Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; Australian Health Blogger's Cancer Claims Turned out to Be Just Lies Curing Cancer with Diet May Not Be the Young Woman's Only Tall Tale

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; Australian Health Blogger's Cancer Claims Turned out to Be Just Lies Curing Cancer with Diet May Not Be the Young Woman's Only Tall Tale

Article excerpt

Byline: Carole Fader

Times-Union readers want to know:

I have been following a health blog by Belle Gibson. Now I find out that she totally lied about beating terminal brain cancer by following one of her healthy diets. Did she really lie?

Gibson, 23, of Melbourne, Australia, created the alternative health blog and app TheWholePantry, which has been extremely popular. But she has come under fire after an April 23 interview with the Australian Women's Weekly in which she admitted that claims she cured terminal brain cancer by eating a healthy diet were all fabricated.

When asked if she has, or has ever had cancer, she told the weekly: "No. None of it's true.

"I don't want forgiveness. I just think [speaking out] was the responsible thing to do. Above anything, I would like people to say, 'OK, she's human.' "

Gibson has told several media outlets of a harsh childhood, where she was taking care of an autistic brother and the household at age 5. She blamed much of her fantasizing on her troubled upbringing, according to a report on 9news.com.au, an Australian television network. Her mother has denied those claims.

A brief article published with the Australian Women's Weekly story said that fact-checking the basic details of Gibson's claims had proved difficult, Snopes.com reported. But TheWholePantry is no longer on Facebook (there is, however, a Facebook site called The Whole Pantry and The Real Deal Marin, which advocates simple, flavorful and healthy cooking) and Gibson's Instagram account is no longer active, Snopes.com found. The app, however, is still for sale at $2.99 on the Google Play store.

Gibson rose to fame in the wellness community in 2013 after announcing on social media that she had healed malignant brain cancer by ignoring conventional medical techniques and only eating healthy whole foods for four years, according to the Telegraph of London.

She had millions of followers, with more than 200,000 on Instagram alone, and her the Whole Pantry app and book were best-sellers. She promised to donate a quarter of the proceeds from her app and book to various cancer charities, the Telegraph reported. …

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