Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams lost four aunts to breast cancer, as well as his mother. Making a mission to aid in breast cancer awareness and support survivors of the disease, Williams has paid for the mammograms and follow-up care for 53 patients, in memory of his mother who was 53 years old when she lost her battle. Wanting to further help the cause, Williams submitted a request to the NFL to continue to wear pink after October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, but it was denied.
“The same way it made you feel after you heard it — like, man,” he said, according to ESPN. “He told me no. I’m assuming they are telling everybody else no as well. … It wasn’t about selling it. You know and I know and everybody else knows before I made the phone call.”
In 2014, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation launched the “53 Strong For Sandra” campaign. Originally extending a helping hand to women in Charlotte, the event spread to Pittsburgh and Memphis. Upon the release of the news of his good deed, the NFL player took to Twitter to elaborate on the cause:
I just want to elaborate on the “53 mammograms I’m paying for” because there’s much more to it… pic.twitter.com/ehu0zQ1nDt
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) October 16, 2015
Williams has also dyed his hair pink as another way to commemorate the memory of his fallen family members and to continue to support those living with breast cancer. In a promo video in conjunction with the NFL and the American Cancer Society, the Steelers running back spoke on the importance of donning the color pink, and offered words of encouragement to those still fighting the disease.
“Pink is not a color, it’s a culture for me. I wear the color pink on the field for the rest of my career. To all the survivors and the ones that’s going through it, we love you. You’re not alone. We will continue this fight against breast cancer.”