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The Real World/Road Rules Challenge franchise has become known for its recognizable and fan-favorite cast of returning favorites. Some competitors have even made a living and established a career based on their appearances on the MTV reality competition show.
But one of the most amazing competitors that has ever been on the show was Diem Brown.
Diem appeared on seven seasons of The Challenge, and was filming her eighth appearance on the upcoming season in Panama when she collapsed on set. Diem had been battling ovarian cancer since her diagnosis in 2003; she passed away today at age 32.
One of the reasons Diem remains to be one of the greatest competitors to ever appear on The Challenge is because she was motivated to go on the show by more than just winning the prize money. In fact, she had much more inspirational motivations.
Take a look back on Diem's most inspirational moments on The Challenge:
Competing on The Challenge: Fresh Meat
Brown joined The Challenge: Fresh Meat just three weeks after first getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She kept her diagnosis a secret from her co-stars at first so she wouldn't get special treatment, intent on relying on her own strength and skill to make it through the competition. But she also made sure to use the reality competition as a platform to raise awareness for people living with cancer.
Taking off her wig on The Duel
After going through chemotherapy, Diem admitted that she was embarrassed to show her bald head on TV during The Duel. But when she saw the support from her on-again-off-again boyfriend Chris "CT" Tamburello and the rest of her castmates, she took her wig off to compete in a swimming challenge. It was an empowering moment that showed she could be brave and strong and vulnerable all at the same time, and it was a hugely important moment for viewers to see that there is no shame in showing off that you are battling cancer. Plus, she even won that challenge, showing she had no reason to be self-conscious in the first place.
Competing on The Challenge: Rivals II
After suffering a relapse in 2013, Diem was only two weeks out of chemotherapy when she began competing on The Challenge: Rivals II. "I was told I wasn't going to see the next year," Diem said. "But you realize very quickly that if you don't let things crush you, you become stronger."
Calling out MTV during The Challenge: Rivals II reunion
During the reunion show after The Challenge: Rivals II ended, Brown made sure to call out the network for how the season was edited and how little they showed her story of competing so soon after chemo. She was so frustrated with MTV that she even said that season would be her last appearance on the show. "I was very vocal about being very worried about competing on the show so fresh off [chemotherapy]," she said, "but at the same time I felt like it was a story that should be told for other people going through it. I wanted to share that story. I'm sad they didn't show that story. But that was something that was very important to me, and, to be honest, that's the reason why I'm not doing another one."
She would then go on to begin competing for an eighth season (which has not yet aired), but did not finish out her appearance due to health complications.
Her relationship with CT
Diem and fellow Challenge vet CT had a roller coaster relationship, and even though the couple had broken up at the time of her death, CT still visited Brown during her final hospital stay, and even posted his support for her and MedGift on Instagram. And even though fans loved to see them together on the show—Diem brought out CT's sweet side while CT helped Diem feel comfortable in her skin after chemo—it was always such an inspiration to see Diem end things with CT and compete on her own, because we all know CT wasn't always the best guy for her. We loved seeing her strong, independent and fierce.
A donation page on MedGift.com, which Brown had founded with the help of her friends and family, has been setup to bring awareness to her disease as well as raise funds to help pay her medical bills.