DeAngelo Williams Works Hard Off The Field Against Breast Cancer

The Former NFL Star's Foundation has donated over 500 mammograms in honor of his mother.

Oct 28, 2019

 (Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com)

As the leaves change from green to shades of gold, red, orange, and yellow, another color splashes our world during the month of October and saves millions of lives in the process. October is synonymous with shifting from brighter, summery hues to warmer color palettes with the exception of one bright shade, pink.

One place pink rarely occurs, however, is on the football field. Though that all changed in 2009 when Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams, achieved a heartwarming feat in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month; the football player led the initiative persuading the NFL to greenlight pink cleats for players throughout all of October. 

Fast forward 10 years and his dedication to fighting breast cancer remains steadfast. Williams, who lost his mother, Sandra Hill, age 53, and all four of his aunts to breast cancer, is an active advocate for breast cancer awareness. The former running back first began paying for mammograms in 2015 through his nonprofit, the DeAngelo Williams Foundation according to TODAY.

He chose making mammograms more accessible to women so they would have a greater chance of preventing and treating early onset cases. During his event, "53 Strong for Sandra," his foundation financially covers the cost of mammograms for 53 women. Currently, the foundation is striving towards covering a free mammogram screening event in every state.

So far, the foundation has paid for over 500 mammograms in hospitals around the US, including: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Williams believes that all women are entitled to these breast cancer detection measures can change women’s lives for the better in an instant.

"To be able to help all these women is amazing. This can be life-changing for these women," Williams told TODAY. "We are enabling them to get this care that no one should ever be denied or not have access to."

Years after Williams persuaded players to trade their normal cleats for pink styles, the NFL partnered with the American Cancer Society to promote prevention and raise awareness for early detection of cancers.

Risalyn Williams, DeAngelo’s wife, said that her husband wants to make sure no one [woman or man] has to go through the fight alone. And if Williams has anything to do with it, more and more people will receive the chance to detect their cancer earlier and thrive long after their diagnosis.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.