The tragic news was announced via her Instagram page on Monday. Shaw’s cause of death stemmed from her five year battle with ovarian cancer. Her family wrote, “With heavy hearts, we are sad to announce that our beautiful girl Cheyann has been called home to heaven.”
Her mother, Darci Clark, is quoted saying, “My heart is breaking today, our baby girl lost her long battle with ovarian cancer. She fought until the bitter end. She is a true warrior and survivor. She will be truly missed and will forever be in my heart.”
“Thank you all for your support and encouragement over the years,” the post continued. “If there’s one thing Cheyann taught us is that no matter what battles we face, we can always find a reason to smile through them.”
Three weeks before her wedding day to husband Kaleb in August 2016, Shaw first learned of her cancer diagnosis, according to The Washington Post. She was 23 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 low-grade serous ovarian cancer, the least common type of ovarian cancer that is often diagnosed at a late stage and, despite being slow-growing, typically has a poor prognosis for patients, according to the Ovarian Cancer Research Program.
Shaw was incredibly open about sharing her cancer journey on social media. Her goal was to spread knowledge about the “silent killer” that is ovarian cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer in America and causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
Shaw, who had her reproductive organs, spleen, appendix and parts of her colon removed through her multiple surgeries over the years, didn’t want other women to experience her suffering. She wrote on Instagram:
Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer and is the deadliest gynecological cancer. Most women are diagnosed at advantage stages because there is NO DETECTION TEST for OVCA and a Pap smear WILL not detect OVCA. A biopsy is the ONLY way to determine, 100%, that it is ovarian cancer. I had every symptom of OVCA but I didn’t know OVCA was even a thing.
Here’s what you need to know about Cheyann Shaw:
Shaw Returned to Bodybuilding Competitions Between Cancer Treatments Even Though Her Weight Once Dropped to 97 Pounds
On her YouTube channel, where Shaw had 16,000 subscribers, and on her Instagram page, the fitness buff shared “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of dealing with cancer. Shaw, who was working as a real estate assistant for her husband in Kissimmee, Florida, was a lifelong athlete. She played basketball, softball, soccer, raced BMX, and around the age of 20 got into fitness.
Shaw entered her first bodybuilding competition in 2015, as she said on her YouTube channel, and was preparing for more shows when she learned of her likely terminal ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Because her type of cancer was so rare, Shaw moved from Florida to Seattle, Washington, to continue treatment with specialists and also be closer to family, The Washington Post reported. The treatments took a hard toll on her body. At one point, she weighed 97 pounds, as her 5-foot-5 body had started eating its own muscles for nutrients, she said.
In September, Shaw Was Rushed to the ER After Suffering a Seizure
Shaw was a fighter to the very end. In her final Instagram post before her death, Shaw shared an update on December 23 to say that she’d been “in and out of the hospital with a liver issue that has been fixed” and would be starting chemotherapy treatments again that Tuesday.
Despite the disappointing news, Shaw focused on the positive. She looked forward to “going home today or tomorrow just in time for Christmas. Keep the prayers coming and keeping sending all the light.”
Shaw was able to enjoy her summer despite continuing treatment. She went bike riding, made a series of new fitness videos, and worked out on the beach. However, her husband rushed her to the ER in September after she suffered a sudden seizure. She wrote:
They have no idea why I had a seizure. The liver, has an infection, that was caused from colitis which is why my liver had been so inflamed and making it hard to eat. I also have another infection of my small intestine called ileus or also known as lazy bowel syndrome. They believe this has been another reason why I couldn’t keep anything down. The doctor also said that it seems like this liver infection and ileus have been around for a long time
Shaw is survived by Kaleb, her husband of four years, who penned a moving tribute to his late wife on Instagram. On January 4, he said:
Today my beautiful wife Cheyann has gone home to be with Jesus. My heart is broken. I can’t imagine my life without her. I know she is in a better place away from the pain and suffering that comes with dealing with cancer. She is my hero, best friend and inspired not only myself, but thousands of people around the world. Please continue to pray for my family as we go thought this difficult time.