Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., and the NFL Players Association have selected former Bengals player Devon Still as the recipient of its annual award. Still will receive the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award during the 29th Annual Lombardi Gala on Saturday, Oct. 24, in Washington.
The NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award was established to honor a leader in the sports industry whose life and family have been touched by cancer, and who encourages cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy.
The connection between the NFL Players Association and Georgetown Lombardi has grown out of a shared connection to the legacy of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who was treated for cancer at Georgetown University Hospital before succumbing to the disease in 1970. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is named in his memory.
DeMaurice F. Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, is serving as the honorary chair of the Lombardi Gala for the fifth year.
"The NFL Players Association congratulates Devon on this award. Not only is he fighting a personal battle alongside his daughter, Leah, but he is using his influence to garner support for cancer research. I'm proud to recognize Devon and Leah’s bravery and leadership,” said Smith.
Still’s five-year-old daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2013. Leah and her dad were honored earlier this year with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2015 ESPYs.
"I have used my platform to raise awareness of cancer because I want to make sure that fighters like Leah know they are not fighting alone," says Devon. "It's been encouraging to see so many people take up my mission and support those fighting this disease. I'm proud to accept this award from the NFLPA and Georgetown Lombardi and join a larger community working toward a day without cancer."
Still was a member of the team's active roster while Leah was going through treatment.
"That’s one thing they tell you about cancer – you need to try and go about your daily life as you usually would so you can have some sense of normalcy," Still told ESPN. "I never actually stopped thinking about Leah and what was going on." On Friday, Oct. 23, the day before the Gala, Still and his daughter plan to visit a research lab at Georgetown Lombardi for a hands on experience as visiting scientists.
Louis M. Weiner, MD, is director of the cancer center.
"After his daughter's diagnosis, Devon put aside his own fear and became a tireless advocate for the millions of other people battling cancer. By creating positivity out of adversity, he embodies the qualities of a true leader," said Weiner. "He is not only an incredible father and role model to Leah, but a shining example of the differences people can make when they use their voices to speak out for others."
Previous winners of the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award include the late ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott (2014), New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (2013) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (2012).
The 29th Annual Lombardi Gala is open to the public and tickets are on sale now. The black-tie dinner and dance begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, silent auction and a popular annual raffle of a new 2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport.
All of the proceeds from the Gala go to Georgetown Lombardi for cancer research, education and treatment. For more information, visit Lombardi.georgetown.edu/gala. Tickets are on sale through Friday, Oct. 16.