Former NFL running back DeAngelo Williams has kept tradition alive. Each year, he funds mammograms for women nationwide to fight against breast cancer, the disease that claimed his mother’s life at 53 years old. He also lost four aunt to breast cancer before they turned 50.
Williams’ mom, Sandra Hill, passed away in 2014. Shortly after, he launched “53 Strong for Sandra” through his nonprofit, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation. Since then, he’s helped fund more than 500 mammograms at hospitals in Pittsburgh, Memphis, Charlotte and Jonesboro, Arkansas.
“To be able to help all these women is amazing. This can be life-changing for these women,” Williams told The Today Show. “We are enabling them to get this care that no one should ever be denied or not have access to.”
The 36-year-old who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in two different seasons was also a major player in getting the league to allow players to dye their hair pink and wear pink cleats, wrist bands, etc. each October to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month.
This is dedicated to my mom, my aunts & women everywhere affected by Breast Cancer. I love you. #WeAreInThisTogetherhttps://t.co/bAwaanlfzV
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) October 11, 2015
Beyond raising awareness for the disease, the impact of Williams’ push to help women get free mammograms will long outlive his NFL career.
“DeAngelo wants to ensure that no woman (or man) fights breast cancer alone,” Risalyn Williams, his wife and executive director of The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, added.
Williams’ effort certainly has its fair share of supporters.
“I am a two-time survivor, once when I was 39, next when I was 52. I am now 70. Mammograms found it both times. Bless you for all your efforts!” one follower wrote on The DeAngelo Williams Foundation Facebook page.
Williams may not be running into end zones anymore, but his legs move for an even bigger reason. And, if you want, you can join Williams and his Williams Warriors team on Oct. 26, 2019 for the Susan G. Komen Memphis-MidSouth Mississippi Race for the Cure. There will be a tailgate and team jerseys.
If you’d like to be on Williams’ team, register here.