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Covington state lawmaker spreading word about need for early detection
Sharon Henderson
District 113 State Rep. Sharon Henderson, D-Covington, speaks during an event hosted by the nonprofit Reign Over Cancer earlier this month at the State Capitol. (Special Photo)

COVINGTON, Ga. — District 113 State Rep. Sharon Henderson, D-Covington, has spread the word this month about a new law she authored to make sure women in Georgia know to have annual mammograms.

Henderson has spoken to groups ranging in size from the 2,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, to the Reign Over Cancer event at the State Capitol as part of observances of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The most recent event was the Colors of Cancer event Sunday. It was to feature Henderson, whose House Bill 937 earlier this year required insurance companies in Georgia to inform their customers above age 40 to have mammograms to detect breast cancer.

Henderson was a keynote speaker during the opening session of the Georgia Primary Care Association’s 45th annual conference Sept. 28-30 in Atlanta. Also at the event was State House Speaker David Ralston.

She also was a featured speaker at a cancer awareness event hosted by Reign Stevens and her nonprofit Reign Over Cancer Oct. 3 at the State Capitol in Atlanta.

The event Oct. 9 at New Birth — one of the largest churches in Metro Atlanta — was titled Great Cancer Awareness Pink Sunday and included Pastor Jamal Bryant’s description of Henderson as a “force to be reckoned with.” 

It culminated with the release of 1,000 balloons in honor of cancer victims and survivors, she said.

Henderson also was to attend and speak at “Pink Out Day” hosted by Rockdale County Clerk of Courts Janice Morris and Conyers Mayor Vince Evans in Olde Town Conyers Oct. 18.

She also was a featured speaker at the Colors of Cancer event in Locust Grove Sunday, Oct. 23, that benefited the Atlanta Hope Lodge.

She said her message during speeches at all the events was “early detection saves lives.”

Henderson noted she was diagnosed with breast cancer that was detected early. 

However, she got the idea for the bill after speaking with a fellow patient who had not known to get a mammogram before her breast cancer advanced and put her at risk, Henderson said.

She said she was encouraged by fellow lawmakers from both sides of the aisle — as well as lobbyists — for the legislation during the General Assembly session.

The Democratic state lawmaker from Covington praised Gov. Brian Kemp for signing her legislation — which she said other states are considering copying.

She said Kemp said he liked the bill and wrote her a personal letter about it.

“If it wasn’t for him, it wouldn’t be law,” she said.

Kemp, a Republican, is being challenged for re-election by Democrat Stacey Abrams in the Nov. 8 General Election. 

Sharon Henderson
District 113 State Rep. Sharon Henderson, D-Covington, poses with House Speaker David Ralston during the Georgia Primary Care Association's annual conference in last September in Atlanta. (Special | Sharon Henderson)