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Diem Brown's Response to Newtown Tragedy: Be an Advocate for Change!

12/20/2012 at 11:30 AM EST

Diem Brown's Response to Newtown Tragedy: Be an Advocate for Change!
Diem Brown
Scott Gries for People.com
In her PEOPLE.com blog, Diem Brown, the Real World/Road Rules Challenge contestant recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time, opens up about her desire for a child and the ups and downs of cancer and fertility procedures.

Watching a loved one go through a "hardship" makes you feel helpless; you want to fix their problem, heal their pain, alleviate their stress.

So we send flowers, cards, gift baskets, etc., to let them know they are always on our minds. We also participate in Race for the Cure-type events to show them we want to "fix" the hardship they are facing. You may still feel helpless to heal a loved one's pain, but you have shown you are with them in their fight. You have become their advocate.

Another type of helpless feeling comes from a story on the news, like the devastatingly tragic, almost-unbearable-to-read shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.



You instantly feel pain and utter anguish inside as the inconceivable reality burns through your chest. You feel so deeply connected to the people affected by the devastation but you don't know how to help. You feel helpless.

My suggestion is ... become their advocate!

• Sign their national sympathy card online here.

• Donate to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund.

Or you can also become their advocate for change.

For this particular tragedy, the way to prevent or stop this from happening again is a heated debate. The main two sides I keep seeing on Facebook, Twitter or magazine covers involve the mental illness vs. gun control debate.

Whatever your stance may be about looking at the treatment of mental illness in this country or wanting to change certain gun control laws in this country ... take action and be an advocate for whatever change you are passionate about.

I became an advocate for patient's support because I felt so lost, confused and overwhelmed during my battles with cancer. I know this week's blog may seem a lil' "off topic," but I know firsthand how passion for a cause really does lead to helping people in ways you could never imagine!

"Take actions on your passions. Become an advocate!"

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