Memphis father creates nonprofit in honor of his daughter who died from breast cancer

Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 5:06 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many important doctors appointments have been cancelled -- for women, that may include your annual breast exam.

One Memphis father who lost his daughter to breast cancer is encouraging women not to wait, and to perform self-checks or schedule an appointment ASAP.

“She was a vibrant 30-year-old daughter, sister, aunt, cousin... just loved life.”

Bob Furniss is talking about his daughter Keesha who he calls a Warrior Princess.

“At 30 years old she was not going to a gynecologist on an annual basis,” he said.

Furniss says his daughter revealed to her mother Susan that she assumed going to the regular doctor was enough since she was not sexually active.

But Keesha started experiencing back issues and breathing problems and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“When she was diagnosed, she was diagnosed all the way to stage 4 metastatic breast cancer which means that it’s in multiple places outside of the breast.”

Keesha battled the disease for four years undergoing 14 different types of treatment.

She refused to give up and lived her life to the fullest -- attending Steelers and Tigers games and running for breast cancer awareness.

The disease took her life in November 2017, but she’ll always be remembered as a true fighter and the inspiration behind her family’s nonprofit “Keesha Warrior Princess.”

“As a dad my message is ‘Have you asked your daughter?’ ‘Have you asked your wife?’”

Furniss hopes Keesha’s story will encourage men to ask the tough and sometimes uncomfortable questions to the women in their lives.

“Eighty percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer find their breast abnormalities themselves,” Furniss added.

Which is why he is also encouraging women to do self-checks in addition to going to annual exams.

Furniss says about 11% of breast cancer is found in women under the age of 45, and he hopes to save other young women from the pain, suffering and even death associated with this disease.

“I know that it makes a difference if someone finds it early,” Furniss said.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Keesha Warrior Princess will continue to share Keesha’s story and introduce new initiatives.

For more information on Keesha Warrior Princess, click here.

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