March 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm , by Rachel Shippy
When you hear of a 23-year old girl starting a gift registry, most would assume she must be getting married, right? Well for Diem Brown (of MTV fame), who founded MedGift at 23 while battling the effects of ovarian cancer, a registry was her answer to her loved ones’ ever-present question: “What can I do to help?” From there Medgift was born and is not only a registry, but also a resource and social networking site for anyone going through medical hardship. It’s difficult to ask someone for help with medical bills, or for a wheelchair or for a ride to treatment, so Diem’s site makes it easy for patients to create a profile of needs, and sponsors can look-up patients by name to help out. “No matter what the medical misfortune, the stress can be debilitating,” says Diem echoing the premise of her site. Beyond her vision for this growing support network, read on to see why Diem Brown is a Lady We Love.
1. What makes you a lady? My mom was Australian and being a lady was the most important thing to her, including even having tea time for us girls to teach us manners like always saying “pardon” instead of “what.” I think being a lady is about being strong, having integrity and never being the straw that breaks someone’s back (but rather the hand that pulls them up).
2. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? Salt and artificial sweetener. I know both are so bad for you but I can’t seem to kick the bad (yet tasty) habit!
3. What are 3 things on your Life List?
1. To meet Oprah 2. To become a mom 3.To get my passion, MedGift into every hospital around the United States (so if you are a hospital employee or know someone who is, let them know about Medgift and help your community benefit from this resource).
4. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Being able to teleport! I could go from my house, to work, or even to India in the blink of an eye — No traffic, no crowds, and no airport security. Plus, how cool was Quantum Leap?!
5. Who are ladies you admire?
I admire ladies who have changed the way we see the world! Oprah, for telling us it’s okay to express, understand and explore our feelings. Barbara Walters, for showing us you can work in a “man’s world” being strong, confident and intelligent while maintaining your femininity and elegance. And Laura Ziskin, for the work she’s done for cancer research through Stand Up To Cancer (all while undergoing her own cancer treatment).
October 19, 2010 at 9:34 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
Diem Brown captured America’s attention when she competed on MTV’s Real World, Road Rules Challenge soon after undergoing treatment for Stage II ovarian cancer. But while her bravery and bright personality made her beloved on MTV, she wasn’t always treated so kindly. It was while she was working as a broadcast journalist that she began to see the side effects of her chemotherapy, including hair loss and extreme weight loss. “I didn’t have any money, so I was wearing a $10 wig that I bought on Hollywood Boulevard,” Brown says, “And someone working on a red carpet told me that I was ‘physically offensive.’” It was then that Brown realized how a devastating illness can be made even worse without money. “I wanted a wig that looked real,” she said. “I didn’t want people looking at me and seeing a sick person. I didn’t want to look at me and see a sick person.”
When Brown’s friends began getting married and having children, she became familiar with gift registries—a way for a person to let their loved ones know exactly what they need or want. “My friends and family would say, ‘I feel so helpless—what can I do?’ I didn’t want to say, ‘Oh, give me money.’ But anytime you go to the hospital, it’s expensive. I got turned down twice for my chemo because I didn’t have the money.”
This became the impetus for Brown’s medical gift registry and social network, MedGift.com. Once patients register on the site, friends and family can donate directly to the hospital for medical procedures. They can post requests ranging from wigs or grocery gift cards to pet sitting or a ride to the hospital.
Brown says, “I felt like this was the reason I got sick—to come up with this idea. Creating a medical gift registry was my silver lining.” Visit MedGift.com for more information.