Devon Still's ESPYs Speech When Accepting His Daughter Leah's Award Is Inspirational & A Major Tearjerker
If you didn't tune into the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, trust me: You missed one hell of a show. Not only is the broadcast honoring Caitlyn Jenner for her bravery and courage in the face of her very personal struggle with gender identity, but the event also paid tribute to the 5-year-old daughter of American football player Devon Still, Leah, who is currently battling cancer. Though Leah was originally supposed to appear at the show in-person to accept the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, she was unable to attend because she was not deemed healthy enough to travel — so, instead, during the show her father Devon Still accepted the ESPYs award with a speech that was so overwhelmingly beautiful, it'll probably make your heart break.
Still accepted the award on Leah's behalf toward the latter portion of the show, after it was presented by LeBron James with a very telling disclaimer: "I dare you not to be inspired."
Inspired you will be: During his speech, Still relayed his experience helping his daughter, as well as his own pain seeing his daughter go through battling cancer. "We had two options," Still said of his daughter's battle with the life-threatening condition. "We could have lost faith...or I could give my daughter's battle with cancer a purpose, and use my platform to try and raise as much awareness as possible ... she didn't have an escape for her pain, so why should I?" Additionally, Still described moments during Leah's fight with cancer where he went to the hospital chapel, and prayed that Leah's battle with cancer would become his instead. Leah's cancer is thankfully now in remission.
Shortly after Still's speech, #LeahStrong began to trend on Twitter as hundreds upon hundreds of viewers took to social media to share their thoughts on the tearjerker of a speech. Additionally, a clip of Leah thanking the public for their support which aired at the ESPYs made its way online:
NO, I'M NOT CRYING— oh, who am I kidding? I am so crying.
Twitter had similar reactions, understandably:
On Not Comparing Courage:
On Leah's Indescribable Strength:
On The Beauty Of His Speech:
On Still's Strength As A Father:
On How Emotional Still's Speech Was:
On How Inspirational Leah Is:
On Supporting Others Going Through The Same Thing:
On The Incredible Bond Between Still And Leah:
To see the entire speech, head over to ESPN's website, here, or watch below.