With all the hoopla surrounding Bruce Jenner and his decision to finally step out as Caitlyn Jenner people have voiced their opinions in supportive and non-supportive manners but the biggest hoopla in all this was when ESPN decided to award Caitlyn with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at this year’s ESPY’s.
If you didn’t know, Caitlyn was up against some pretty courageous people including 5-year-old Leah Still, daughter to Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still. Leah, who has been battling cancer for the past year, was not named the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, which upset many fans, but she and her father will receive an award during this year’s ESPY’s.
The father and daughter will be honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award to highlight their strength throughout Leah’s journey with cancer.
Senior vice president of ESPN Films and Original Content Connor Schell released this statement:
“The perseverance that Devon and Leah have shown throughout this unfortunate process is incredibly moving. Each day that she fights, her father is by her side, and their love and strength has captivated all of us in the sports world and beyond.”
This past Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Leah’s diagnosis with a rare form of pediatric cancer, Stage 4 neuroblastoma.
In March, Devon took to Instagram to inform followers that Leah’s cancer was in remission and afterwards began a stem cell treatment which would stimulate bone marrow growth in order to reduce the chances of a relapse.
Fans and followers were distraught to learn that Leah went through a major setback in her stem cell treatment as she was diagnosed with VOD, a serious disease that usually occurs as the result of a complication from stem cell transplants.
Executive producer of the ESPY’s, Maura Mandt, also released a statement:
“This award is a testament to the inspiration Devon and Leah are to all the families who are suffering from similar circumstances. It is our hope that with this award we can send them more strength as they face this latest challenge.”
Leah is really one amazingly strong 5-year-old to handle all that she’s going through with a smile. #LeahStrong #PraysForLeah
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