The Cincinnati Bengals may have lost the game to the Cleveland Browns Thursday night, but there’s no doubt they won the hearts of the crowd at Paul Brown Stadium, who roared in support for an inspiring 4-year-old girl.
Leah Still, the daughter of Bengals defensive end Devon Still, wanted to be at the stadium to watch her father play in the NFL for the first time. She has been battling Stage IV neuroblastoma, and after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from her abdomen, Leah was strong enough to see her wish come true.
Wearing her dad’s No. 75 jersey underneath a bright pink jacket, she came out on the field as the Bengals presented a $1.3 million check to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The money was raised from the sale of Still’s jersey, with 100 percent of the sales donated in Leah’s name.
“That is a sign of unity to me, the way that people all came together to support such an important cause,” Still told NBC News’ Ron Mott.
Still has been chronicling his daughter’s fight with pediatric cancer on social media, and everyone from the New England Patriots cheerleaders to Lebron James have rallied around #75.
“I haven’t seen my daughter smile this much in a long time,” Still said.
Leah begins radiation on Tuesday, and Still says she has a long road ahead of her.
“Strength, it doesn’t come from the weight room,” Still said. “It comes from your heart and my daughter has shown tremendous strength.”