Legacy of Smithville shop for cancer patients, survivors lives on at new location

SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- A Smithville woman lived her final months making sure women had absolute dignity.

Kathy Dibben lost her battle with cancer and was honored over the weekend. But one of Dibben's friends is continuing the mission she started at her store for cancer patients and survivors.

Now the new owner of a Northland store is dedicated to helping women feel good about themselves as they fight for their lives.

The signage is up at Absolute Dignity and Boutique's new location, located at 108 S. Bridge Street in Smithville. Although Nita Pridgen is planting roots in a different place, she said the legacy of how this shop started will stay the same.

"I am excited for people to see it," Pridgen said.

Pridgen's journey as owner of Absolute Dignity started in April.

"We have all the mastectomy bras and prosthesis here," Pridgen said as she wandered through her new store Monday.

Pridgen's friend and previous owner, Kathy Dibben, had to step aside after her cancer came back. Dibben past away in May, but Pridgen is determined to keep her legacy alive.

"I hated to see her go. She suffered a lot of years," Pridgen said. "She's at peace now, at least, and I'll just try to carry on what she did in the past with the ladies."

For 12 years, Dibben provided critical resources to women in fighting for their lives, trying to understand what their new normal looks like.

As an 11-year breast cancer survivor herself, Pridgen loves helping others feel beautiful.

"We have hats, scarfs and swimsuits, wigs of all sorts," she said. "We just kind of give them some dignity back."

Pridgen said they'll be able to help even more women at this location because it's much more accessible.

"It's a place they can talk, visit, pray, whatever they want to do," she said.

While stocking the shelves and settling in Absolute Dignity's new home, Pridgen knows someone's happily looking down on a space that still gives women a safe space to be themselves.

"I think she's watching over us," Pridgen said. "And I think she's smiling down at us making sure it's taken care of."

Absolute Dignity officially opens at its new location Tuesday.

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