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Let's Shave Heads For Sara
February 3, 2010

When Sara discovered she had cancer, Dr. Murphy told her he would be there for her and pledged to shave his head if her hair fell out during the course of treatment. 

Read more about Sara's Story in the Foundation Newsletter.

Dr. Murphy has been putting off getting a haircut since October.  While growing his locks, word spread of his offer and other fellows who had worked with Sara wanted to show their support as well. 

Group Before Shave Heads

On February 3rd, Sara got to do the honors of shaving the heads of four colleagues pictured form left: 
Matt Carlson, Jeff McCall, Dr. Cary Murphy, and Tyce Young. The staff took a serious issue and turned it into a fun activity that would raise awareness for the issue of breast cancer.

Sara directed the action and pointed at Dr. Murphy to be first in line.  He donned a zebra striped cape and under the supervision of Vicki Pfizenmaier, Sara went to work. Vicki is also a breast cancer survivor. Before working at the hospital as Patient Advocate, she worked as a hair stylist. Vicki lost her hair during cancer treatment and has had first hand experience with the whole process.Dr Murphy

While shaving Dr. Murphy’s head, he asked Sara how many times she’d wanted to scalp him while at work.  Then he told her not to answer!  After he looked in the mirror and received a round of applause for his new, bald look, he stood, put his arm around Sara and addressed the group.

“I’m here today in support of Sara.  I have worked with her in various departments in the hospital and she has given of fully of herself every day.  As a nurse, she’s always been an advocate for the things that I’m interested in and passionate about.  She’s my gal in the OB department, we’re partners, chums….we treat each other almost like we’re brothers and sisters. 

So, I wanted to show support for Sara, my good friend and colleague.  We’re also here to bring attention to a few other things.  I think it’s important that all of us, regardless of our age to start thinking about our health.  There are many things that affect our health, but today we are particularly focused on cancer.  This community, unfortunately, has a high incidence of cancer.    We don’t know why, but we know we do.  We want people to come in and start having a conversation with their doctor about themselves and the tough things no one wants to talk about. 

Part of that equation has to do with guidelines that have been in the news lately.  Particularly ladies have been hearing about screenings for breast cancer.  A word to people is this, “Guidelines are just guidelines.”  They aren’t law, they aren’t gospel, they are simply a place to start to say, this with what statistically makes sense.  But each person needs to have a conversation with their physician about what makes sense for you as an individual with your individual risks.  Then make a decision based on all those factors.  When you and your doctor and “that quiet little thing in your heart “says is the right thing to do.”

Sara spoke up and said, “The state of Kansas has made a proclamation that they will keep the recommended age for getting mammograms at the age of forty.” Dr. Murphy, continued saying, “Us guys running around here as bald as cue balls will generate some questions about what we’re doing and start conversations about our health.  I hope when I run into people on the street, seeing me will remind them to tackle the tough issues.  Breast cancer tends to be a women’s issue, but we fellows have our issues too.  Prostate cancer is an issue, but actually colon cancer in this country is a bigger concern, particularly if you smoke.  So I want this bald head to be a reminder to people that we need to be talking about these things.” 

Bald Is Beautiful! Many actors have shaved their heads for particular roles including Demi Moore in G.I. Jane and Cate Blanchette in Heaven. The cast we assembled on Wednesday put on a show worthy of any stage in the country.  If laughter from the audience watching the performance was any indication of the success, it could make the Academy Awards.Tyce Young

Scene II included Tyce Young, Director of Nursing.  Sara began getting creative and gave him a Mohawk look before finally shaving his head.  He looked like the famous Mr. T!   

In scene III, Risk Management Director, Jeff McCall got a tonsure, which we would know as the “friar Tuck” look.  This hair cut has been a symbol of the renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.  Sara definitely accomplished that with the process! 

Justin Begnoche was in the crowd and in our hospital; he is the standard bearer for bald heads.  He came up to Matt and put a ponytail on the top of his head.  “I look like Zippy the Pinhead” was Matt’s response and, indeed he did!  As Sara shaved his hair towards the pony tail, he took on the look of a Sumo wrestler.  Sara shaved off the pony tail and presented what looked like a shaving brush. 

Dr. Murphy ended the afternoon by shaving Sara’s head.  Sara started losing her hair after the second round of chemo treatment.  She had a “hair cutting” party at home with her three girls, but still had a few wisps of hair and wanted a touch up to get rid of the final remnants. All the people with their newly shaved heads left the hospital in felt caps. Vicki Pfizenmaier made felt caps for Sara and the guys to wear in the coming months.  She shared that when she lost her hair, the felt caps she received were so warm and she took comfort from the love that went into the caps that were given to her. 

Paul Tessaro, pastor of the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Clay Center came by as people were leaving.  He pulled off Dr. Murphy's cap and said, “I knew this look would catch on sooner or later!”  Bald is Beautiful.

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