Hairdresser Keeps Styling Despite Illness

8 years 8 months 3 hours ago Wednesday, December 22 2010 Dec 22, 2010 Wednesday, December 22, 2010 6:41:27 PM CST December 22, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - There are more than 100,000 hair salons in Missouri all filled with hairdressers, but there's one stylist in Mid-Missouri who stands out against the rest. Meet Dorothy Murphy, a friend and hairdresser, at Boone Landing Salon.  She works inside Boone Landing Retirement home with husband, Rick Murphy; a place that has become the couple's second home.

"This is my family here you know, Rick feels the same way," Dorothy said.

She gives perms, haircuts and even does a few manicures for her clients. What makes Dorothy special though isn't just the way she uses scissors, but her hat that spends more time on the shelf than on her head.

"It looks like a little baby's heiny," Dorothy said while rubbing her head. Dorothy has no hair of her own, but she still cuts it four days a week.

"I went and had a mammogram and I had a large tumor," she said. Doctors diagnosed Dorothy with breast cancer six years ago, but that won't keep this hairdresser out of the salon.

"I have made up my mind that if I can't do anything about it I'm going to stick it out till the very end and that's the only way I can look at it," she said.

Out the six years Dorothy has spent battling her cancer, she has only missed three weeks of work.  She enjoys giving her clients new and different styles, even if she can't do it to herself.

"She says, I'm fine, when I know she isn't. But she does a good job, she doesn't complain," said friend and client Mary Ann Niedergerke.

The news was not as easy for her personal assistant to hear.

"I kind of became numb," Rick said. "She was the one that had the spirit to fight it. If it was me I'd just give up, but Dorothy never had that attitude."

After 46 years in the business, Dorothy won't let this be the last of  her legacy, even if she has to work with no hair of her own.

"Hair doesn't make us, I mean it adds to your appearance, but it's not something that you have to say I have no hair, you didn't have any hair when you were born so what difference does it make," Dorothy said.

"I don't know what I would do if I lost her," Rick said. "I've been around her too long, that I wouldn't know what I would do. We'll probably be here for another 20 years. I'll have to bring Dorothy up here in a wheelchair eventually."

The laughter and jokes are Dorothy's best medicine as she continues fighting the disease.

"Fight it to the nail, don't give up, no matter how bad it is, don't give up just keep fighting it everyday," she said.

While many have suggested Dorothy get a wig, Dorothy won't have it.  She's a warrior that refuses to wear a helmet.

"I don't need no wig, I want my head to breathe," she said.

While Dorothy's cancer is not completely gone, she says doctors have it controlled. Right now, she only has to take one chemotherapy pill every three weeks.

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