MTV’s reality television series The Challenge and an entertainment reporter Danielle Michelle Brown died on November 14, 2014 at the age of 32.
Brown was diagnosed with cancer for the third time in June 2014, but initially shared this information only with close friends.
In August 2014, while filming Battle of the Exes II in Panama, her eighth Challenge competition, Brown collapsed on set and was airlifted to New York where doctors performed emergency surgery.
Brown founded MedGift, a website that provides a gift registry for patients and support pages to both people experiencing illnesses and their caregivers.
She was a US army brat in Baumholder, Germany before her family settled in the United States.
Brown dated fellow Challenge castmember Chris “C.T.” Tamburello for over a year and a half after meeting on The Duel in 2006.
Brown credited Tamburello for playing a role in her remission recovery and giving her confidence.
The couple competed on the same team on The Gauntlet III and were featured on the MTV documentary show MADE, on which Brown aspired to learn how to salsa dance to regain her confidence.
Following their split, Brown and Tamburello competed on The Duel II as well as a team on Battle of the Exes, where they were the runner-ups in the final.
In 2012, her ovarian cancer returned. Brown delayed treatment to harvest eggs before undergoing surgery to remove her ovary and receiving chemotherapy treatments.
Dr. Drew Pinsky characterized the choice to delay treatment as “risky.” In 2013, Brown’s cancer went into remission.
Two weeks after her last chemotherapy, Brown went through her seventh Challenge season, Rivals II, because she was told by doctors during her second bout with cancer that “seeing 2013 was not that likely.” Her team finished in fourth place.
Born June 12, 1982 in Atlanta, Georgia, she originally auditioned for Real World but wasn’t chosen to be part of the show.
The producers called her for The Real World/Road Rules Challenge : Fresh Meat where she became the ninth woman to be eliminated from the program.
Her courage in her battle with cancer earned her an interview with Jane Skinner for Fox News. She was also invited to speak at the Step up Women’s Network in New York City.
Her story on fighting the big C was also published in the November 2006 issue of Glamour Magazine.
Through this experience, she became a role model for strength and perseverance.
Diem founded the non-profit, MedGift, which is inspired by her experiences as a patient. The organization is the first medical gift registry and is working to change the way the public views health and charity.
After going into remission in 2006, the cancer resurfaced in 2011. Diem went into remission again, until the cancer resurfaced again in 2014.
Best known for battling Ovarian Cancer twice on national television, Diem has become a correspondent for patients on The Doctors, Dr Drew, Makers, and Oprah’s Real Beauty.
Diem’s People Magazine weekly blog gained national attention when she documented her hair loss due to chemotherapy as well as her out spoken struggle with fertility desires.