Leah Still received some encouraging news in her battle with a rare pediatric cancer Tuesday.
Cincinnati Bengals unrestricted free agent Devon Still, 4-year-old Leah's father, posted on Instagram on Tuesday night that doctors informed his family that they didn't "see any active disease in her body," meaning the little girl's bout with pediatric cancer could soon be coming to the positive resolution so many have been hoping for.
"We still have to wait for her MRI and bone biopsy results later this week," Still also wrote in the caption of a picture showing him and Leah flexing their muscles.
Leah was diagnosed last June with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Since then, she has undergone surgeries to remove a cancerous tumor from her stomach, as well as other rounds of treatments that included chemotherapy and stem-cell treatments.
While doctors aren't yet sure if all of the cancer is gone from Leah's body, her father reports that they "feel very optimistic" because of the results the Stills received Tuesday. They'll find out later this week whether the cancer has fully left her. Previously, they estimated her chance at survival at 50-50.
Leah's plight became one of sports' feel-good stories last fall. In September, her father made national headlines when he was added to the Bengals' 53-man roster after having been originally cut by the team at the end of training camp. Days after he was cut, Still was signed to Cincinnati's practice squad. He only spent one week there before being activated to the 53-man roster in Week 2. He went on to play 12 games last season, collecting 19 tackles.
When they signed him to the practice squad, the Bengals were able to continue providing health insurance for Still, providing him the ability to have her medical care completely paid for. At the time, he had been told her medical expenses would cost close to $1 million.
A backup defensive tackle, Still was coming off back surgery last preseason, and he also dealt with an elbow injury the year before. His rehab, coupled with a hamstring injury, set him back a bit and slowed his progress through training camp. That was the primary impetus for the team to cut him. Fully healthy this offseason, he's had time to focus fully on training for football so far this year.
Still currently isn't under contract. Originally a restricted free agent, the Bengals declined to tender him two weeks ago in favor of offering him a one-year deal that will be worth less than the first-round tender amount of $1.54 million. He's still mulling the offer, while taking into consideration matters concerning his family.
Last November, during a nationally televised game against Cleveland, the Bengals donated $1.25 million to the Cincinnati Children's Medical Center Hospital as part of fundraising efforts to advance research into pediatric cancers. The funds were collected through sales of Still's black, No. 75 Bengals jersey.
Leah was in attendance at Paul Brown Stadium that night, and has been active in the push for awareness and funds involving the issue. She has appeared in an inspirational music video that features children with cancers, and she has partnered with her father to write a children's book for families dealing with kids who have similarly serious diseases. Last month, she participated in New York's Fashion Week, too.