Devon Still, the Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance on behalf of his five-year-old daughter Leah Still, who continues to battle cancer.

Devon Still’s ESPY Speech

More than a year ago, Still learned that his daughter had stage 4 pediatric cancer after a hospital visit for a high fever. Since then, he has been documenting Leah’s progress in her fight against the cancer on social media, raising awareness for pediatric cancer.

“We had two options,” Still said onstage at the ESPYs. “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.”

Unfortunately, Leah, who was recovering from a recent round of chemotherapy, was unable to join her father onstage to receive the award. However, she did deliver a video message. Before introducing Leah’s video, Still told his daughter just how much he’s learned from her in her five short years.

“I know you wish you could be here, but I know you’re watching,” he said. “I just want to thank you. From the moment you [were] born, you molded me into the man I am today. I always used to dream about how I was going to be able to show you so much about life, but in the five years I’ve been with you, you’ve taught me more about life than I could ever do.”


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On Thursday, Maura Mandy, an ESPYs co-executive producer, explained that they had chosen Still and his daughter because they can serve as an inspiration for families facing similar obstacles.

“This award is a testament to the inspiration Devon and Leah are to all the families who are suffering from similar circumstances,” Mandt said. “It is our hope that with this award we can send them more strength as they face this latest challenge.”

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