Leah Still, the 4-year-old daughter of Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, will get to see her father play football for the first time this Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.
Leah was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a form of cancer, in June. Her dad was cut by the Bengals, but the team re-signed him to their practice squad (so that the family would not lose their health insurance) and later moved him back to their roster.
Leah will be part of a ceremony in which the Bengals will donate $1.25 million to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital to help fight pediatric cancer. The money was raised by fans who bought Devon's No. 75 jersey.
Leah has been hospitalized in Philadelphia, but her doctors are allowing her to make the trip. She had a cancerous tumor removed on Sept. 25., noted USA Today.
"I know she's excited about coming to Cincinnati to see what Cincinnati has to offer," Devon told Fox Sports. "I think the crowd will go crazy. They've been supporting her the whole time with her being all the way in Philadelphia. With her being here in Cincinnati and having a chance to see her it's only going to get the crowd kind of hyped."
"It's going to be added motivation just knowing my daughter is watching me. I want her to be able to hear how the crowd cheers that loud whenever I make a tackle, so I'm going to go out there and do whatever I can to put a smile on her face," added Devon. "I'm trying not to think about it right now. I'm trying to think of the Browns. Like I said, it's a fast week and I don't want to get caught up in too much emotion with my daughter."
"It will probably be the most special game I'm ever going to play because I know my daughter is going to be here to watch me play," said Devon. "All the money that's been raised for the cancer research is because of her strength and because she's fighting this disease. So it's definitely going to be an emotional game for me."