Devon and Leah Still to Publish Children’s Book About Fighting Cancer
Since four-year-old Leah Still was diagnosed with Stage 4 pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma in June, she and her father, former Penn State lineman Devon Still, have been an inspiration to countless others fighting the deadly disease.
After Leah and Devon’s story was broadcast across the country during NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between Still’s Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, the second-year pro told USA Today he began receiving requests from strangers for advice on how he and his daughter cope with the difficult disease. That led to Leah and her dad to write an animated book called I Am Leah Strong that will be available online at the end of February.
“I talked to my daughter and asked her if she wanted to do a children’s book to help kids who are fighting pediatric cancer now and kids who will be diagnosed in the future to help them with the transition from normal life to being in the hospital all the time,” Still said. “That book was written by her. I just had an outline of questions I wanted to ask her. Whatever answers she had I wrote in book form.”
In an update posted to Instagram earlier this month, Still announced that Leah’s recent MIBG radiation treatments failed to eradicate the cancer as his family had hoped, so they will try a new type of chemotherapy treatment this Friday. Doctors hope this treatment will shrink the disease enough for her to undergo stem cell therapy.
Now that that Bengals season is over, Still told USA Today that he’s home with Leah in Philadelphia, simply enjoying each other’s company. His new home is just down the street from the hospital where Leah receives her treatment.
“There are times when I want to hug and kiss my daughter and now I can do it because she’s right there with me,” Still said. “That was one of the biggest issues that I wasn’t there to support her while she was going through her treatment. It’s definitely been a weight off my shoulders now that the season is over.”
The children’s book is the Still family’s next philanthropic effort to beat up cancer. Sales of Still’s NFL jersey have now generated $1.4 million for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer research, and plans are in the works for a “Still Strong” foundation.