To many people who have lost loved ones to cancer, there is nothing left to do but take up the fight to help those who remain. One such person is the National Football League’s DeAngelo Williams, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
DeAngelo Williams lost his mother, Sandra Hill, to breast cancer in 2014 when she was only 53 years old. Horribly, the running back has also lost four aunts to the same disease! Williams has turned his loss into a battle against breast cancer, and is one of the league’s most outspoke players on the cause. He was influential in getting NFL players to wear pink cleats during Breast Cancer Awareness month, in October.
But Williams wanted to wear pink accessories during all the games, not just those held in October. He was told no by the league, which is strict on what players can wear during official games, though he continues to sport the color whenever he can. “Pink is not a color, it’s a culture for me,” he stated. “My hair is pink. My heart is pink. My toenails are pink.”
Williams also recently decided to pay for 53 mammograms of strangers in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina and also in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Steelers. His mother lost her battle with cancer at the age of 53, so the number is especially meaningful to Williams.
Williams has also been known to take moments before his games to give heartfelt hugs to breast cancer survivors attending on the sidelines. He started The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, an organization which seeks to “support the eradication of breast cancer through preventive care and research.”
For an article in The Players’ Tribune, Williams wrote:
“That’s what I want people with cancer — and people who know others who are battling cancer — to realize: Cancer is empowering.
“You have a disease that you didn’t contract from anybody else, and depending on how you deal with it mentally and how you attack, you can get busy living, or you can get busy dying.
“You have a decision to make, and there’s no in between. There’s no, Eh, I’ll fight it today but not tomorrow. You either thrive, or you survive. My mother was the epitome of thriving. She lived.
“And she still lives on to this day.”
Watch the video below to hear Williams’s message to all those going through the battle with breast cancer.