hospital where a cancer diagnosis was the last possibility on a long list ranging from minor to major children's health issues.
When the doctor emerged a little more than two hours later and asked Devon to wake Channing so they could go to a private room their minds couldn't stop racing.
With the doctor's lower lip quivering before she even opened her mouth Devon and Channing then heard the four words that turned their world upside down.
Your daughter has cancer.
"It was like getting smacked by a train," Devon said while staring across the room at Leah.
"We both are really strong people so we didn't want to break down in front of the doctors, but once she left it was just like tears, like a river," Channing said. "One minute she's a normal child. The next minute she's sick with stage-four cancer. It's a mess."
Looking across the doctor's room at their daughter, who appeared healthy and happy with splashes of glitter around her smiling face and braids in her hair, made the diagnosis more difficult to understand. If the numbers the doctors gave them were correct and half the children Leah's age wouldn't survive this rare disease their daughter had to be among the half who would. Channing tuned out the numbers. Devon tried to do the same.
An unexpected reality
Devon remembers suiting up in the summer to participate in Penn State's annual Lift for Life, which he describes as one of the hardest workouts he had in his five years at the school.
http://media.pennlive.com/patriot-news/photo/2014/07/23/15462683-large.jpgLeah Still blows bubbles from the front door of her mother's home in Wilmington, Del. on July 13, 2014. The 4-year-old has been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a very rare cancer.
Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
The grueling workout complete with flipping tires and circuit drills was part of a football team fundraiser that benefited kidney cancer patients and the fight against rare diseases.
There were also the tours of the Lasch Football Building every February when Penn State's football players showed Four Diamonds families every nook and cranny of the building during Penn State's annual 46-hour dance marathon, which raises money for the fight against pediatric cancer. Still now has a better appreciation for his alma mater after seeing his classmates participate in THON (http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/02/penn_state_thon_2014_full_cove.html), the largest student-run student philanthropy in the world, and spending the day with these children and their families.
"Before it was like we were raising money for cancer but I didn't really know what people go through," he said. "When we took people on tours around the Lasch Building they don't just come out and tell us everything they're going through. They just enjoy the moment. ... Now that I'm in the same situation I understand exactly what they're going through. It's like you appreciate what THON represents fully."
Separating his personal life from his professional one is something Devon struggled with as he debated whether or not he and Channing wanted people to know about their daughter's battle. The Bengals excused Still from the team's OTAs in early June so he could be there as Leah began treatments.
Trying to put their daughter's diagnosis in terms she understands requires patience and a little creativity. Leah knows she is sick even if she doesn't always feel it and she asks what cancer is and why she has it. They tell her she has to fight and she smiles and says she is fine.
"We told her if you cut your hair off and go bald it's going to grow back just as long like Rapunzel's," Still said. "She loves long hair. A lot of people in my family and in Channing's family, we all cut our hair just to show her that she's not alone, that having short hair is beautiful."
While Leah has taken well to her new look, watching her hair fall out as a side effect of the chemotherapy served as another heartbreaking moment for her parents who were hit by the reality of the situation yet again. After cutting Leah's hair short before starting treatments and then seeing a little bald spot almost right away, the falling pieces of hair on the floor after she scratched her head were among the harshest reminders.
"She looked at me with her hair in her hands and goes, 'Dad, why is my hair doing this to me?' " Devon recalled, his deep voice trailing off. "That's when I broke down and I had to walk away. I couldn't control myself."
"It's a reality all over again," Channing said. "I just broke down that whole entire day."

07-23-2014, 01:45 PM
Rallying for a cause
After wrestling with whether to tell people about Leah's diagnosis, Still opted to share it on social media sites. Instantly well wishers from around the globe
http://media.pennlive.com/patriot-news/photo/2014/07/23/15462685-large.jpgAfter scraping her finger, Leah Still bites her lip as her father, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, applies a Band-Aid on July 13, 2014.
Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
wanted to know where to send get-well cards and Leah's favorite Hello Kitty toys. Packages from as far as Tokyo have arrived during her most recent Children's Hospital of Philadelphia stay.
"That's what holding us together is family support," Still said. "Penn State alumni have been the most supportive out of any group since this happened with my daughter. They've been sending letters all the time. They've been sending gifts for Leah. It's been real crazy to see how much support we've gotten from Penn State and people I never met."
Sitting at the hospital as Leah lays in bed with toys and cards around her, trying to stay still and calm long enough to receive her medications and an IV for fluids, Channing can't help but feel depressed. Her active little girl can't go outside or see her friends at preschool and the kids around Leah, equipped with similar hollow looking Broviac lines running through their bodies to help doctors administer medications into larger veins and bald heads, face the same challenge.
There are good days and bad days for the parents and child, but if Leah receives her medicine first thing in the morning the nausea is usually under control and she's back to being as talkative as usual. The worst days are when she is quiet and doesn't want to get out of bed.
"I try not to complain so much because I realize we're not the only family going through this," said Still, whose medical insurance gives his family more relief than others. "I feel like we're kind of blessed where I'm in the position I'm in. ... Other families we wonder what they're going through to try and be there to help support their kid, but also struggling financially."
The parents said they'd like to find a way to help raise funds to support families who face the same challenges of pediatric cancer. (http://instagram.com/p/qzDYn3p6om/) According to medical websites about 700 new cases of neuroblastoma (http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/cancer/neuroblastoma.html) are diagnosed in the U.S. each year and the majority of cases are for patients younger than a year old. Early detection for neuroblastoma is nearly non-existent so by the time a child presents warning signs the cancer has usually already spread leaving many like Leah with a stage-four diagnosis.
"She was complaining of leg pain and at 4 years old you're like, 'Ah, why are you complaining?' " Channing said. "I'd tell her clean her room and it was, 'Mom, my leg hurts.' I used to think that was her way out.
"I took her to doctor one time before that he said just give her some Motrin for the pain and sent her on her way. It's just like the doctor said there's nothing that we could've done or that we would've known this was going on. It's just really a big pill to swallow."
Family, football and faith
Devon will take the football field this fall with a pink "pray for Leah" bracelet and won't grow his hair back until Leah has hers. During a recent training session at
http://media.pennlive.com/patriot-news/photo/2014/07/23/15462686-large.jpgCincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, right, poses for a photo with his daughter Leah Still and Leah’s mother Channing Smythe at Smythe’s home in Wilmington, Del. on July 13, 2014. Leah Still has been diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma.
Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
nearby Temple University on a humid, 90-degree day Still's breathing was labored and his muscles ached as he worked through an intense conditioning session, one reminiscent of his college days.
"I just kept telling myself if my daughter gets tired and decides to not fight this cancer anymore we will lose a lot," Still said. "I have to take the same approach when it comes to me getting tired. If she can't give up, I can't give up."
There's no switch to flip to let Devon's mind escape and no way to measure how he will be tested emotionally and physically in the coming months. Trips to the hospital will be mixed in with the rigors of practices, film study and meetings, but seeing his daughter's eyes light up as she clings to him and talks about riding in her new Hello Kitty motorized car give Devon and Channing hope. Hope that they will return to Wilmington in November for Leah to begin rehabilitation and that she will eventually be able to return to preschool and see her friends.
As Leah reaches across Devon's lap for his iPhone and talks about her big plans of
http://media.pennlive.com/patriot-news/photo/2014/07/23/15462677-large.jpgFour-year-old Leah Still takes a selfie while sitting in the living room of her mother Channing Smythe's home in Wilmington, Del. on July 13, 2014. Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
Elizabeth Frantz, PennLive
blowing more bubbles and spending a sunny Sunday afternoon at home, she lines up another selfie and starts posing. Regardless of the road ahead she's rarely not smiling and her parents find themselves looking up to her and together they're enjoying the little moments and warm embraces that can only be duplicated at home. As the snaps sound from the phone in rapid fire her parents laugh.
"Before all this happened she'd take my phone and she'd take about a million pictures and then I'd want to go on my phone and put something on there and there wasn't enough space so I'd delete some of the pictures that are blurry or some that are just crazy," he said. "Now if she takes a million pictures on my phone I'm saving every last one of them because I want as many pictures of her as possible."


07-23-2014, 01:45 PM
a bunch more photos in the link.

07-24-2014, 09:07 AM
Bengal Quick Takes: Devon Still's battleJuly, 24, 2014
JUL 24

By Coley Harvey (http://search.espn.go.com/coley-harvey/) | ESPN.com

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The four words hit Devon Still (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14963/devon-still?ex_cid=null) harder than anything he has experienced on a football field.

Your daughter has cancer.

This year, while on a late-spring break from the Cincinnati Bengals (http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/cin/cincinnati-bengals?ex_cid=null)' voluntary practices, the defensive tackle heard a doctor say those words to him. He still has trouble digesting them.

"It was like getting smacked by a train," Still told Audrey Snyder of The Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) for this eloquently written feature from Wednesday about his 4-year-old daughter's bout with a rare cancer (http://www.pennlive.com/pennstatefootball/index.ssf/2014/07/sacking_pediatric_cancer_forme.html).

You will recall Still was granted a leave from the Bengals back in the spring after he shared on social media that his daughter, Leah, was sick.

According to Snyder, who recently met with Leah, Still and Leah's mother to record the family's first interview since the diagnosis, Leah is suffering from neuroblastoma.

If you haven't yet read the piece, give the link above a click. It is well worth the time.

No doubt, Still will be asked in Cincinnati this week about how he and Leah are coping. Like the other 88 players on the Bengals' roster, he returned to town after some time away and will take part in the first practice of training camp Thursday afternoon. There is a chance Still won't be working out Thursday, though, after landing on the team's physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week. He apparently still has a back issue.

A back injury forced him to miss the final three games of last season, including the playoff loss. That injury came after he dealt with another injury earlier in the season.

In an effort to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and to help research efforts at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital (where Leah soon will receive treatment) and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (where she has been receiving treatment), Still and his teammates have announced a donation campaign. All proceeds will go to both hospitals. They are requesting anyone who is interested to donate money for every sack the defense has this season. You can find out more on the campaign by visiting their donation page (https://www.pldgit.com/campaigns/768450939739702307/).

Still has already said he's dedicating this season to his daughter.

Much like the story this week of the Bengals' players pitching in to feed the homeless (http://espn.go.com/blog/cincinnati-bengals/post/_/id/9221/bengals-quick-takes-quiet-storm-homeless), this is another story that reminds us in this season of stats, numbers and fantasy drafts that players have lives that extend beyond the field, too. Sometimes, football can provide a brief sanctuary from other difficulties they might be enduring.


07-26-2014, 06:21 PM
Devon Still returned to practice today.

07-26-2014, 06:36 PM
As much as I like him as a player, I'm more hoping his return is a good sign for his daughter.

07-26-2014, 06:53 PM
As much as I like him as a player, I'm more hoping his return is a good sign for his daughter.

yea, I really thought he'd maybe sit the season out.

07-26-2014, 08:50 PM
The four words hit Devon Still (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14963/devon-still?ex_cid=null) harder than anything he has experienced on a football field.

Your daughter has cancer.

I can't even imagine hearing those words. I watched both of my parents die within the last two years, of cancer. I remember hearing each time one of them one was diagnosed. I about broke down each time. Each time they said, I've lived my life and now I'm going home. They did live a full life but yea I would have liked it to be longer. With a little kid like this at the start of their life being diagnosed is almost incomprehensible.

07-26-2014, 08:52 PM
I can't even imagine hearing those words. I watched both of my parents die within the last two years, of cancer. I remember hearing each time one of them one was diagnosed. I about broke down each time. Each time they said, I've lived my life and now I'm going home. They did live a full life but yea I would have liked it to be longer. With a little kid like this at the start of their life being diagnosed is almost incomprehensible.

my youngest is around Leah's age. Can't even imagine it.

07-26-2014, 10:23 PM
I hate cancer even more than I hate Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, and the 49ers combined. Too many wonderful people...

07-27-2014, 05:21 PM
Still's decision to keep playing not an easy onePosted 3 hours ago

http://prod.static.bengals.clubs.nfl.com//assets/images/imported/CIN/photos/images/hobson60x60.jpgGeoff HobsonEditorBengals.comFollow Me (http://twitter.com/GeoffHobsonCin) Blog (http://blogs.bengals.com/category/hobsons-choice/)

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Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still (http://www.bengals.com/team/roster/devon-still/61a7bb49-457d-45a8-a078-138b9a64a522/) practiced for the first time Saturday since herniating a disk in practice last Dec. 18. But he still almost didn’t come to training camp and it had nothing to do with his back.
His four-year-old daughter Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer back on June 2 and with her odds at 50-50, Still wasn’t going to leave her side even if it meant not playing football.
“It crossed my mind a lot of times whether I was going to come out here or not. Just because my family is No. 1. It takes priority over football, especially with my daughter. I contemplated it a lot,” Still said Sunday morning before practice. “I felt like me, especially, I needed football to kind of balance things out because it messed my head up when everything happened.
“Just to be with the guys and get my head off of what’s going on for that hour or two and just step away and to get myself together so I can be a strong support system for her when I go back. I needed that.”
It is a huge relief that Leah is transferring from hospitals in Delaware and Philadelphia to Cincinnati’s Children Hospital on July 31.
“I didn’t come back for OTAs or minicamp because I wasn’t comfortable leaving my daughter. Even coming out here for training camp. It was a hard decision,” Still said. “But as long as she’s going to be here the 31st, that made it a lot easier.”
Still, bald in solidarity with Leah as she prepares for her third round of chemotherapy the day after she gets to Children’s, hesitated before posting his daughter’s disease. But he did the day it was diagnosed because, “It is a hard battle just to do alone.”
And his teammates have lined up to help. Working with one of his former Penn State teammates, Still has come up with a way to honor Leah.
“They pledge to donate a certain amount for every sack our defense has, whether it’s 10 cents, a hundred dollars, whatever amount it is,” Still said. “Whatever sacks we get, it gets taken off their card every week and they get notified of it….Basically what made me do that is taking something negative and turning it into a positive.”
His teammates are helping more than they probably even know. Still has no qualms about it. The news has rocked him. But football has been one of the few saving graces. Football and Leah herself with her four-year-old bundle of energy.
"My head is messed up, to be honest with you. It’s messed up. Sometimes I feel bi-polar," Still said. "Sometimes I wake up and I’m optimistic. Sometimes I wake up and it’s just heavy on me. It’s definitely a roller-coaster. Being here playing football, being here with the guys, having a reason to laugh sometimes takes a lot of that sorrow off of me, or the depression, whatever you want to call it. Playing football helps out a lot."


07-28-2014, 08:56 AM
Bengals' Devon Still's daughter fights for life

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/b87c383dc296e8bb274cdd432fc8d494a403446b/c=0-0-500-500&r=1024x1024&r=26&c=26x26/local/-/media/Cincinnati/USATODAY/2014/05/09//1399644758000-pdehner.jpgPaul Dehner Jr., pdehnerjr@enquirer.com8:05 a.m. EDT July 28, 2014
(Photo: The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger)

Devon Still turned 25 years old July 11. The former Big Ten defensive player of the year enters his third season in the NFL with the Bengals in the midst of his prime. An opportunity sits wide open to compete for snaps in the middle of one of the league's best defensive lines.
However, two months ago, Still was convinced he was going to give it up.
On June 2, he found out his vibrant 4-year-old daughter, Leah, has stage 4 cancer. The disease, neuroblastoma, leaves her with a slightly better than 50 percent chance of survival.
His family, his career, his perspective, his world flipped upside down in an instant. Football suddenly faded as a priority.
"When I found out, I told my family I was done. Done. I didn't feel comfortable leaving my daughter while she's going through this," said Still, who lives in Philadelphia in the offseason. "She's fighting for her life. Sports is not more important than me being there while my daughter is fighting for her life."

Still sat in front of his locker Sunday morning and spoke in a controlled, honest, but emotional tone.
Less than two months removed from the news, he couldn't hide the constant sadness any more than the tears welling up in his eyes discussing the joy of placing a smile on his daughter's face.

Admittedly, his mind still spins into dark places.
"My head is messed up, to be honest with you," he said. "It's messed up. Sometimes I feel bi-polar. Sometimes I wake up and I'm optimistic. Sometimes I wake up and it's just heavy on me."
Still pushed through and got cleared to hit the field for the first time since his Jan. 9 back surgery on Saturday.
He eventually opted to re-join the team after missing a portion of OTAs because one of the top neuroblastoma surgeons in the country resides at Children's Hospital, so he and Leah's mother, Channing Smythe, agreed bringing Leah to Cincinnati would be the right move. Plus, Still could gather support of the Bengals through both tangible resources and comforting camaraderie.
He'll need all of it. The path won't become easier. Once she arrives Thursday, Leah will undergo two more rounds of chemo before a surgery attempt to remove the tumor in September.

"It's definitely a roller-coaster," Still said. "Being here playing football, being here with the guys, having a reason to laugh sometimes takes a lot of that sorrow off of me, or the depression, whatever you want to call it. Playing football helps out a lot."
He enters training camp healthy in a season where pressure begins to mount for production. Each time Still took strides toward reflecting his second-round pick potential, an injury derailed him.
Whether his back or elbow, or a numbers game, he's played in just 18 games in two seasons with half a sack. His contract year approaches rapidly.
"It's a frustrating thing," said defensive line coach Jay Hayes, among the first to reach out to Still when news filtered back to Cincinnati this offseason. "This is a big year for him as a player. Then to have to go through all this with his family it's very difficult. The good Lord won't put more on you than you can handle but he's got a lot on his plate right now. We are praying for Leah and praying for Devon, trying to give all the prayers we can because that's all really we can do."
Every day since June 2 passed like a nightmarish blur. Still spent the first three weeks sleeping on a cot in a hospital room. Then a small break and another five days. Soon after, another week. Hardly ideal for a 310-pound athlete attempting to recover from back surgery.
"But I'm not worried about my back right now," he said. "I'm worried about my daughter's health."
At first losing her hair was the primary concern. Much like many 4-year-olds who adore princesses, a story about Rapunzel cutting her hair made the whole situation better.

Still went bald right with her and says he won't let it grow again until hers does.
Having the conversation to inform Leah of her ailment was about as tough as conversations get for anybody, much less a young father. But her resiliency inspires, her attitude repels any negativity. Holding that support in the fight is why he's here and why she will be soon.
"It allowed me to be able to continue to play football because I know I'll still be able to see my daughter and I know her seeing me continuing to play football will put a smile on her face," he said. "So I'm doing whatever I can do for her."
Actually, he's doing much more. Still started a campaign to raise money for research and funds to help families. Still's lucky to be under the NFL insurance plan, but constantly surrounded by those less fortunate undertaking the same gut-wrenching emotions while bills pile up.
At pldgit.com (http://pldgit.com/) somebody can donate any amount of money for every sack the Bengals rack up this season.
"What made me do that is taking something negative and turning it into a positive," he said. "Seeing what families have to go through and they're in the same position I'm in where they can't afford something makes me want to bring more awareness, more research to this so nobody else has to go through it."
For now, though, Still goes through it. While some days are good and some days downright dastardly, he pushes on. A pink band will wrap his arm on game days, not that he needs another reminder of exactly why he plays every snap.
"She's still in high spirits; she kind of motivates us," Still said. "She's kind of our strength in this. As long as she fights hard we have no reason to complain. We go to the hospital and there are hundreds other kids with the same thing, so we try as much as possible not to whine about it because we understand we're not the only family going through it. We're just trying to hold it together as long as possible."


07-28-2014, 10:33 AM
As with any story of that depth, I had plenty of extras, both from Still and others I spoke to. Wanted to share a few of them with you, particularly those talking about how much help he receives from those who reach out to him both on social media and elsewhere and how much it assists in dealing with this.
Reminder, you can contact him on Twitter (@Dev_Still71 (http://www.twitter.com/Dev_Still71)) or follow on Instragram (man_of_still75 (http://instagram.com/man_of_still75)). Also feel free to email anything to me (pdehnerjr@enquirer.com) or leave something in the comments section and I'll do my best to share it.
Still on how helpful it was hearing from everyone on social media:
"It was huge. Cancer is not a disease you can fight by yourself. You need as much support as possible because as parents me and her mom have to stay strong for her. That is the number one thing that they taught us to stay in good spirits around her because a lot of fighting cancer is just smiling through the day and not being depressed about stuff. Being as though we had so much support from people on social media, just everybody has been our system since we are trying to be our daughter's support system has helped us out a lot. This is an emotional roller-coaster. This is our first time dealing with it. We have a lot of other things going on in our life but this is the tip of the iceberg."
Still on having visited Ronald McDonald House, Children's his rookie year:
"That was the crazy thing about it. One time I was sitting in the hospital with my daughter she was going through the channels and they had one of the stations where the patients are in there and had their own network where they talking on it. I had a flashback to my rookie year we went to the hospital and participated in their station they had where patients called in and talked to us. It's crazy to see. I understood how important it was as a rookie to go to the hospital. Now being a parent of a child in the hospital you appreciate what they do for those kids a lot more now."
Still on the Bengals reaching out and telling him to take as much time as he needs:
"It was big. I called as soon as I found out. I talked to (director of player relations Eric Ball) and he reached out to Marvin and Marvin called me and told me to just take my time. Also Jay Hayes called me and told me football's not important right now. Just be there for your daughter. That helped out a lot because you don't want to have too much on your plate when you're going through something like that. You want to be there to support your child when she's goes through this. If you're too stressed out, the kid understands what's going on and that might lower their self esteem."
Still on football being a refuge now:
"It definitely is. Football helps take away from a lot of the stuff that's going through my mind. Even sometimes when I'm out there on the field it crosses my mind and I have to try to get myself out of it and get myself back into football. But when she gets up here next week it will probably be a lot easier knowing I can just drive to the hospital right down the street and see her if I need to, whereas her being 10 hours away right now."
Still on explaining the disease to Leah:
"Basically, like I said, she's a kid. The difference between kids and grown-ups is that they're more resilient. They don't understand that they're fighting for their life. When you're an adult, you understand what you're going up against. But she knows that you're sick. Say if you start coughing or sneezing or whatever, she'll be like, 'Oh, you have cancer, too. You're sick, too.' She doesn't know the severity of the sickness. We start explaining it to her. She's ready for the battle, so we're ready for the battle."
Marvin Lewis on reaching out to Still:
"Having 53-61-90 guys we have a lot of stuff that goes on. None of us want to have something that happens to a child. That's the scary part. My thing for reaching out to Devon is to try to give him the support in all the other areas that we can. Our team chaplain spent time with him and that was important. Are you satisfied with the doctors and the hospitals? Yes, Children's hospital in Philadelphia is excellent. Then getting some point the possibility of being transferred here. Children's hospital here we know their reputation here. Are you comfortable with the doctors? That's all, trying to facilitate so that he knows if we have to call the Philadelphia Eagles and call who we need to call we will assure his daughter gets the best care possible."
Jay Hayes on his immediate reaction:
"Known his daughter for three years he's been here. Sad thing to go through having children of my own, him being such a young dad. It's tough. It's a tough thing."


07-30-2014, 08:01 AM
not much new as far as quotes and such, but some good home videos in this link

Bengals lineman hits field, emotions running high as daughter battles cancer (http://www.foxsports.com/ohio/story/bengals-lineman-hits-field-emotions-running-high-as-daughter-battles-cancer-072914?cmpid=tsmtw:fscom:nflonfox)

08-04-2014, 11:09 AM
in case you missed the story last night.

Jeremy Rauch ‏@FOX19Jeremy (https://twitter.com/FOX19Jeremy) 3m (https://twitter.com/FOX19Jeremy/status/496310985691791362)
@Dev_Still71 (https://twitter.com/Dev_Still71) @FOX19Joe (https://twitter.com/FOX19Joe) Hey Devon, link will only work for desktop/laptop/iPad but here it is: http://www.fox19.com/clip/10435152/bengals-devon-still-fighting-for-his-daughters-life … (http://t.co/Cf1aLd2Qn1). Keep fighting!

08-04-2014, 12:17 PM
I did miss the story last night. Thanks for posting.