Leah Still, daughter of Cincinnati Bengals tackle Devon Still, is a fighter like her dad. The 5-year-old is suffering from Stage 4 neuroblastoma, and spent months being hospitalized and undergoing cancer treatments and surgeries in an attempt to beat the disease. The little girl has been in remission since March, but received an adult stem cell treatment because remission does not necessarily mean cancer has been completely eradicated. As Devon Still relays, remission simply means that diagnostic tests cannot find any active cancer cells in the body.
Still stated on Instagram: “Remission basically means that doctors can't see any cancerous cells when looking at scans and test. But when studying cancer you know that although you can't see any cancer cells on scans, physicals, or test because of the strength of the technology, more than likely there are cells hiding.” According to National Right to Life’s Dave Andrusko, over 60,000 patients are treated with adult stem cells every year because they have an excellent propensity to save lives and improve health.
The adult stem cell treatment Leah received involved coaxing her own body’s stem cells into her blood stream, which were removed and later re-administered, as seen in Still’s Instagram post below:
Leah’s stem cell treatment involved 4 to 6 weeks of hospitalization and high doses of chemotherapy to encourage the transplant to be successful.
Notably, the medical community has had massive success with adult stem cells, while the once-idealized notion that embryonic stem cells were the panacea of medicine has been laid to rest. Leah’s incredible transplant used her body’s own resources (stem cells from her bone marrow) as the material that would become her treatment.
Throughout Leah’s cancer journey, her father has kept his fans and Leah’s up-to-date on her treatment and progress. His love for her is palpable. The father-daughter duo even co-authored a book, I Am Leah Strong, about fighting childhood cancer like a champ.
Leah has received an outpouring of support from the fans who admire her incredible courage in the face of her frightening condition. In October, the Houston Texans NFL team sent Leah a care package full of goods from the explosively popular Frozen movie. Read the many inspiring stories of Leah’s journey from cancer to remission and everything in-between at For the Win.