Eric Berry and Leah Still flex their muscles and beat cancer


While Ramblin’ Fan is normally a Rams exclusive site, we can make an exception from time to time to highlight some of the more high profile situations in the NFL, or in this case simply spread some very good news.

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They say the odds of beating cancer are increasing everyday with advances in medical care and doctor education, but sometimes it’s hard to see those results without hard tangible evidence. Within the last few days it would seem the NFL has harbored two very special individuals who have done just that. Strong safety Eric Berry, of the Kansas City Chiefs and daughter of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, Leah Still, were both included in reports that surfaced earlier this week stating they had seemingly won their battles against the disease.

In a world filled with so many stories that go the opposite direction, it’s nice to see a few underdogs come out on top.

Kevin Patra of reported that Still had posted a picture on his Instagram account earlier in the week of an email telling him that his five-year-old daughter Leah was now cancer free. Tests that had been conducted on Leah came back negative for the destructive disease. Many may remember the emotional speech Still gave at the ESPY Awards show on July 15th.

Leah suffers from neuroblastoma. This is a disease that presents itself as a hard tumor, and affects about 650 people per year in the United States. It is most common in infants and children. However, it is also one of the few forms of the disease that can regress into complete remission.

The Cincinnati Bengals opted to keep Still on their active roster for all of 2014 so he would not lose the health insurance his family so desperately needed to provide the care Leah required. A move many regarded as first-class by the organization.

"Defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther said, “ He seems like he’s got a weight lifted off his shoulders. When he comes back, he can concentrate on his job because there is going to a good battle for everybody…”"

Nov 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Leah Still daughter of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still (not pictured) during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Not too far from Cincinnati, the Kansas City Chiefs and Eric Berry also received some amazing news in reports by Dan Hanzus also of Only eight months ago, Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma ultimately putting an end to his season and placing his career, and life, in jeopardy.

Nov 16, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) is introduced before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

"On Wednesday, he defied the odds and returned to the practice field. Berry said, “It was tough. It was a battle every day. I had to, it was to the point where I had to set goals to where I would just get out of bed.”"

Berry credits his family for providing an extremely strong support system that was vital to his recovery. The process included regular chemotherapy sessions and pushed him to his physical limits.

"“I was training while I was in chemo. There would be times I would work out and I’d end up just crying after the workout…”"

Berry would go on to say the most frustrating part of the process was not being able to push himself as hard as he wanted. Adding chemotherapy to an already debilitating situation only made things harder for him.

Ultimately, it seems, it was his determination that allowed him to get through this almost unscathed. Not only did he survive the disease, he added weight during his treatment, which is almost unheard of. He refused to quit, something we can all take inspiration from.