Smith, 69, attended the Farrah Fawcett Foundation Presents First Annual Tex-Mex Fiesta Benefitting Stand Up to Cancer in Los Angeles on Wednesday, when she was honored with the Shining Star Award.
“It’s really Farrah’s honor. You know we’re here for Farrah she did this all in perhaps the worst time of her life,” Smith told PEOPLE in reference to her former Charlie’s Angels costar, who established the foundation in 2007 after being diagnosed with cancer, which she died from two years later at age 62.
“She lived beyond herself and paved the way for research, testing, vaccinations,” continued Smith, adding that Fawcett’s legacy lives on through her foundation and her loved ones. “We make sure because we were there every step of the way when she was going through all this. She had the foresight to live beyond herself.”
Smith, who has battled breast cancer herself, got emotional when asked about her fondest memory of Fawcett, saying there are “so many.”
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Alana Stewart, president and CEO of the foundation, also commemorated the actress, who was her close friend.
“What I learned from Farrah was to appreciate every moment that you’re alive and healthy and cherish the people you love because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Stewart, 70, told reporters at the event, which boasted a Tex-Mex theme in honor of the late star’s Texas background.
Stewart’s ex-husband George Hamilton, 76, also remembered Fawcett and her “amazing sense of humor.”
Friendly exes Hamilton and Stewart debuted their reality show, Stewarts & Hamiltons this summer on E!, and Stewart said on one episode that she had wanted to get back together with her ex-husband.
“He didn’t really say no,” the reality star said Wednesday night. “It’s always up in the air with me and George. We love each other. Sometimes I think it’s best just to leave it the way we are, but you know, you never know what happens in life.”