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Former Penn State defensive tackle (currently with the Cincinnati Bengals) Devon Still accepted the Jimmy V. Perseverance Award Wednesday night at the 23rd Annual ESPYS on behalf of his 5-year-old daughter, Leah.
Leah’s public battle with cancer over the last year made her a well-known and inspiring story in the sports world and beyond. It was announced in March that her cancer had gone into remission, but she was unable to attend the awards show in Los Angeles with her father as she is fighting to strengthen her immune system after extensive medical treatment.
Still took the stage to accept the award amid a standing ovation, and gave a moving speech that its namesake, Jimmy Valvano, would’ve been proud of.
“When my daughter was first diagnosed with cancer, I felt like I was in a nightmare,” he said. Still continued to say he begged God to let him battle the disease instead of Leah, and thanked all those who inspired him during their journey.
Then, he thanked Leah.
“I just want to thank you,” he said. “From the moment you were born, you molded me into the man I am today. In five years, you’ve taught me more about life than I ever could to you.”