Throughout the 2015 season, the Houston Texans battled through a number of challenges. Of their many trials, none was as heart wrenching as the battle of Devon Still’s young daughter Leah against neuroblastoma stage 4, a rare form of cancer typically found in the adrenal glands.
Devon Still is a young father from Camden, New Jersey. After an extremely successful career as a student athlete for Penn State’s Nittany Lions, Still was drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 2012 draft. Still played with the Bengals for two seasons, until he was cut in late August of 2014, right before the beginning of season. His dismissal from the Bengals came following the diagnosis of his then 4-year-old daughter, Leah.
In June of 2014, Devon and Leah Still came up against one of the most challenging battles of their lives. Leah, only a child, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, this rare form of cancer is typically found in the small glands on top of the kidneys, though it can develop in the belly, chest, neck, pelvis, and bones. Cases of Neuroblastoma are extremely rare; there are less than 20,000 cases in the US every year. The majority of these cases affect the most vulnerable individuals, usually young children less than five years of age. In Leah’s case, her cancer quickly escalated to stage 4, at which point, the cancer had already spread beyond its origin. This catastrophic news understandably influenced Devon’s decision to put his football career on hold, so he could help his daughter fight this battle.
Though he had just been cut from the team, the Cincinnati Bengals quickly resigned Devon to the practice team. This move was in the name of goodwill on behalf of Coach Marvin Lewis. Devon’s membership on the practice team would allow him to pay for his daughter’s cancer treatment, and spare him from traveling with the team so he could stay home with Leah. Though it’s been a tumultuous battle for Leah and her father, she has defeated this illness. As of January 2016, she is cancer free, and her father is now signed to the Houston Texans