Devon Still: “Every Day Is Like Father’s Day”
Leah Still was first diagnosed with cancer June 2, 2014. It was during a weekend her father, a 6-5, 310-pound former second-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, Devon Still, had been excused by the team to attend her dance recital when she didn’t feel well.
Afterward, though, Leah complained about pain in her hip and was taken to the hospital. It was quickly discovered she had cancer. A very rare form of cancer called neuroblastoma. Leah was only given a 50/50 chance of survival when she was diagnosed, but Devon didn’t give up.
Devon documented their journey on social media and in interviews to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. Devon met his wife Asha in 2012, got engaged in July 2014 — both their birthdays — but they put their wedding plans on hold while Leah underwent treatment. He went to work, slept by her side for a whole month in the hospital, all the while firing up the whole world with the hashtag, #LeahStrong in honor of his daughter’s fight. A fight that she eventually won.
It was a year on March 25, 2016 that Leah has been in remission.
Next year, Leah gets to go to real school as a first grader, leaving behind all the sickness, doctor visits, weak feelings and hair loss. Leah hair has began to grow back after stopping treatment and hopes to have enough for a pony tail soon.
The time between diagnosis and remission has flown by, said her now 27-year-old dad.
“You know, it felt so long getting to the point of hearing the doctor say that she was in remission. For her to be in remission for over a year now is crazy,” Still said.
This past Father’s Day it really hit him hard all that he and Leah have been through, but he’s thankful for the journey.
“That day is dedicated for fathers who really put their children first, but, after going through what I went through with my daughter, I kind of take every day as Father’s Day,” said the 26-year-old Devon. “Every day I can wake up and hear my daughter call me ‘Daddy,’ I just feel blessed. There was a point in time where I had a chance of losing all of that. We made it through the storm. We made it through hell, so we take every day as a blessing.”
In July 2015, when it became clear Leah was on the path to recovery, Devon promised Asha her dream wedding in a…