DeAngelo Williams, a running back on the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team, lost his mother to breast cancer. She was just 53.
But now, Williams has decided to do something spectacularly special in memory of his mom. According to Today.com, Williams' non-profit organization, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, will cover the cost of 53 mammogram tests to raise awareness and encourage women to get tested.
This began in 2014, when his foundation launched "53 Strong for Sandra," an event that partners with Carolinas HealthCare System's Levine Cancer Institute and Charlotte Radiology to "provide free mammograms and follow up care for 53 women in Charlotte."
This year, the event will also extend to Pittsburgh and Memphis, Williams announced in a tweet.
In 2014, Williams wrote "Wear Pink For My Mom, Who Lived to Love," an article published to The MMQB, articulating his mother's battle with breast cancer and his consequential motivation to raise awareness.
"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. I walked away thinking, Wow, pink is really so much more than just a color. It's a lifesaver. It's awareness. If we reach one, we reach millions. If we reach millions, we're doing our job and getting closer to finding a cure," Williams wrote.
Moreover, Williams' piece concludes with a two part challenge: first, to encourage a year-round effort to raise awareness. Second, to encourage people to speak to their loved ones about getting mammograms. Then, ask those people pass it along.
"That’s the challenge my mother laid down for all of us: Don’t just fight this disease for yourself. Fight it for every woman who comes after you, who will suffer as you suffered," Williams adds in the article. "God willing, no woman will feel as though she has to face this disease alone."
"My heart is pink... To all the survivors and the ones that are going through it, we love you, you're not alone, we will continue this fight against breast cancer," Williams says in a commercial posted to his Facebook.