This season of “The Challenge: Rivals 2” was rougher, tougher and more drama-filled than ever, and there’s a lot to be learned from ‘The Challenge’ and its competitors, including Diem Brown, a strong young woman who beat ovarian cancer — for the second time — right before filming the show.
We recently sat down with Diem to chat about her time on ‘The Challenge,’ her real-life challenges, and her groundbreaking charity, MedGift.
MTV ACT: How was beating cancer for a second time different from the first, and what helped you make it through?
DIEM BROWN: It was scarier. Ovarian cancer doesn’t have a great survival rate as is, so getting it for a second time, I knew the odds were stacked against me. On the bright side, I already knew what to expect and certain parts of the process — like the chemo room — weren’t as intimidating. What helped me through it was believing and re-affirming myself that I would reach the finish line one day. I envisioned and believed in it. I also had frozen my eggs this time around, so I was imagining my little eggs cheering me on, rooting for me to survive.
ACT: How long after treatment did you film “Rivals 2,” and was it difficult making such a fast transition?
DIEM: I was only two weeks off of chemotherapy going into “Rivals 2.” While there, I had to inject myself with daily hormone shots and steroids. The whole process was physically and emotionally trying, but I felt like I needed it in some way — to prove to myself that I was healthy again.
ACT: You’ve spoken a lot about how losing your hair affected your confidence. What advice do you have for young men and women who feel insecure because of any aspect of their physical appearance?
What’s important [is] LIVING and fighting to LIVE. Everything else is secondary, and is maneuverable, so just try to keep your eyes on the finish line, and know that you will be able to clear every hurdle that’s thrown your way!
ACT: Tell us about your charity, MedGift, and how people can get involved.
DIEM: MedGift is like a wedding registry site, only for the sick and injured. I’ve been working on it since 2005, and on September 26th, we launched the site and added features that I know you will all love! MedGift is not just for cancer patients, it’s for anyone going through a hardship that seems too overwhelming to tackle alone. MS, Autism, car accidents, caring for the elderly, anything anyone anywhere needs a helping hand with. The site offers tools to help you and your loved ones navigate through hardships. From fundraising tools, to calendaring, to a support wall where you can update your friends and family on your progress, and your loved ones can shower you with love and encouragement in return.
We will soon be accepting applications for MedGift Ambassadors. If you want to help members of your community or campus going through hardships, please check out MedGift’s Ambassador Program application on MedGift.com.
ACT: What can viewers learn from “Rivals 2″?
DIEM: You learn so much through these shows. Yes, there is a ton of drama, but each person has a story they can share that helps you get a glimpse into their world and struggles. Being on “Rivals 2″ helped me find strength in one of my darkest times, and there really is a sense of family among all the craziness the games can bring out!
The “Rivals 2″ competition is steep, but as far as we’re concerned, Diem is already a winner! Follow the action links below to join Diem’s remarkable fight. And while you’re at it, watch the touching special below in which Diem talks to other girls who are cancer survivors.
+ Watch “Surviving Cancer With Diem Brown.”
Patient Gift Registries
Look into MedGift's registries to see if there's a way you can help, or register yourself or someone you know.
Diem's sentiment exactly.