We have some sad news to report from the world of reality TV as The Challenge‘s Diem Brown, who has very publicly survived two separate battles with ovarian cancer, has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Diem is currently in the ICU at a New York City hospital in stable condition after multiple surgeries to remove tumors discovered after she collapsed during filming of a reality show abroad.
“Doctors found one tumor blocking her colon completely so they had to do emergency surgery that evening to remove the blockage,” Diem’s sister Megan reveals to People. “They were able to remove the mass, but once they were inside they found out there were multiple tumors.”
The first surgery caused an infection and Diem was forced to have another procedure just three days later. “The second surgery was two steps back,” Megan says. “But hopefully in the next few weeks she’ll be well enough to start chemo.”
So how is Diem doing? “She’s in and out,” Megan says. “She’s on a lot of medication but every once and awhile you’ll see her spirit, the light back in her eyes.”
MTV viewers were first introduced to 25-year-old Diem when she appeared on the 12th season of MTV’s The Challenge in 2006, then called Real World/Road Rules Challenge. The season was titled “Fresh Meat” because it featured 12 contestants who had not previously appeared on Real World or Road Rules, including Diem.
Diem shocked viewers and her fellow contestants when she revealed well into the season that just three weeks before filming began she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She didn’t want to reveal her diagnosis at the beginning because she didn’t want special treatment.
Click here to see a video clip that includes Diem’s appearance on “Fresh Meat” that was put together after Diem agreed to allow one of the show’s producers to follow her journey after the show. “One of the producers on ‘Fresh Meat’ asked me at the wrap party if she could follow me through my treatment for Ovarian Cancer,” Diem says. “I agreed and it was the best decision I have ever made. It’s rough to watch at times, but kind of cool to see that if you keep pushing through your worst times end up being your greatest moments of faith.”
(If you needed a list of reasons to love Diem Brown, then rabid The Challenge fan The Ashley has you covered!)
Diem’s ovarian cancer returned in 2012 and she shared her second treatment journey via numerous outlets and forums, including a blog on People that included videos like this one:
Diem also participated in an MTV online special “Surviving Cancer” in which she talked with other cancer survivors and answered questions:
Megan says of her sister, “she’s such a fighter. She’s tough as nails.” She adds, “This is the third time she’s had to deal with this and she’s ready for it. It’s definitely an uphill battle, but I know if anybody can do it it’s her.”
Diem’s family has created an online support page for Diem on MedGift, an organization created by Diem to provide gifts for those suffering from serious illness. “She’s had an unbelievable outpouring of support,” Megan says. “People will text me and I’ll read her their messages while she’s in bed.”