COVINGTON, Ga. — On Saturday, Oct. 14, Rep. Sharon Henderson of House District 113 – which includes portions of Newton and Rockdale counties – hosted an early detection breast cancer awareness event at Legion Field in Covington.
Henderson’s personal battle with breast cancer last year inspired her not only to host the event, but to also authorize a bill, HB 937, which subjects insurance companies to send notices to women attaining age 40 to get their annual mammogram screening.
After passing through the House and Senate unanimously, Henderson’s bill was signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in 2022.
Henderson considers it her “mission” to help women obtain their mammograms sooner rather than later.
“As women, we take on the whole load,” Henderson said. “But, in addition to that, we have to love ourselves, too. Take care of ourselves, take care of our body, so that we can be here for our family. I don’t want even one woman to be a statistic. And right now, 60 percent of women in the state of Georgia have had their mammogram. The other 40 percent have not, and they need to.”
At the event, several medical professionals spoke on the importance of early detection, including the oncology clinical manager at Grady Memorial Hospital, the oncology director at WellStar Health System and the chief executive officer of the East Georgia Cancer Coalition.
Additionally, local pastors attended the event, providing the reading of a scripture, a prayer and music for guests to enjoy and participate in.
Henderson estimated over 100 attendees came to the event, with some sharing stories about their own battle with breast cancer. She shared how “inspired” she was to hear the stories of her constituents as well as women outside of her district, who she strives to advocate for as well.
“It was really good because we’re all in this together,” Henderson said. “I want them to know that even if they did get diagnosed, it’s not the end of their journey. We’re here to help them.”
Though the month of breast cancer awareness is almost over, Henderson says she looks forward to hosting another similar event and will continue to help women in understanding the significance of early detection.
“It was really a great event, and it was really worth the time and effort, and I’m not going to stop there,” Henderson said. “I know October is breast cancer month, but these women are being diagnosed 12 months out of a year. So, I have to keep this going.”