Diem Brown

Advocate | 2016

Diem Brown competed in six seasons of MTV’s “The Challenge,” but the bravest challenge she undertook—and met with unwavering grace and grit—was sharing her fight with ovarian cancer with the show’s millions of viewers.

Diem, diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 25, made her first appearance on the reality show in 2006 and quickly became a fan favorite. In an inspirational act for young adult cancer patients and one of the show’s most memorable moments, during a swimming challenge Diem removed her wig, which hid her hair loss from chemotherapy. She emerged from the water triumphant.

In addition, Diem hosted an MTV special, “Surviving Cancer,” participated in the first “Stand Up To Cancer” telethon, blogged about her second recurrence of ovarian cancer in 2012, and chronicled her journey in real time to her 400,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram. She also created MedGift.com, an online support registry for patients and caregivers to list the kinds of assistance they may need, from financial to help grocery shopping.

In June 2014, Diem learned that her cancer had returned. Undaunted, she went ahead in August with filming the next installment of “The Challenge.” Diem lost her battle with cancer in November 2014. With her final words on the show, she continued to inspire: “Life can change in two seconds, so you can’t keep on waiting. If you keep on waiting, it’s gone.”

Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.

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