SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The phrase “like mother like daughter” has never rang truer than it does for the McPherson family.
If ever there was a picture of courage, beauty, and strength, their mother, Joanna McPherson would be it. The Air Force colonel and mother of four is now facing her biggest battle, breast cancer.
The two middle girls took a big step in solidarity and support for their mom battling cancer.
“I want to shave my head so my mom does not have to go through being bald alone,” explained 7-year-old Sophia McPherson.
“The outside doesn’t matter, it’s what’s on the inside that counts but you still get judged, so if my mom were to get judged by her being bald I don’t want her to be the only one,” said 10-year old-Kayla McPherson.
Joanna was initially diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). The typical treatment for that is surgical removal, because it stays contained, according to Joanna.
"My initial biopsy was just a small piece, it’s so typically you get the surgery done and then they biopsy the rest of the tissue,” she explained.
However, about a week after the surgery, her diagnosis changed.
“I found out not only did I have a second type of cancer, it was very aggressive and invasive so chemo would be necessary after all,” Joanna said.
"She said she might not lose her hair, but she probably will, l so I was like well I can just shave my head for her and I'll do a bunch of other stuff to show that I am supporting her and when she feels bad I can help her," said Kayla without hesitation.
At an age when it's tough to be outside of the social box, especially for girls, Kayla and Sophia are proof love knows no bounds.
“My initial reaction was they’re crazy, why would they want to shave their head," Joanna said. "I don’t know too many people who choose especially at that age to shave their head. I said well why don’t you wait until I start to lose my hair and then I can tell you what my experiences are and you can make a more informed decision and I think that just really drove their determination even further.”
"My mom has always been a role model to me so I try and be like her a lot and I don't think she's any different without any hair," Kayla said.
“I would do anything for my mom, because she’s my mom,” Sophia said. “She’s kind, sweet, generous, she cares for me and she would do anything for me so I just want to show her how it feels.”
"It really is to me a grand gesture of love and I just couldn't deny them that."
Joanna has been blogging about her experiences in hopes of encouraging others to find their strength to fight.