updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET
•originally published 08/11/2013 AT 9:30 PM ET
In her first public appearance since boyfriend Cory Monteith’s July 13th death, Lea Michele thanked fans at Sunday night’s Teen Choice Awards for their love and support during “these very difficult past few weeks.”
“I promise that with your love, we’re going to get through this together,” Michele, 26, told the audience gathered at Los Angeles’s Gibson Amphitheatre. “He was very special to me and also to the world, and we were very lucky to witness his incredible talent, his handsome smile and his beautiful, beautiful heart.
“So whether you knew him personally or just as [his character] Finn Hudson, Cory reached out, and he became a part of all of our hearts and that’s where he’ll stay forever.”
“Cory was like a brother to us,” Amber Riley told the audience. “He was always ready to sign an autograph or take a picture with a fan, and he loves you Gleeks.”
Added costar Jenna Ushkowitz: “We know that Cory would have wanted us to dedicate this award to you guys.”
Fans of Monteith may make donations in his name to three charities that were especially important to him: Project Limelight Society, which exposes youth living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to the arts; Virgin Unite, founded to support entrepreneurial efforts to better the world; and