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Devon Still Accepts Jimmy V. Perseverance Award On Behalf Of Leah

Former Penn State defensive tackle and current Cincinnati Bengal Devon Still accepted one of the most honored awards in the sporting community tonight on behalf of his daughter. Leah Still has had a highly-publicized battle with cancer over the past 13 months, and announced  three months ago that her cancer was in remission.

The Jim Valvano Award for Perseverance is awarded annually at the ESPYs, and is given to a figure in the sporting community battling with cancer. A year ago, the late, great Stuart Scott was given the award, where he gave the now-famous speech and said, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

This year, Leah Still was given the award. Devon announced this past week on Instagram that her doctors said she’d by unable to make the flight to Los Angeles, and Devon accepted the award on her behalf.

LeBron James introduced Devon and Leah at the ESPYs before a video feature that told their whole story. Devon was greeted with a standing ovation as he took the stage.

“When my daughter was first diagnosed with cancer, I felt like my life was a nightmare… I begged God to let me battle the fight with death instead of my daughter,” he said. “For every child out there battling with cancer… y’all are the real heroes.”

He then thanked everyone who inspired him during his journey, and concluded by thanking his daughter.

“I just want to thank you. From the moment you were born, you molded me into the man I am today. In five years, you’ve taught me more about life than I ever could to you.”

Leah has been in remission for the past three months and like he has been throughout their entire ordeal, Devon has been posting positive updates on his Instagram page. Devon said on the red carpet tonight that Leah is “almost back to her current self now.”

“Any obstacle that somebody is going through in life and they feel like they’ve hit rock bottom — don’t give up,” Still added. “There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. When my daughter was first diagnosed, we had no idea how this battle was going to go. But we kept our mindset positive, and we made it to the end.”

About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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