Devon Still's four-year-old daugher, Leah Still, is returning home from the hospital after the latest round in her year-long battle with pediatric nerve cell cancer and complications from her treatment.
The Cincinatti Bengals player posted a picture from the hospital on Twitter, showing the little girl in good spirits posing for the camera and showing off her candy-stained tongue.
Leah Still was diagnosed in June of 2014 with a cancer that usually affects children under five years old, called neuroblastoma, and given a 50-50 chance of survival. Still has been publicly documenting the family's journey on social media and campaigning with his daughter for pediatric cancer research. He took time out from the football season to be there during Leah's medical treatments. Sales of Devon Still jerseys helped the team raise more than $1 million that it donated for cancer care. Celebrities like Ellen Degeneres have also donated to the cause.
But on May 29th, Still asked for prayers that Leah would pull through a complication from her stem cell treatment, called veno-occlusive disease or VOD, which can be fatal. She remained in the hospital battling the disease, which is known to occur after stem cell or bone marrow transplants and blocks blood flow to the liver. When VOD occurs after a stem cell transplant, it may take a several weeks to resolve.
Still and his daughter will presented with the Perseverance Award at the ESPYs next month. The award is given in honor of late former college basketball coach Jim Valvano, who began a foundation to raise money to fight cancer before he succumbed to the disease in 1993.
Now that his daughter's health is improving, Still has begun training practice with the Bengals for the upcoming NFL season.
"My daughter has won the battle against cancer, and I know she wants me to go out and prove myself on the football field, so that's what I'm working towards," Still told CBS Cincinnati affiliate WKRC.
"You watch these kids fight for their life: They keep a smile on their face; they never give up; they're resilient. And if you ever watch that -- like I've watched that for a year -- it changes everything about you," he told the station. "It lets you know you have to make the most of every opportunity that you have. I have an opportunity right now to make this Bengals team and I'm going to try to do it."