Actress Brittany Daniel, whose Kelly Pitts character returned to BET’s The Game Tuesday night, opens up to People magazine about being diagnosed with cancer three years ago and how she fought her way back to good health.
It started in the summer of 2011, when the actress was preparing for another season of The Game and looking forward to moving into a new home. But after experiencing excruciating back pain, night sweats and flu-like symptoms, Daniel, 38, decided to see a doctor. The news the actress received was unexpected and grim: she had stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It happened so suddenly,” she says in the latest issue of People. Almost immediately after her diagnosis, Daniel – who starred opposite her twin sister, Cynthia, on the 1994 teen drama Sweet Valley High – started chemotherapy. During her recovery, Brittany and her mother moved into Cynthia’s guest house. Her inner circle, and the care of her physician Dr. Julie Dunhill, gave Daniel hope and the strength to soldier forward.
“There is no way I would have ever gotten through this without my family,” Daniel told People. “My family is everything to me and I feel like they saw me through this.”
Though she originally wanted to keep her illness private (she only told a small group of family and friends), Daniel – now healthy and cancer-free – realized her story could help others going through a similar situation.
“I want to let people know it is absolutely possible to get through something like this,” she says. “I want people to know they are not alone.”
As for the future, she’s thrilled to be back on The Game (BET, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT) and is looking forward to possibly starting a family of her own. (She was photographed last year in Miami with longtime boyfriend Keenan Ivory Wayans, but no photos have surfaced of the two since.)
Adds Daniel: “I am just trying to enjoy every day.”