Retired NFL running back DeAngelo Williams has covered the cost of mammogram screenings for over 500 women through his nonprofit, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, Today reports.
In 2014, Williams’ mother Sandra Hill passed away from breast cancer at just 53 years old. Prior to that, four of his aunts lost their battle with cancer, all before the age of 50. In 2015, Williams started the “53 Strong for Sandra” program, offering free mammogram screenings for 53 women in partnership with Charlotte Radiology and Levine Cancer Institute according to People.
Since then, his foundation has covered screenings for over 500 women in hospitals all across the country including those in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jonesboro, Arkansas, Memphis Tennessee, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Williams played in the NFL as a running back from 2006 to 2016. During this time he was an advocate for breast cancer awareness in the league, leading efforts in 2009 that allowed players to wear pink cleats to raise awareness in October. He also dyed his hair pink to show support.
In a press statement to Today, Williams said, “To be able to help all these women is amazing. This can be life-changing for these women. We are enabling them to get this care that no one should ever be denied or not have access to.”
His wife, Risalyn Williams, executive director of The DeAngelo Williams Foundation said that “DeAngelo wants to ensure that no woman (or man) fights breast cancer alone.”
Eventually Williams wants to expand his operations and be able to host free mammogram screening events in every state.