Amy SoHee Henderson-Llanto, age 32, of Juneau, Alaska left the bonds of Earth on November 6, 2017 in Seattle Washington after a courageous five-month long battle with a rare and aggressive cancer. At the time of her passing she was surrounded by love from family and friends.
Amy is survived by her new husband, Shane Llanto, her children Rylan Henderson (age 8) and Amaya Henderson (age 6), her parents, Kevin and Janet Henderson, sister, Sarah Henderson, and grandmother, Beatrice Long, all of Juneau. Amy is also survived by many relatives and friends who were deeply impacted by her life.
Amy's story began December 22, 1984 in Daegu, South Korea. She was adopted into her new family in March 1985 and raised in Juneau with her sister, Sarah, also born in South Korea. From the start, it seems that Amy had an extra measure of determination, grit, and a zest for life. She carried this character into all that she did and into every challenge she faced. She loved to play soccer, which she actively played from age 6 to the year of her death, including two seasons as the varsity goal keeper for Juneau-Douglas High School. Amy graduated from JDHS in 2003. More recently she was active in CrossFit and enjoyed her relationships there.
A turning point in Amy's life occurred when she attended massage therapy school in Portugal. That experience reinforced her interest in health and health care. After a time in New Jersey, Amy returned to Juneau and started in a clerical position at Southeast Medical Clinic, but was soon mentored and trained as a medical assistant. After a few years she decided to further her education. She was accepted into the University of Alaska School of Nursing extension program, which allowed her to continue her education while raising two young children. She was awarded her Registered Nurse license in December 2013, and continued working as an RN at Southeast Medical Clinic. She also worked as an RN at Bartlett Regional Hospital and part-time at Juneau Bone and Joint. At the time of her death she was an RN for the Department of Corrections at Lemon Creek Correctional Facility, which (not surprisingly) seemed to suit her well. She was just hitting her professional stride.
Amy enjoyed a long-time relationship with the love of her life, Shane Llanto. Amy and Shane exchanged vows of marriage before God on November 5, 2017, just hours before her death. What she most cherished was her family, especially her children. We can already see that same AmyStrong spirit in them both.
The grit and determination she was born with helped her overcome every obstacle she faced and she would always come out the other end with a sense of humor and joy. This was certainly true during her battle with Nut Midline Carcinoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. Amy insisted on doing things her way and was very much in charge of her own health care choices up to the very last day.
Amy left an extraordinary mark on this community and everyone who crossed her path. She will always be missed.
Two separate events are planned on Saturday, December 2, 2017, to help us all remember this extraordinary person.
A Memorial Services will be held at 2:00 pm at the Church of Christ, 8755 Trinity Drive, in the Mendenhall Valley for all those who desire to share in Amy's departure in a spiritual way.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 5:00 pm at Centennial Hall, Ballroom #1, downtown Juneau. The event is for everyone who desires to share their own stories about Amy and express support for her husband and children. No doubt this event will include tears, laughter, and food. Amy would prefer it to be a fun and healthy celebration of a courageous life.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Amy's honor can be sent to any of the following organizations:
International Nut Midline Carcinoma Registry in cooperation with the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. This cancer is so rare this is the only research organization dedicated to finding its cure. http://www.nmcregistry.org/donate.html
SightLife: the only non-profit global health organization solely focused on eliminating corneal blindness in the U.S. and around the world. Amy donated her corneas through SightLife. http://www.sightlife.org
Cancer Connection: our local resource that provided much needed help to Amy and her family. P.O. Box 20329, Juneau, Alaska 99802http://www.cancerconnectionak.org
Many have asked about a college fund for Rylan and Amaya. Instructions for how to contribute will be available at the Celebration of Life.