- David Newton, ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter
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This isn't an ordinary Saturday mailbag, but it will begin with an extraordinary person.
Sandra Kay Hill.
The mother of Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams lost a long battle to breast cancer on May 16. She was, as Williams said in a first-person piece for Sports Illustrated's MMQB, the "biggest reason I've been able to enjoy eight NFL seasons."
"The byline on this column reads DeAngelo Williams, but they aren't my words alone," Williams wrote. "Everything I say here is an extension of her voice, her strength and her courage."
Williams wrote the piece not only as a tribute to his mother, but to let the world know he continues her fight against breast cancer. He began it like this: "My mom didn’t tell me she had breast cancer before she got a double mastectomy. That was kept a secret, from me at least, because she didn’t want me worrying about her and getting distracted because, well, I’m a mama’s boy."
Those that know Williams, who have seen the pictures of him with Hill or witnessed them together firsthand, understand.
Williams ended the piece like this:
"On Saturday, May 24th, at 3 p.m. CST, we buried my mother at Crosslawn Cemetery in Wynne, Arkansas. My mother’s fight is over now, but mine is just beginning. While I am so thankful for all that goes on during October to raise awareness for breast cancer, I want to ask one small favor of each of you.
"Well, two actually.
"First, wear a pink shirt at least once a month, and make it a point to tell people that you’re doing so to help remind everyone that breast cancer awareness is 365 days a year. Second, it’s true that early detection is the best prevention, so please call, text, email, tweet or Facebook five women you care about (in honor of my mom and her four sisters) and ask them if they’ve gotten a mammogram lately. Do this for five people, and ask them to do it for five more, and then five more after that. Keep it going, and keep doing this for all of the women around the world who live with and die from this disease -- and for my mom, who lived to love."
It is a touching piece from a loving son about an extraordinary woman.
This isn't an ordinary Saturday mailbag, but it will begin with an extraordinary person.Sandra Kay Hill.The mother of Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams lost a long battle to breast cancer on May 16.