As orders from all over the world approach 10,000 for Devon Still's No. 75 jersey, the Bengals plan to present a check to Cincinnati Children's Medical Center that exceeds $1 million.
Still and four-year-old daughter Leah have become the national faces of pediatric cancer as she battles Stage 4 of the disease since she was diagnosed in June with a Neuroblastoma tumor in her abdomen. Not only Bengals fans, but people in all 50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia responded to the club offering Still's jersey for $100 in the Bengals Pro Shop as a way to raise funds for cancer research at Cincinnati Children's.
Leah's father Devon, a third-year defensive tackle, sent a message via Instagram Thursday that said, "After a 5hr 50min surgery the surgeon was able to remove ALL of her tumor and all of her lymph nodes and her right adrenal gland where it all started from...best news I've received in a long time," but he also says she is still in a fight.
In a weekend press release the Bengals outlined how they'll handle the sales. The club absorbs the cost of the first 10,000 jerseys at about $500,000 with the full sale price going to Cincinnati Children's Medical Center. On sales in excess of 10,000, the hospital continues to benefit from all sales minus the cost of the jerseys.
"We applaud Devon for his openness in sharing his daughter's challenging story nationwide through media and social media," said Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn. "We also applaud the response of our fans and many others to the jersey sales. The welfare of Devon and Leah are foremost in our minds, but we are proud and excited to be able to be a part of something that can help advance the cause of fighting childhood cancer."
The jersey sale continues through Monday, Oct. 20, and there is a link on Bengals.com for fans to contribute directly to Cincinnati Children's Medical Center. On Nov. 6 at the Bengals' Thursday Night Football game against Cleveland at Paul Brown Stadium (8:25 p.m.-NFL Network), the Bengals plan to present the check to the hospital for more than $1 million.
"I want to thank Devon and his family for sharing their story. Not only has it generated international attention to the issue of pediatric cancer, but it has served as an inspiration to many other families that are traveling a similar path," said Michael Fisher, president of Cincinnati Children's Medical Center.
"I also want to thank (Bengals president) Mike Brown, Katie Blackburn, and the entire Cincinnati Bengals organization for their incredibly generous and thoughtful approach to this important effort. Finally, I want to thank the many individual donors. We promise to be good stewards of every dollar in our ongoing effort to find new and better ways to treat pediatric cancers."
First of many shipments of purchased Devon Still jerseys to raise money for Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Pediatric Cancer Care and Research arrive at Paul Brown Stadium 09/26/2014