DeAngelo Williams of the Pittsburgh Steelers at an October 2014 event in New York for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, for which he spoke in honor of his mother, Sandra Hill, who died from the disease.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Avon Foundation for Women & Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance

DeAngelo Williams of the Pittsburgh Steelers lost his mother, Sandra Hill, to cancer in 2014 when she was only 53 years old. To honor his mother’s memory, Williams is paying for 53 mammograms through his charity, the DeAngelo Williams Foundation. According to the foundation, 53 mammograms will be covered at hospitals located in Charlotte, N.C., and Pittsburgh.

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Throughout Williams’ football career, he’s rallied not only other players but also the NFL organization to do more when it comes to breast-cancer awareness. In 2009, Williams was a part of the push to allow players to wear pink cleats throughout October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But getting the NFL to allow other gestures hasn’t been so easy. Williams wants to see pink, the color for breast-cancer awareness, not only in October but throughout the year. Unfortunately, Williams was denied the chance to wear pink outside of October by Troy Vincent, the NFL’s vice president of football operations.

In a statement released by the NFL, the organization reiterated its uniform policy: “There is a long-standing policy for all players regarding uniforms that is league-wide for all 32 teams. The league works with the clubs and players to raise awareness collectively for breast cancer during the month of October.”

That didn’t stop Williams from side-stepping the policy with his out-of-the-box thinking. Since Williams couldn’t technically “wear” something pink, he did the next-best thing: He dyed his locks pink. Now, if that isn’t ingenuity, I don’t know what is.

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Hopefully the NFL will make strides to raise awareness about breast cancer year-round, and not just during October.