Former NFL Player DeAngelo Williams Pays For 500 Mammograms To Honor Late Mother Who Died Of Breast Cancer

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Who Is DeAngelo Williams? Former NFL Player Pays For 500 Mammograms In Honor Of His Mother Who Died Of Breast Cancer

Former NFL player DeAngelo Williams knows the tragedy of what breast cancer can do. He lost his mom, Sandra Hill, to the disease in 2014 when she was 53. He also lost four aunts to the disease, all of them were younger than 50 when they died. That's why he's made it his mission to make sure women get screened for breast cancer. Since 2015, his foundation The DeAngelo Williams Foundation has been covering the cost of mammograms. Who is DeAngelo Williams?

1. Early Years

DeAngelo Williams was born in Wynne, Arkansas in 1983. He was the top running back in Arkansas during his senior year in high school. That season he led his team to the state 4A championship with a record 2,204 rushing and 34 touchdowns. He was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 2001 Offensive Player of the Year and was selected to the Associated Press Arkansas Super Team in 2001. He was recruited by Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Iowa.  

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2. College Career

Williams played college football at the University of Memphis. He still holds the NCAA Division I record for 100-yard rushing games at 34, all-purpose years at 7,573, and he ranks sixth on the all-time NCAA rushing list with 6,026 yards.

3. The NFL

On April 29, 2006, Williams was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He was the 27th overall pick. He was selected by the Carolina Panthers. That year was one that was loaded with talented running backs including Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Laurence Maroney and Joseph Addai. He played eight seasons with the Panthers from 2006 to 2014. He then signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2015 an 2016 seasons. He was second team All-Pro in 2008, he went to the Pro Bowl in 2009, he was the NFL rushing touchdowns leader in 2008 and 2015. He retired from the NFL in 2018.

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4. His Mom

Williams' mom, Sandra Hill, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She spent 10 years battling the disease and died in May 2014. She was 53. He also lost four aunts to the disease all before the age of 50. "My mom was the strongest woman I know," said Williams. "When breast cancer took my mom, it met its biggest enemy."

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5. 53 Strong for Sandra

DeAngelo wanted to honor his mother and aunts so in 2015, he decided to pay for mammogram screenings for women through his nonprofit The DeAngelo Williams Foundation. He calls his initiative "53 Strong for Sandra." At each event, his foundation pays for mammograms for 53 women. To date, he's paid for 500 mammograms in Pittsburgh, Memphis, Charlotte, and Jonesboro, Arkansas. He eventually hopes to provide a free mammogram screening in every state. Williams said: "I take pride in knowing the NFL is pink in October, sparking conversations everywhere about breast cancer and prevention, all in the spirit of my mom."

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6. His foundation

According to The DeAngelo Williams Foundation's website, the organization's mission is: "The DeAngelo Williams Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and seek initiatives to support the eradication of breast cancer through preventative care and research. Since its founding in 2006, the foundation has raised an immeasurable amount of awareness and stirred up two-way conversations about breast cancer, both online and offline. As an example of the former, DeAngelo Williams, the foundation’s founder, posted the video of the NFL’s TV commercial he was featured in for breast cancer awareness month to his Facebook page, and the result was 1.3 million video views, 325k engagements, and 7.4 million impressions."

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer and editor covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.