Local Hero: Shonte Henderson

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"Think positive, even though it's difficult to think positively in such a situation... Doctors only do so much. The healing part is up to you."

Shonte has worked for Los Angeles county for more than 20 years as a judicial assistant to Judge Leland Tipton's felony court in Bellflower, Shonte Henderson coordinates every aspect of the courtroom into one cohesive whole. She's accomplished and organized, but her real acclaim comes from her own personal victories against breast cancer, as well as her strident support for several different fundraising organizations that fight the disease she miraculously overcome four times. She is a shining example of perseverance and positive attitude to everyone in her community.

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Shonte was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 after a harrowing discovery of bleeding in her right breast, all at the dishearteningly young age of 25. Through faith and concerted medical efforts, Shonte survived her first bout with the disease and vowed to educate and empower other women afflicted by the same cancer. In making that promise, she committed to a lifetime of fighting cancer both personally and as an advocate and fundraiser for others. She was diagnosed with breast cancer twice more in 1995 and 1998 and survived both ordeals through a grueling regimen of surgery and chemotherapy. In 2007, after being in remission for almost a decade, Shonte was honored by Avon Beauty Products during the Avon Walk for Cancer as a distinguished, three-time survivor, as well as the opening and closing speaker for the walk. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer four times in her life and has beaten the disease back into remission after each one.

In addition to being honored by Avon, Shonte founded her own team for a Revlon Breast Cancer walk called "Team Shonte" that has persisted since her first diagnosis. The team continues to grow each year, and its combined total for donations collected in the name of cancer research has exceeded $6000 in the time that she has led her team. Even after surviving her fourth bout with cancer, her team members attested to the fact that Shonte often walks fastest out of the entire group. She has also volunteered her funds and time to the "Meals on Wheels" program, which delivers meals to underprivileged women fighting the disease that need help sustaining their own standard of living.

Shonte plans to continue writing a book about her experiences in the coming year. She hopes that be chronicling her own fight with cancer that she can inspire and empower other women in their time of need.

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