As stadiums throughout the NFL this weekend were adorned in pink — in the stands, on the walls and between the sidelines — the most impactful moment of the first Sunday of Breast Cancer Awareness Month came at night, when the home team paid tribute to a visiting player and his cancer-stricken daughter.
During their 43-17 pounding of the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots honored Leah Still, the daughter of Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still.
Leah is battling pediatric cancer, and the support Devon and his family have received, both from the Bengals and from around the league, has been well-documented.
After Devon learned of Leah’s illness in the summer, the Bengals allowed him to spend as much time as he needed to tend to her, even during camp. After waiving Still, the team re-signed him to the practice squad so that he could keep his insurance to pay for Leah’s treatment.
He has since been elevated to the active roster, and on Sunday night, during a TV timeout in New England, the Patriots showed a video calling for support for pediatric cancer, and the New England cheerleaders donned Cincinnati jerseys — Devon Still’s No. 75.
As you can see, the gesture got to Still, who was visibly shaken during the ceremony.
In September, the Bengals announced they would donate 100 percent of proceeds from sales of Still’s jersey to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Sales subsequently skyrocketed, and the Bengals have since announced they will be donating over $1 million to the Cincinnati-area hospital.
The Bengals are not the only franchise to offer money in support of the cause in light of Still’s story. New England owner Robert Kraft is also donating $25,000 to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and shortly after news of Leah’s illness was made public, other teams stepped up, like the Saints and head coach Sean Payton buying 100 Still jerseys.