Sportress of Blogitude

Devon Still explains the heartbreak he endures by being away from daughter Leah


It’s hard to even fathom what Devon Still goes through on a day-to-day basis. Sure, he’s realized the dreams of countless football players by playing in the National Football League, but it keeps him hundreds of miles away from his four-year-old daughter, Leah, who is in a battle for her very life as she endures harrowing treatments for her Stage IV neuroblastoma.

Granted, it’s the fact that he’s an NFL player — and the Bengals’ initial generosity of putting him on the practice squad last summer so he could keep he and Leah’s health insurance coverage — that allows his daughter to receive top-notch care, but he’s in Ohio and Leah is in Delaware.

The Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman provided a look inside what it’s like for him to endure the separation from Leah with posts to both Twitter and Instagram that illustrate in heartbreaking fashion the emotional toll it takes on him.

Still tweeted on Friday that his daughter asked when he’ll get “fired” so he can be with her.

Still mentioned after Leah got to see her daddy play football in person for the first time last Thursday that she was heading back to Philadelphia after to the game to begin radiation treatments. After a minor setback due to a delay in getting the medicines needed to start treatment, Leah began radiation on Wednesday.

Still was unable to stick around to be there for Leah when she began the treatments, which broke his heart, he told reporters in the Bengals locker room on Wednesday.

Being so far away and presumably feeling so helpless is clearly taking a toll on Still, as evidenced by the tweet about and the Instagram post below, also published on Friday morning.


Still writes on Instagram: “They may act like they understand but they really don’t…couldn’t possibly if they never walked a day in my shoes…all I can do is keep pushing myself to not let the stress from being away from my daughter get the best of me..I’ll have everything I need and want life if I’m able to watch my daughter grow up..if you can’t understand that than you don’t understand me”

One can not even begin to imagine what Still feels every day being so far away from Leah.

The incredibly brave and profoundly inspirational Leah deserves all the love and prayers and support from the millions of people who have taken her on as their little angel, let’s not forget that her father, while nowhere near what Leah has had to endure, has been going through a pretty tough time as well.

(for more on Devon and Leah’s remarkably inspirational story, please feel free to visit the Sportress archives)

[H/T For The Win]