BOSTON (CBS) — While the Cincinnati Bengals suffered a mighty big loss at the hands of the New England Patriots on Sunday night, defensive lineman Devon Still received a warm show of support from the Patriots and their fans.
Still’s four-year-old daughter, Leah, is battling cancer, a fight that came into the public eye at the start of the season. The Bengals kept Still, a backup defensive tackle, on their practice squad so he could keep health insurance to pay for Leah’s treatments. She underwent surgery to remove a tumor two weeks ago, and a music video featuring Leah and other children battling cancer debuted that day.
Leah still has more treatment to undergo but she has plenty of support, and not just from Cincinnati.
During a timeout in the third quarter on Sunday night, the Patriots let Still know that they were with him and his daughter during their battle. Patriots cheerleaders donned Still’s Bengals jersey as the music video played on the big screens, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated $25,000 to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Leah’s name.
Still was shown on the big screen following the music video, and got a little emotional when he received an ovation from the Gillette Stadium crowd. You could see tears stream down his face, with “Leah Strong” written across his nasal strip.
“It was very emotional to see that on the board, my daughter and those brave kids fighting cancer,” Still said after the game, according to the Bengals team website. “Just seeing the cheerleaders take off their jackets and wearing the jerseys put it over the top. It’s amazing. It’s very emotional. Every time I see a video like that that reminds me what my daughter and those other kids are going through, it’s definitely hard to fight back the tears.”
Still was unaware of Kraft’s donation until reporters told him following the game.
“That’s great. It’s great how everybody has been stepping up, not just from [Cincinnati], but across the country. It has just been amazing and it is great for the cancer community.”
The Bengals have been selling Still’s No. 75 jersey and donating all proceeds to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. As of last week, over 10,000 jerseys had been sold, raising nearly $1 million.
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