One of the greatest benefits of a life spent helping others is that when you run into trouble, you almost always have a support team already assembled. Such was the case for Hernando County nurse Debra Dolby, who found a source of strength in her uniformed co-workers.
A nurse at the Hernando County detention center since 2006 (and a member of the Navy and Marine Corps before that), Nurse Dolby has worked side by side with county deputies for over a decade. So last year when Debra was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer, her co-workers quickly found ways to help… and one of those ways is now getting national attention.
“She’s just a fun person that gets down to business and calls them like she sees them,” Programs Deputy William Ingersoll said, a perspective most of her co-workers share. So when cancer treatment cost Debra her hair, staging a demonstration of support was a “no brainer”.
Many of the deputies already sported shaved heads (or were bald naturally), and the ones who weren’t quickly grabbed a razor and shaved. Soon, Debra was surrounded by a smiling pack of bald-headed friends, all smiling for a photo that now serves as motivation for her.
“It’s how you get your strength and your courage, and this is a badge of courage, ” Nurse Dolby said of the support she’s found in her team. “Being bald is hard for a woman, not hard for a man, but it’s how you get your power.”
“We wanted to demonstrate that we’re part of the same team, part of the same unit, and we wanted to show a little solidarity,” Classification Sgt. Dan Carriveau said of Nurse Dolby.
And ever the helper herself, Debra is already looking for ways that her battle today can help someone tomorrow.
“There’s a lot of diseases that people need motivation for, and if I can give them just a little bit, share my story, then I’m happy,” she said.
If you’d like to see the photo (and other support from the Hernando County deputies), you can see it on their Facebook page here.
As of today, Debra’s doctors have given her a 40% chance of beating the disease, a number Debra refuses to take negatively.
“I said what’s my chances of surviving this? He said 40% and I said who says I’m not in the 40%, ” she said, adding that her motivation for survival isn’t for her sake… it’s for the sake of those who depend on her. “They need me so it’s not about me. It’s about them.”
We love stories of nurses who change lives through their dedication, passion, and skill—nurses such as Evelyn Sotomayor, whose unrelenting care helped save a patient and inspired her to become a doctor herself. But just as much, we love stories of a community that recognizes the value of the nurses who help them, and who come together when it’s the nurse who needs help.
If you’d like to explore your own options in the world of nursing, Unitek College is here to help. Contact us here for more information.