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Dad sends Instagram that his adult stem cell recipient daughter has rallied from setback

by | Jun 2, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

DevonandLeah3Sometimes it might be better not to catch the latest news. In this instance, that Leah Still’s dad, Devon, had sent out an Instagram last Friday asking for prayers for his daughter. (On second thought, had I known Friday, I could have joined in the prayer circle.)

As you may remember, last month, NRL News Today wrote about 5-year-old Leah who had been battling stage four neuroblastoma cancer. Her pediatric cancer was in remission but under the “better safe than sorry” theory, they decided it would best for Leah to undergo a transplant using adult stem cells.

In the Instagram, Devon said Leah had experienced an unspecified complication. His Instagram read

“When things get real we don’t fold up I promise you that #ItsHowIWasRaised #ItsHowIRaiseHer #NeverThinkWhyMeAlwaysThinkHowCanIBounceBack #LeahStrong

But by yesterday, Devon was able to share good news:

“Can’t really talk but she wanted to give y’all a thumbs up to say she is doing better and thanks for the prayers…first time she’s really been awake in 4 days so we are making a little progress.”

There was additional good news on Monday. Cindy Boren of the Washington Post reported that Leah and Devon had learned “that they will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award next month at the ESPYS.”

“Jimmy V” refers to the late Jim Valvano, the North Carolina State basketball coach whose steadfast courage in his battle against cancer to this day reduces grown men to tears. “Jimmy V’s” speech at the ESPY’s in 1993 will always be remembered for his “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up” insistence, a few months before he died.

Even now it send chills up and down my spine to see the video of this man who had to be helped to get to the podium, motivating an awestruck audience of professional and amateur superstar athletes.

Devon Still understood the significance:

“Very thankful and honored for my daughter and I to receive this award,” Still wrote on Instagram. “…now we definitely have to get her feeling better so she can make the trip out [to] LA! #LeahStrong”

As we discussed last month, the generosity of the Cincinnati Bengals professional football team has been sterling. Last August Devon was cut from the team but they “signed Still to their practice squad in order to help him pay for his daughter’s medical treatment after she was diagnosed with cancer,” according to Dave Chang reported.

Still’s No. 75 jersey quickly became the team’s top seller after the Bengals decided to donate proceeds from his jersey sales to the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati and pediatric cancer care and research. More than $1 million have been raised from sales of the $100 jersey, according to the AP.

Categories: Adult Stem Cells