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Buffalo Bills linebacker Tony Steward revealed Tuesday that his fiancée Brittany Burns had passed away from cancer at the age of 26 through an emotional tribute posted on Instagram. "BEAUTIFUL is the only way I know you. You have the biggest heart I have ever seen in my entire life and I promise you that it will live on in me, our family and every single soul you have touched," Tony wrote. "You are the strongest and most loving soul to step foot in this world. You have been my rock, my motivation, my heart, my soulmate, my everything since the day I laid eyes on you. Every single day of your life you have been a fighter and I know this because of the unbelievable family you brought me into. We will all honor everything you stand for in life. I will continue to be the person that you always bring out in me. Believe me when I say that I deeply love you with every ounce of everything in me."
Brittany was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer on December 9, according to Syracuse.com. She and Tony were engaged to be married a few days later.
After Brittany's diagnosis, the couple started the "Britt and Tony's Fight Like a Girl Campaign" on Crowdrise to create a non-profit organization to help other women battling ovarian cancer. The campaign has raised more than $25,000 as of press time.
This is something that hits close to home for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Camille Grammer, who was diagnosed with endometrial cancer (which affects the lining of the uterus) in 2013 and has been in remission for two years. "It's very heartbreaking and very sad that a woman so young was taken away by this awful, dreaded disease, and it just broke my heart," Camille told The Daily Dish. "My prayers and my deepest condolences to her family. I can't even imagine what they're feeling right now. It's just a heartbreaking story. Her and her family are in my thoughts and my prayers."
Since her cancer diagnosis, Camille has been very active in raising awareness for women's cancers like endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. Her mother was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 47. Camille is a spokeswoman for the Foundation for Women's Cancer and served as the national chair for the 6th Annual National Race to End Women's Cancer on November 8, 2015 in Washington, D.C. She also spoke about her experience as a cancer patient and survivor at City of Hope in Duarte, California last fall. "I tell my story and women can relate to it and feel that they're not alone and help anybody that's going through it, that they can reach out to me," Camille said. "There's a camaraderie there between women that you're supported and not alone."
Camille said raising awareness of women's cancers among women of all ages is key so that we don't hear stories like Brittany's in the future. "I wouldn't wish cancer on anybody or the experience of chemo and radiation on any woman, which is why I can't stress enough how important it is to go for your checkup," she said. "I pray that more awareness is spread for this cause. There's so much awareness for breast cancer out there, and it's very important that we need to heighten the awareness of these below-the-belt cancers because these were once known as 'the silent killers,' but there are symptoms now. So if we educate ourselves and go for a checkup and learn the symptoms, we can be aware and hopefully go to the doctor, and if there is a diagnosis, that we can take care of it at an earlier stage."
Camille encourages women to visit the Foundation for Women's Cancer website for more information on gynecologic cancers and a list of gynecologic oncologists in their area if they are diagnosed. And for those undergoing their own cancer battle, Camille says to do your best to stay positive by surrounding yourself with things that make you feel good, from movies to people to positive affirmations. "If you think that [cancer is] gonna overcome you, you're giving up already," she said. "So don't give up the fight. Know in your brain that, 'I am gonna overcome this. I'm gonna be better.' And keep that in your mind and in your heart."
Watch Camille talk about beating cancer during a past appearance on Watch What Happens Live, below.
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