There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards ceremony. Especially during the emotional moment when Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still and his cancer-fighting daughter Leah, accepted their award.
In June 2014, doctors found a tumor in Leah’s stomach and diagnosed her with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer that they said left her with a 50/50 chance of survival. The situation got even more complicated months later, when Devon was cut from the Bengals and announced intentions to put his career on hold to care for his daughter.
But they both got the news they were waiting for when Bengals executives assigned him to the practice squad — meaning Leah was covered by the team’s health insurance policy and Devon would receive $6,300 in weekly pay.
“We had two options,” Devon told the ESPYs audience. “We could have lost faith and just let this battle with cancer get the best of us, or I could give my daughter’s battle with cancer a purpose, and use my platform to try to raise as much awareness as possible.”
Leah, 5, did not attend the ceremony, as she continues to recover at home from chemotherapy treatments.
After Devon went down the line and said thanks to Bengals executives, kids who are fighting cancer, his fiancée and…