Source: Think Progress
A popular Australian wellness blogger who rose to fame after claiming she overcome several different types of cancer with a healthy lifestyle alone is now acknowledging that her career is built on a false premise, and she never had cancer in the first place.
Belle Gibson’s holistic living brand centers on her dramatic story about how she tackled her personal medical history. Gibson claimed that, after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2009 and given just a few weeks to live, she withdrew from chemotherapy and beat the cancer with the help of “healing foods.” She told reporters that she believed her health issues — which she said also included subsequent diagnoses for cancers of the liver, uterus, spleen, and blood — stemmed from a bad reaction she had to Gardasil, the vaccine that protects against cervical cancer.
Gibson amassed somewhat of a social media empire. Over the past several years, she has gained hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, designed a popular recipe app that was selected to be one of the first few apps featured on the Apple Watch, and landed several book deals. The December 2014 issue of ELLE Australia dubbed Gibson “The Most Inspiring Woman You’ve Met This Year.” Her cookbook, Whole Pantry, was set to be released in the U.S. and U.K. this month.
But when an Australian newspaper started calling Gibson’s medical history into question, her story quickly unraveled. First, she claimed she had been misdiagnosed with liver, uterus, spleen, and blood cancers, but maintained that she definitely had terminal brain cancer at one point. Then, she suggested her brain cancer diagnosis was perhaps a medical error. Eventually, she admitted that none of it was true, and said her “troubled childhood” may have led her to lie about her condition…
Controversy has swirled around Gibson’s unconventional ideas about cancer for quite some time. Before her admission this week, however, she maintained that her critics were being unfair to her. “It is unfortunate someone [is] trying to discredit the natural healing path I am on,” she posted on Facebook in 2013. “I have been healing a severe and malignant brain cancer for the past few years with natural medicine, Gerson therapy and foods. It is working for me.”
…The publishing company that sold Whole Pantry, Phas acknowledged that it didn’t fully fact check Gibson’s medical history and has moved to pull her cookbook from the shelves. Apple has also removed her app from the Apple Watch showcase.