Former NFL star DeAngelo Williams has paid for hundreds of mammogram screenings through his nonprofit organization in honor of his late mother, who he lost breast cancer five years ago.
The DeAngelo Williams Foundation, which is led by the former athlete’s wife, Risalyn Williams, announced in a Facebook post on Wednesday that it has “sponsored well over 500 mammograms and have no plans of stopping.”
The former Carolina Panthers running back had launched the effort shortly after the death of his mother in 2014. At the time, the program had been called “53 Strong for Sandra” in honor of his mother, Sandra Hill, who died at the age of 53, several years after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Through the effort, DeAngelo Williams and his organization would pay for 53 mammogram screenings at events hosted in hospitals across the country.
“To be able to help all these women is amazing. This can be life-changing for these women,” DeAngelo Williams said in a statement to Today about the effort. “We are enabling them to get this care that no one should ever be denied or not have access to.”
Risalyn Williams, who serves as executive director of the foundation, told the publication that her husband “wants to ensure that no woman (or man) fights breast cancer alone.”
DeAngelo Williams, who said four of his aunts died from breast cancer, has long advocated for breast cancer awareness.
According to Today, Williams’ efforts to bring more attention to the issue during his time in the NFL were instrumental in the league’s decision to allow players to wear pink cleats during October in 2009.