Her Story: Indiana's Shavonte Zellous

The WNBA is dedicated to raising funds and awareness of breast cancer during the week of August 3rd to August 10th. Throughout the week, players around the league will share stories of how the disease has affected them and those closest to them in a feature known as "Her Story."

My cousin is a breast cancer survivor.

Three years ago I received news of her having breast cancer. It was just a very sad moment for me. My heart just dropped. This is something you always hear about, but to have it actually come into your family is something that was very touching to me. I cried after I found out that she was diagnosed with it, but staying strong for her was something that me and my whole family had to do. She didn’t need to be down any more than she was after being diagnosed. So we just had to stay up with our spirits and support her.

She was only 30 years old, so she was still young when diagnosed with it. I tried to keep in the loop of things with her chemotherapy and treatments but it was difficult with my basketball schedule. But I always kept in contact with her and asked my mom for updates to see how she was doing, how the treatments were going. We communicated the entire time when she was trying to beat this disease, roughly a year and a half from the point of diagnosis to recovery.


BHA Week
Then the day came where I got a phone call from my mom. I don’t remember where I was but I remember my mom saying, “Your cousin survived it. The doctor says it’s all clear now.” She still has to go in annually to get check ups, but after that phone call I was just happy and relieved that she was actually able to survive it.

I always keep her story in mind. You never know what person may be going through a similar situation where you can be of help to them because you’ve gone through a situation where a family member was not just diagnosed with the disease but actually survived it.

I just recently went to a cancer center with the rest of my teammates to talk with some patients and survivors. We went through and saw what procedures were done with the radiation and therapy and all that goes into recovering from the disease. It just really touched me to see for myself first hand what my family member went through was just really sad. It’s something everyone should take note of. People are going through this battle every day. I was happy to go with Katie and my teammates to just go and lend a hand to the people who are still trying to fight this disease.

For anyone going through a similar situation like what I went through with my cousin, I know it’s a tough situation. Whether it’s you, your family member or a close friend, just stay positive, pray and just believe that God will get you out of that situation. If you stay positive and happy with the person, I think they will get through the situation much faster and much quicker and be just relieved to have someone around them who is going to keep their spirits up.
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