The 26-year-old fiancee of a Buffalo Bills linebacker tragically lost her battle with ovarian cancer on February 1. Reports from her alma-mater, Clemson University, say that Brittany Burns has passed away. She was the fiancee of Bills player and former Clemson Tiger Tony Steward. After her December diagnosis, Burns wrote on her Instagram page, “We are one hurt couple right now, but we know God has a plan!”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. They Got Engaged After Burns Was Diagnosed
Burns and Steward met while they were both students at Clemson University where they met. He was a football player, obviously, while she was a star rower at the school. According to Burns’ Instagram page, the couple got engaged some time in December. She attended Clemson between 2008 and 2011.
2. She Started a Campaign to Raise Money for Ovarian Cancer Awareness
She was being treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Burns was diagnosed on December 6. On that day, she wrote on Instagram:
We are one hurt couple right now, but we know God has a plan! I actually can’t believe I’m posting this haha. Super thankful for @tim_russell_, @meghess2, my mom, and my dad @ty_burns for taking care of me in person.
Thanks to everyone who has reached out to us, guided us and prayed for us during this difficult week. We will be back soon! #roadtorecovery #clemsonpizzaparty #billswin #billsmafia
Burns wrote on her Twitter page on January 24 that she was, “Thankful for the care at the hospital but I’m so ready to move on and start doing better from home.” Her final tweet came a few hours later when she jokingly wrote, “Just took a field trip to the cafeteria.”
After receiving the news, both she and Steward began a Fight Like a Girl campaign to raise money for ovarian cancer awareness. At the time of writing, their campaign had raised nearly $2,500. You sign an online condolence card for her family here.
3. Tributes Have Been Pouring in for Burns on Twitter
Steward’s teammates and friends of the couple have taken to Twitter to offer their prayers and condolences after Burns’ passing:
Meanwhile another friend of Burns’, Cynthia Shepard, paid tribute on Facebook saying, “”CANCER SUCKS!!! ? Brittany Burns ? speechless, heartbroken, truly at a loss for words…in my short time knowing you I could tell that you had loving, kind personality. Ovarian Cancer has robbed you of your beautiful young life. Prayers for your family, friends and your loving fiancé.”
4. Steward & Burns Had the Same Major in College
Steward was a sixth round pick for the Buffalo Bills in the 2015 draft. In May 2015, he told the Bills website about the day he was selected:
I went down and visited my agent and had my girlfriend with me and we really just stayed busy all day. We didn’t even watch the draft and in a fit of perfect timing we went back to his office to check in with one of his assistants and as soon as we sat down is when I got the call from the Bills. We kept ourselves busy, but when it happened it was an awesome moment for me and my girlfriend, my agent and my family.
He played in seven games in the 2015/16 season but finished the season on injured reserve. On his profile at the website for the Clemson Tigers it says that Steward is a native of Hastings, Florida. He graduated from his alma-mater with a degree in parks, recreation & tourism management. Burns had the same major.
The Buffalo News reported in July 2015 that Steward had battled through two torn ACL injuries, one in high school and one during his freshman year at Clemson. He told the newspaper that during the latter injury he “vented to his girlfriend plenty.”
5. She Was a North Carolina Native