(CBS News)–In 2015, former NFL player DeAngelo Williams helped pay for 53 women to get mammograms. In five years, Williams has sponsored over 500 mammograms, his foundation announced Wednesday.
The former running back, who played for the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers, was inspired by his mom and aunts to create his foundation. His mother Sandra died from breast cancer in 2006, and all four of her sisters died from the same disease — all before they turned 50, according to the foundation.
Williams originally chose to pay for 53 mammograms because his mom was 53 years old when she died. The DeAngelo Williams Foundation calls the campaign “53 Strong for Sandra.” They started out by holding mammogram screening events for under-insured women in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The foundation has expanded its screening events to more states and hopes to hit all 50. They also help women pay for follow-up appointments and treatments if needed after their mammograms. Williams is often seen at the screen events and at events that benefit the organization.
“To be able to help all these women is amazing. This can be life-changing for these women,” Williams said in a statement to the “Today” show. “We are enabling them to get this care that no one should ever be denied or not have access to.”