Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tackling Cancer

The story of Leah Still is starting to be known around the world. Her father is the starting defensive Tackle on the Cincinnati Bengals. Leah has been battling cancer for the last fifteen months. Even after all of this, she battled through it and made some amazing comebacks.
Leah and Devon were on there way to Leah’s dance recital when Leah became sick, so they went to the nearest hospital. They thought she had a infection; they did
an ultrasound and noticed a mass every time you touched her hip she would jump in pain. They went through all the things that it could be, and the last one was cancer. They took a CAT scan and a MRI. They said they wanted to talk to Devon alone. It took awhile for them to look at the results about two hours later the came out and told him they found a mass.
Devon says, “I felt empty, I felt sick, shocked. I had to go out and tell my father and grandmother, and they were out there waiting for me, and when I went there, they were laughing, and I thought, I am going to knock the smiles right off their faces.”
They started sticking needles in Leah who hates needles. She cried, “This is your fault you never took me to the hospital in time!”
This hurt Devon, but what can a man do when he has a big football career and now his daughter has a 50-50 chance of living? He completely stopped football for awhile because he wanted to spend time with Leah because he couldn't get anything back. He called the Bengals to tell them he wouldn’t be able to be there for awhile and ten minutes later the coach Marvin Lewis called him and told him to take his time.
Devon thought he might just walk away from football; then he remembered that the treatments would cost up to one million dollars. He could leave whenever he wanted,  but he had a full time job at the starting position. Then later he found out that the proceeds from his jerseys that were selling at a hundred dollars a piece would go to Children's Hospital for the cancer research. Sean Payton who is currently the head coach for the Saints bought one hundred jerseys. That weekend 5,000 jerseys were sold.
The Coach told him he wanted him to start this week. He feels that he is ready even though he has missed plenty of practices. In his first week back, he had two tackles by himself and 16 assisted tackles. He still just doesn’t feel right.
He said, “I’ve felt like I couldn’t go on, this has hit me harder than any obstacle I’ve faced in my life. It makes no sense to me. Id never heard of neuroblastoma before, and now I am an expert on it. But the Bengals have been so good to me. People I don’t know have been so good to me. Fans have been so good.”
He also says, “The whole experience I have been just stunned.” It has helped so much. I can’t believe that in this sport that has no so-called heart, it’s really so full of heart. That’s the truth: football is full of heart.”
Leah made it to the ESPYS which is a sports show that hands out awards for different topics. She got the Jimmy V. Perseverance award. Jimmy V was a great basketball coach known for his times at North Carolina State. He died of metastatic cancer; he is known for the speech he did at the ESPYS, so they made a whole award on how he persevered. Leah won this award but she of course, couldn't be there, so her dad accepted the award. One of Devon's big deals was to post on Instagram how Leah is doing on of his big post was him saying this "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 leave." Leah never let this terrible disease define her. She didn't let it control whether she lived out her dream of playing college ball and she fought to live pass what doctors originally told her she wouldn’t. Lauren left her mark on this world by showing people what it really meant to NEVER GIVE UP. So, would I say she lost her battle with cancer?  No, because of her fight and selfless act of using her fight to raise an incredible amount of money and awareness, doctors will one day find a cure for DIPG! It hurt seeing the news this morning and I'm not even sure how I'm going to tell my daughter. In the past two weeks, two kids that I have met and developed relationships with have passed from cancer  something's got to give it's not right” #For22 #LaurenStrong. That post got the whole world buzzing.
     They have had a surgery for Leah that think got completely free of cancer. Sadly though Devon was dropped from the Cincinnati Bengals football team. Her story is one that will go on forever. She 

motivated people while she was going through a tough time. Her, dad was maybe even stronger 

through football and his daughter he kept persevering. Leah will never have to wonder if she's strong 

enough; because she has survived one of life's biggest challenges. She has Tackled Cancer!

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