DeAngelo Williams in about the span of two days has become on the league’s most beloved and appreciated players.
Over the past few years Williams has been one of the NFL’s foremost ambassadors for breast cancer awareness following the death of his mother, Sandra Hill, over a year ago, and the Steelers running back has plans to provide a nothing short than awesome donation in the memory of his late mother.
Many criticize the NFL’s pink october movement or the pink ribbon in general for the lack of actual impact on the abolishment of the cancer, but William’s is stepping up and directly helping. He believes if he and his mom’s story can save just one life of another in the fight against great cancer, that will all be worth it.
According to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, Williams will pay for 53 mammograms at hospitals in Pittsburgh and Charlotte, North Carolina, during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is the same age his mother was when she lost her battle.
The cost of a mammogram ranges from about $200 to $300, not much for Williams but practically unaffordable for the less fortunate, all in total coming out to around $13,250. Many women put off being tested simply due to the costs.
“It’s not just about October for me; it’s not just a month, it’s a lifestyle,” Williams told ESPN’s Lisa Salters, per Fowler. “It’s about getting women to recognize to get tested.”
Williams has dyed his hair pink since his mother’s death in 2014 to help raise awareness, and he discussed his decision at the time in a first-person essay for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.com.
“Breast cancer, whether I like it or not, is part of my family’s story,” Williams wrote in May 2014. “That’s why I am so passionate about raising awareness, because I have seen firsthand how it can impact others. One time, a lady came up to me and said she was going to get examined just because she saw me wearing pink cleats during a game.”
Williams attempted to integrate pink into his uniform in the weeks beyond those in the month of October, in effort to continually promote awareness, but the NFL denied that request. According to Fowler, NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent told Williams wearing pink additions to his uniform would be in violation of the league’s strict uniform policy which has been criticized before on denying or later fining acts like this.
All in all, Williams’ concrete determination to get women screened for breast cancer in effort to stop it before it makes it to one’s life is one of the league’s most commendable off-field endeavors we’ve seen. Quite the ambassador, quite the person.