It's no secret to anyone who has followed the Bengals over the last few season how much Devon Still was a champion for fighting cancer. Due to the unfortunate circumstances of his daughter's battle with cancer, Still became a beacon for raising awareness of the disease.
Still has received a few awards during the past year for the work he's done to increase childhood cancer awareness and the battle he and Leah have fought. Now, he's receiving the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award, which shares the same name as the annual NFL championship trophy, named for the same man. The NFLPA and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. selected Still for the award.
After Vince Lombardi's NFL career ended, he was treated at Georgetown University and eventually succumbed to cancer. The hospital was named in his honor and the award recognizes leaders in the sports industry who create awareness of the disease.
NFL Players Association director DeMaurice Smith is chairing the event this year. "The NFL Players Association congratulates Devon on this award," Smith said. "Not only is he fighting a personal battle alongside his daughter, Leah, but he is using his influence to garner support for cancer research. I'm proud to recognize Devon and Leah's bravery and leadership."
Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma June 2, 2014. After she complained of pain in her hip during a dance recital, Still took her to the hospital where she was diagnosed. The pediatric cancer left her with a 50-50 chance of survival. In March, Leah was declared in remission, though to this day she's still undergoing maintenance treatments and has spent some time recently in the hospital.
Since Leah's diagnosis, Still has embraced the public in his and Leah's fight and gained support of NFL players, fans and the league. "I have used my platform to raise awareness of cancer because I want to make sure that fighters like Leah know they are not fighting alone," Still said in response to winning the NFLPA Georgetown Lombardi Award. "It's been encouraging to see so many people take up my mission and support those fighting this disease."
Last year's NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award went to the late ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott. Other former winners include New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (2013) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (2012). The 29th Annual Lombardi Gala will take place Saturday, October 24 at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the event go to Georgetown Lombardi for cancer research, education and treatment. You can buy tickets here.