Former NFL star Devon Still celebrates daughter, Leah, being 5 years cancer free

The former Bengals defensive end told his daughter, now 9, that she is the strongest person he knows and thanked her for "giving this battle everything you had."
Image: Today - Season 67
Devon and Leah Still on "TODAY" on Jan. 8, 2019.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

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By Minyvonne Burke

Former NFL star Devon Still and his family are celebrating a huge milestone after his daughter, Leah, reached five years of being cancer-free.

In a touching Instagram post on Wednesday, the former defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals reflected on the difficult journey that began in 2014 when his daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

"That smile you make when you know you did it!" Still captioned a photo of Leah with a big grin on her face. "Against all odds you beat cancer!"

He said when the family first learned Leah had cancer he was scared of the thought of losing her and missing out on "all the important moments every parent should share with their kids as they grow up."

"I was scared because our world was shaken up and I felt so lost and hopeless," Still continued. "I was scared because I felt like I was losing myself while fighting to not lose Leah. The point is, even when you're scared, you just have to trust God and push forward!"

He ended his post by telling Leah, 9, that she is the strongest person he knows and thanking her for "giving this battle everything you had."

Leah was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and given a 50 percent chance of survival. Still would often posts photos of him sleeping by his daughter's hospital bed after surgeries and chemotherapy treatments.

In March 2015, he said his daughter's cancer was in remission.

Still told NBC's TODAY that reaching the five-year mark is crucial because it means "the chances of the cancer coming back are basically slim to none."

"This is huge for us because when you have a child that's battling cancer you're basically holding your breath until you reach this point," he said.

To celebrate the occasion, Leah wanted to dine out at a steakhouse but the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on those plans. Still said in an Instagram video that he instead whipped up a meal of steak, lobster and vegetables and "brought the steakhouse to her."

Celebrities such as comedian Kevin Hart and TikTok influencer Avani Gregg gratulated Leah on beating cancer.

"I'm so happy for you. Fighters fight and that's what you did," Hart said in an Instagram video. "Your family loves you and I love you and I'm going to tell you why. Because your spirit is contagious and the world will feel it."

Avani said Leah is a "strong, amazing, talented, wonderful little human being."