Kennewick woman opens business in spite of terminal illness

Kennewick woman opens business in spite of terminal illness

Against all odds, Cheri Camphouse opened a new business in Kennewick's Marineland Plaza this week.

“When I told my doctor that I was going to be doing this she pushed her chair back and was like, ‘No way'," Camphouse laughed. "Because I’m not even supposed to be alive right now.”

Camphouse has fibromuscular dysplasia, a condition causing aneurysms and torn blood vessels throughout her body.

There is no cure available and doctors tell her it will eventually take her life.

But however painful or difficult the condition makes Camphouse's daily life, she told Action News she doesn't want to focus on that, and neither should you.

“If you don’t know I’m sick, you’re not going to know I’m sick unless I want you to know I’m sick," she said.

She said she'd rather show you around Sophisticated Ink, her new business specializing in permanent makeup, tattoos and piercings for people valuing their privacy.

The businesswoman said the idea came to her after a surgery that left six scars on her stomach.

Camphouse wanted to cover her scars with a tattoo or permanent makeup, but could only find professionals working in large, open rooms, and often an audience.

She said she felt there had to be a better way, and set to work gathering a team of experts to make it happen.

Eventually, her husband quit his job and emptied their savings to make her dream of giving the Tri-Cities an upscale alternative for such a personal procedure.

“We just said, ‘You know what, it's time to live life and do what we love," she said.

Camphouse said her business caters to both sides of the modesty divide, offering the best of both worlds.

One side of the business has open booths and a more traditional floor plan, while the other half -- the space is literally divided in half by a wall-- is lined with private booths with walls, for customers who'd prefer their body art, permanent makeup, or piercings are done in private.

Camphouse is no stranger to running a small business. She has years of experience with previous businesses including a tanning salon and work as a real estate agent.

This time around she's working toward something she believes in while giving back to the community she loves.

She said her permanent makeup artist offers free areola restoration to cancer survivors.

Camphouse said her life has always been, "Go, go go," and staying active is doing wonders for her health.

“For months I had negative, negative, negative," she explained. "They had me going to counseling to prepare for death."

She said it was a painful, difficult process until she decided to focus her energy toward a goal instead of preparing for the end.

"Being able to come to work every morning is my favorite part," Camphouse said. "You just have to stay positive, find what you love and go for it."

And that's what she said she plans to keep doing.

"It's given me something to do, it's made me happy," she laughed. "I have a reason to do my hair again!"

Sophisticated Ink

  • Where: Marineland Plaza, 5215 west Clearwater Blvd., in Kennewick.
  • Contact: 509-579-5841
  • Learn more about Sophisticated Ink on their Facebook.
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