I don't wake up in tears anymore.
Every day it gets a little bit easier to cope with the loss of my best friend of 15 years, Diem Brown, who died of ovarian cancer this past November.
One of the promises we, Diem's family and friends, made, was to keep her patient advocacy work alive. That is why we were thrilled to participate in Cycle For Survival this weekend.
It's a national event, nine years running. Every dollar raised goes towards cancer research and treatment led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Our team was of course called, #DIEMSTRONG, arranged by our friend Danielle Larson (who deserves a special shout out because arranging ALL of Diem's friends coast to coast was no easy task). We were in great company with people such as Seth Meyers, using his star power to ride on the Equinox bikes and raise awareness. How could we not be touched by Perry Zimmerman, who is only 14 years old and a three-time cancer survivor?
Speaking of, we had our own badass on team #DIEMSTRONG: Ethan Zohn. Many of you know Ethan for being the winner of Survivor: Africa. Ethan is more than a survivor. He is a warrior who was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009. He relapsed in 2011 and by the grace of a drug that was created to save his life, Ethan has been in remission since Feb. 28, 2012.
Michael J. Le Brecht II
Ethan was Diem's dear friend. He spoke at her funeral and also spoke before our ride saying, "A little advice to those in the fight right now. Don't ever give up. Don't ever give up! Fight like hell and stay alive for as long as you can because there is hope just around the corner."
I promised I would not cry during the ride, but all bets were out the door when Diem's sister, Megan, who I now consider to be my sister, took to the mic to help Ethan and I get the "party" started.
In a powerful follow-up post, Megan wrote about D: "She is the music at Cycle for Survival. She's in the cackling laughter, the encouraging chants, the determined sweat on our foreheads, and even in the turquoise tutus we wear as we ride."
So, ride we did and we did it #DiemStrong.
Thank you to my E! family for all of the support for Diem. Thank you to all of you out there who keep sending us love and positivity.
Our Diem is surely dancing and flipping her long hair watching over us.
Learn more about Diem's life and legacy and find out how you can donate to a scholarship fund in her name right here