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A Tribute to Diem Brown from Katie Couric

Posted on November 21, 2014, 3:20 AM

Ethan Zohn, a friend and colleague in the movement to end cancer, read the following note from Katie Couric at the service.

‘Diem lived her life with such passion and strength. Her aspirations to be a journalist took a different turn with her cancer diagnosis…but she was incredibly brave—waging her fight publically over the nine years she lived with the disease.  Journalism, at its core, is about performing a public service – conveying information that helps people be better informed.  Diem let people in, writing about how cancer affected her, sharing an intensely intimate part of her life.  She made an enormous contribution, allowing so many people to see her—up close and personal—as one of the faces of cancer.

A tireless ambassador for Stand Up To Cancer, Diem brought her trademark spunk and spirit to everything she did with us.

Who can forget her rock star look on the red carpet at our 2012 telecast, with half of her head buzzed and the word “FIGHT” defiantly shaved into it?

Diem Brown

Or tweeting highlights like the “SU2C moments” at major league baseball games, when players and fans alike hold placards with the names of loved ones they are standing up for?

Diem Brown

And even our kind of kooky “ugly sweater” holiday fundraising campaign ...Diem didn’t miss an opportunity to help spread the word that each and every one of us can make a difference in this fight.

Ugly Sweater

The way Diem’s struggle motivated her to help others dealing with serious illnesses is so inspiring, too. Creating MedGift was a brilliantly compassionate response to her own experience with the endless challenges cancer presents: physically, emotionally, and financially. 

She understood how the smallest gesture can make a profound difference to someone in need, and it speaks volumes about Diem that she never wanted anyone in a situation like hers to feel alone.

People need to be reminded of how insidious a disease cancer is…the horrifying sense of betrayal patients feel knowing that their own bodies have, in essence, turned on them.

Those heartbreaking tweets Diem sent out in her last days underscore the importance of supporting research on new and better therapies…

So that in the future, scientists will have provided additional treatment options for people like Diem, and doctors won’t feel like there’s nowhere left to turn. 

Everyone at SU2C has been deeply affected by Diem’s honesty, openness and courage…We’re so grateful that she chose to be part of our movement, and we know her death is a devastating loss for every person in this church.

To honor her memory, we’ll continue to Stand Up until the day that cancer no longer takes the lives of beautiful, vibrant people like Diem Brown. 

With profound sympathy, Katie’


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