Most people have heard about the football player who was cut and then re-signed so his 4-year-old daughter would have health insurance to battle pediatric cancer. That player is Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still. The team did its part and now fans are doing their part by purchasing his jersey in record numbers.
The Cincinnati Bengals recently announced that that the team will donate the entire sales price of the first 10,000 jerseys to pediatric cancer research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. That means the Bengals will be absorbing about a half-a-million dollars in costs. After that, all proceeds, minus the cost of the jerseys, will go to the hospital.
To date, fans have now scarfed up almost 10,000 of Still’s jerseys at $100 each. (You can buy your shirt right HERE.) The jerseys will be sold through Oct. 20. Orders have come in from all 50 states plus Canada, the UK and Australia.
The story is a bit of a heartbreaker. Devon Still was cut from the team for missing practices and other team events. When the Bengals found out that it was to take care of his beloved 4-year-old daughter, Leah, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, they put him back on the practice squad so he would retain his health benefits.
Now Leah has health benefits and a lot of proud Cincinnati Bengals fans have a No. 75 jersey that they know will help fight pediatric cancer.
“We applaud Devon for his openness in sharing his daughter’s challenging story nationwide through media and social media,” said Bengals executive vice-president Katie Blackburn via a press release. “We also applaud the response of our fans and many others to the jersey sales. The welfare of Devon and Leah are foremost in our minds, but we are proud and excited to be able to be a part of something that can help advance the cause of fighting childhood cancer.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Cincinnati Bengals and the team’s fans, more than $1 million will go to the Children’s Hospital for pediatric cancer. The check will be presented to the hospital at the Nov. 6 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns.
Michael Fisher, President of Cincinnati Children’s, said: “I want to thank Devon and his family for sharing their story. Not only has it generated international attention to the issue of pediatric cancer, but it has served as an inspiration to many other families that are traveling a similar path. I also want to thank Mike Brown, Katie Blackburn, and the entire Cincinnati Bengals organization for their incredibly generous and thoughtful approach to this important effort. Finally, I want to thank the many individual donors. We promise to be good stewards of every dollar in our ongoing effort to find new and better ways to treat pediatric cancers.”
Fans purchasing the special No. 75 jersey don’t only get a great-looking shirt. They will also get a note from Devon Stills. The note reads:
I want to thank you for supporting my family and my daughter Leah through your generosity. It means a lot to me, and it means a lot to families fighting cancer in Cincinnati and across the country. Thank you for giving — we appreciate it more than you know.”
Devon Still has already paid his team back by playing well enough to get back on the regular squad. Now we want Leah back on the squad, cured of her cancer.
If you don’t want a jersey, but want to help Leah in her fight against pediatric cancer, you can donate directly HERE. (Scroll down to the bottom of the first panel to donate without purchasing.)