Leah Still, the 4-Year-Old Daughter of Cincinnati Bengals' Devon Still, Brings Inspiration in Her Fight Against Cancer

Pam WrightLife

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Leah Still, the four-year-old daughter of Cincinnati Bengals' Devon Still, who is battling cancer, brought a ray of hope to the Cincinnati-Cleveland game Thursday night, despite the defeat her daddy's team suffered.

Before the game, Devon shared about what it meant to have his daughter on hand for her first NFL game.

"Having her finally have the chance to come out here and feeling good health-wise... is going to be a great feeling," Still told Cincinnati's 9 On Your Side Thursday afternoon before the game.

"I've learned to keep my emotions intact as time has gone on -- as everything has happened with my daughter. I know everything is going to be pretty emotional."

Fans on both sides of Ohio were united in cheering on the little girl with the big heart. As Devon warmed up, cameras caught the twosome exchanging sweet waves with each other.

"It just brought a smile to my face," Devon told the NFL Network following game.

Little Leah has been undergoing treatment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia since June, so her homecoming was extra sweet.

"I always look forward to those feelings whether I'm traveling back to Philadelphia or she's coming out here," Still said Thursday. "Just to see her running to my arms is always a great feeling."

Leah wasn't just there to watch her dad play football. The Bengals decided to sell Devon's No. 75 jerseys for $100, with proceeds going to Cincinnati Children's Hospital for pediatric cancer research. They ended up selling 14,945 jerseys for a total of $1.3 million. Leah was there to accept the check on behalf of other children like her who are afflicted with pediatric cancer.

"Today is going to be a bunch of good emotions just knowing that my daughter is there and that the check presentation is because of her," Still said.

Dressed in the uniform of her beloved Ben-Gals cheerleaders, which they had specially made for her complete with her dad's No. 75 in glitter on the front, Leah stood next to another hometown hero, Lauren Hill, who is dying of brain cancer and played her first and last college basketball game on Sunday.

Devon said seeing his daughter standing alongside Hill was probably the highlight of the evening.

“I can tell by the she was smiling on the jumbotron that she had a lot of fun up there. I’m pretty sure she’s going to tell me all about her day meeting the cheerleaders and getting to be in the press box,” Devon said.

Devon said he’s proud of his girl. Surely Cleveland joins all of Cincinnati in being proud of her, as well.

“These past couple days made her day. You have no idea. I haven’t seen my daughter smile this much in a long time. I do appreciate everyone chipping in to help put a smile on her face,” he said. “She loves the camera. She thinks she’s a movie star.”

Pam Wright