The 5-year-old daughter of former Cincinnati Bengal Devon Still endured a 20-month-long battle against Stage 4 neuroblastoma. During the struggle against her cancer, Devon documented her progress with the #LeahStrong hashtag, and everyone from the ESPYs to Wheaties took notice of her strength and positivity during the grueling process.
Then, in November of last year, he announced that his little girl’s cancer was in remission.
“Thanks for all the support and prayers!” he captioned an Instagram post at the time. “Just got the phone call that her scans showed NED (no evidence of disease)! #LeahStrong #StillKickinCancersAss.”
That was great news for the Still family. And because of her determination to fight the disease, along with the trying journey through which the family persevered, it seemed that Still should indeed be part of a touching tribute to an athlete who also battled cancer and won.
During Saturday’s MVP Honors awards, Devon and Leah teamed up to present the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award to Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to ESPN, Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in November 2014 after suffering from heavy breathing during a game. Sidelined by cancer, the free safety was determined to get back in the game and vowed that he’d be ready for training camp the following year, pushing himself through intense workouts while simultaneously enduring exhaustive chemotherapy.
“There were some times where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore,” Berry said, according to ESPN. “There were a lot of rough times, rough nights, lonely nights.”
Though he initially played backup, he soon became a starter â catching a key interception and making strong plays that led the team to a 10-game win streak.
Leah and Eric hugged at Saturday’s ceremony, and then Eric was embraced by Devon. The sense of understanding among them was felt through the screen and touched our hearts.
Check out the video below to hear what Leah had to say and for Berry’s inspiring words.