They came up with plans to prevent suicide and tackle climate change. Then on Day 4 of the reality TV challenge came a final twist. They chose between the two boys who could save the world.
Nia is a 26-year-old mother of four-and-a-half years who was on the verge of committing suicide. The reality TV star, who only had a couple of hours to weigh alternative courses of action before she was to fly to her hometown of Chicago to receive an award, had two options: take her own life or play in the game, in which contestants must travel to other continents and solve a global challenge to save the world from a coming climate disaster.
In this version of the game, contestants are not only competing to save the planet, they are also competing against each other to do it. In the end, the two boys who won, Justin and Jack, would both be standing on a green Earth.
Nia, who has long struggled with depression and bipolar disorder, had been diagnosed a few months earlier, and was on her way to suicide. But in the last few months, she had been through so much to come this far. She had quit her job as a teacher just to raise money for the challenge, and she had been forced to learn a totally new way of communicating with her children. She had been forced to leave behind a life at home to pursue one of hope and possibility, and she had learned that there was more to her dreams than she knew.
She had been on a mission from the start.
“She’s such an amazing person inside and outside,” said her friend, Emily, who has been a fierce advocate for Nia. “Not only is she a beautiful and talented woman, she’s extremely smart. But that’s a combination of her mind and her heart. She has a heart that really loves people so much.
“The only thing I can compare her to is the way she would play in the game. She has such a heart and a brain and a soul. She’s such a fierce fighter.”
It began with a Facebook post.