*Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still posted a picture to Instagram Friday explaining that his daughter Leah, who has been battling cancer for a year, had been diagnosed with VOD—veno-occlusive hepatic disease—an illness of the liver that often comes as a complication caused by stem cell treatment.
The five-year-old, having undergone extensive chemo and stem cell therapy to combat her illness, now faces another serious battle.
I need some prayers sent up for Leah tonight! We hit a pretty serious complication from the stem cell transplant called VOD. They caught it early so hopefully it gives the doctors a better chance of stopping it from getting aggressive. As you can imagine our minds are all over the place but we’re going to try and remain positive! #LeahStrong #WaitingForTheDayEverythingReturnsToNormal
On the bright side, Tuesday will mark the one-year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis, and it remains in remission. Devon celebrated by getting a back tattoo of Leah’s face:
ESPN will honor Leah and Devon with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2015 ESPYs in July.
For The Win’s Nina Mandell reports that Connor Schell, senior vice president of ESPN Films and original content, confirmed the selection in a statement.
“The perseverance that Devon and Leah have shown throughout this unfortunate process is incredibly moving,” Schell said. “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.”