By Galen Holley | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – After losing both her parents to cancer, Keegan Foxx believes strongly in regular checkups and early detection.
“I can’t help but think that if Mom or Dad had caught it earlier, things might be different,” said Foxx, an anchor and producer with WTVA in Tupelo.
Foxx’s parents adopted her from South Korea when she was 5 months old, but the family’s dreams of building a life in Lucedale were cut short when her mother, Marilyn, passed away from breast cancer just two years later.
Foxx got to know her mother mostly through the memories of her maternal kin, including her grandparents, who helped raise her. Unfortunately, as relatives told Foxx, Marilyn took her time about seeing a doctor when she first noticed something was wrong.
“My grandmother pushed her to take it seriously and to follow up with doctors,” she said.
The cancer was aggressive, and it took Foxx’s mother before they really had a chance to bond.
It’s hard for someone to miss what they never really had, so growing up without a mother didn’t seem all that bad, Foxx said. She had a good life in Lucedale.
“I didn’t want for anything. I’d even say I was spoiled,” Foxx said, laughing. More heartbreak lay ahead for her family, though. When Foxx was in high school a knot developed on her father’s side. He later realized it was lymphoma, and he died when Foxx was 17.
Even if it were in her nature, Foxx doesn’t have time to feel sorry for herself. She starts her day at 2 a.m. and she’s wide open until she puts her head down just about the time most people are getting off work.
She takes comfort in her faith. Foxx was baptized a Catholic when she was two and last Easter she was confirmed and received her first Holy Communion. Her mother, also a Catholic, would have liked that, she said.
The world has changed a lot since Marilyn died in 1986. Medicine has evolved and methods of detection and treatment are better, Foxx said, but people are also a lot more aware of breast cancer than they used to be.
“People see pink and it registers right away,’” she said. As a way of bolstering that awareness Foxx helped other local celebrities wait tables at the Serving up a Cure event at The Grill in Tupelo on Sept. 26.
“People need to understand the urgency of this issue, and how important it is talk about it and get regular exams,” said Foxx.
“Breast cancer is something about which nobody can afford to be blase.”