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NFL player gives his daughter a heartwarming pre-cancer surgery pep talk

You don't have to be an NFL fan to root for this player's 4-year-old daughter. 


Ikenna Anyoku

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 27, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 12:35 pm CDT

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still gave his 4-year-old daughter, Leah, a heartwarming and tear-inducing pep talk before she entered surgery on Thursday to remove a cancerous tumor and her lymph nodes.

After a nearly six-hour procedure, Still posted to Instagram that doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia were able to remove all of the tumor that was making Leah sick.

The Bengals originally cut Still but then resigned him to the team’s practice squad, in part so that he would retain his health insurance to help pay for Leah’s medical bills. Cincinnati then began selling Still’s game jersey in early September, with all proceeds going to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer care and research.

Others around the league have shown their support for Leah and Devon Still as well. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton purchased 100 Devon Still jerseys to show support for pediatric cancer research. And today Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly surprised Leah with gifts and flowers.

Leah—who was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in June—still has more chemotherapy, radiation, and stem-cell transplants to undergo, but today her family and supporters are grateful the surgery went well and hopeful that she will soon be cancer free.

Screengrab via Instagram

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*First Published: Sep 27, 2014, 9:00 am CDT