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Making a difference in so many lives

Posted Oct 24, 2016

DeAngelo Williams, Alan Faneca and the Steelers are helping in the fight against breast cancer.

The more you talk to people, the more you learn a startling fact. Just about everybody knows somebody who has been impacted by breast cancer.

But there is nobody in the Steelers locker room who has been touched by it the way DeAngelo Williams has. Williams’ mother, Sandra Hill was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She fought a long, tough battle, but eventually the disease took her life in 2014. But that wasn’t it. He also lost four aunts, all of his mother’s sisters, to the horrific disease.

On Monday night, Williams and his teammates did their part to help others fighting the battle, in hopes that nobody has to go through the same pain he did ever again.  

Williams and his wife Risalyn and Alan and Julie Faneca hosted Bid for Hope XV, benefitting Glimmer of Hope Foundation and supporting breast cancer research.

“It’s very important to give back, especially when it’s a cause near and dear to your heart,” said Williams. “We have experienced a lot of heartaches and pains through this particular disease. For us to help fight it in our community, or any community, and bring awareness to it, that is an amazing thing to be able to do.

“It’s one of those things where you see family go through the things we have gone through and you try to prevent it from happening for other families. That is where the dedication comes from. You don’t want to see another family go through what you went through, or another family member. You try to arm them with the knowledge that they need to beat this disease and cope with it.”

This is the 15th year for Bid for Hope, an event that has raised more than $1 million, with much of that benefitting the organizations under-40 breast cancer study, 3D mammography and the integrated oncology program at Magee Womens Hospital of UPMC, which treats mind, body and soul, something that helps patients as they go through treatment.   

“We have been able to open a premenopausal clinic at Magee Womens Hospital and offer integrated oncology services for young women, and basically now we are providing those services for all breast cancer patients,” said Diana Napper, founder and president of Glimmer of Hope. “That is a direct reflection from Bid for Hope.”

Williams and many of his Steelers’ teammates spent the evening signing autographs for those in attendance, bringing smiles, but more importantly awareness to the cause.  

“DeAngelo has always been a really great advocate for breast cancer awareness and research, and this really means a lot to us to have him and his teammates pitch in,” said Napper. “It’s important for the players to understand their participation really is benefitting young women with breast cancer in this area. There are programs here that aren’t anywhere else in the country.

“It’s overwhelming the amount of support we receive from the organization and the players. It’s wonderful and overwhelming.”