Anti-Vaccination Australia Putting Infant Lives at Risk. (As usual.)

**Edited to add: this is NOT an April Fools Day joke. Even though I wish it was.**

Another day, another dangerous, wildly misinformed bunch of nonsense in the notorious Facebook group, Anti-Vaccination Australia. The confidence and ease with which these people risk the lives of their own, and other peoples’ children is truly appalling. 

Whooping cough is a deadly disease that has brought about the deaths of several Australian babies in the past few years. In the wake of Riley Hughes passing (which could have been prevented had his mum been given a whooping cough vaccination in her third trimester of pregnancy), state and territory governments across Australia funded third trimester whooping cough boosters for pregnant women. While it is too late for those babies lost to pertussis, this measure has, without a doubt, saved lives in this country. 

Cormit Avital was fortunate enough to be offered the whooping cough booster for her baby’s protection while she was pregnant. Unfortunately for her baby daughter Ava, Cormit refused the vaccine. Ava contracted whooping cough and spent a month in intensive care fighting for her life. 

Riley, Ava and all the other babies who have suffered and died from this terrible disease are testament to the importance of  the  maternal pertussis booster. 

Back to Anti-Vaccination Australia; Jessie is pregnant with twins, and at her ante-natal visit her doctor had the audacity to offer her this life saving measure for her babies:

“she proceeded to tell me my babies can get very very sick without it and that its better i get it done i still said no”

Doctor tried to push for me to get whopping cough vax today tried telling me that the vax is completely safe for pregnant women mind u im only 3 weeks off having my babies and previously said no at 28 weeks and she recommends i have it i said no thanks then she tried telling me that the vax does not havethe virus in it and that worst thatll happen is my arm may hurt and i may feel abit flat i still said no then she asked about when my twins are born am i going to get it for them when i said no she proceeded to tell me my babies can get very very sick without it and that its better i get it done i still said no”

Nikkli came along to comiserate. Her midwives are doing the same, so she is compromising her ante-natal care by not attending for check-ups:

“there are opinionated idiots every where 😅”

“At my antenatal app at 28 weeks I had the most pushy midwife ever. Said I needed to have it and I said I’d have to think about it, so she wrote in my pregnancy book that my next appointment I want to have it rah rah.
So I actually missed my antenatal app at 32 weeks and didn’t go back till 35 weeks. The midwife I had this visit asked me why I didn’t make my last appointment, I said because I didn’t want to have the vaccination and she said “that’s fine!” Without any hesitation. I felt so much better. Not everyone will push it on you, but there are opinionated idiots every where 😅”

Farah too. HAT-TRICK!

“got him off my back”

“This happened to me too at my visit today. The doctor told me i need to get my whooping cough vax and i said ‘no i told the other doctor i dont want it’ he said ‘ok’ then a few minutes later asked me ‘why I didnt want it’ i said ‘last time i had a bad reaction and i already had it 5 6 years ago with my first and i dont want to go through that again’ got him off my back but he did write on my card for it to be done next time!! 😠 why do i have to face this shit everytime i go to my antenatal visits”

Why, indeed. 

Of course the other helpful and knowledgeable members joined in to further support the declining of a life saving measure for the unborn babies: 

Natasha: “Well done!”

Allison: “Good for you mumma!! They are pushy, aren’t they! She was counting on that little bit extra in her pay. Ah well! Sucks to be her!!”

Lorna: “What a nightmare, being asked repeatedly every visit.”

Pene: “Omg lol….this makes me laugh….good on u for saying no continuously. …i have done the same in the past….”

Liane: Stay strong! “Well done 😊 pushy annoying doctors just wanting to line their pockets, bastards!”

Then there was more encouragement to leave the babies unprotected from Tamlyn: “Well done! Stand your ground

and Tristan: “dont just say NO. say ‘”I listen to doctors at the CDC like Dr William Thompson” who proved that vaccines are linked to autism. in other words, saying NO just makes the doctor think you are a “crazy person from the internet”. telling him facts makes him realize you are awake and intelligent and ..may even force him to check out Dr William Thompson and the movie VAXXED”. 

“dont just say NO. say ‘”I listen to doctors at the CDC like Dr William Thompson” “

There is more in the conversation, including advice for Jessie on birthing twins naturally and how to circumvent the hospital policy of performing a C-section for the safe delivery of twins, because, you know, these people know so much more than trained medical professional like obstetricians. 

Will these people enthusiastically giving advice and encouraging these three mothers in their decisions to put their babies lives at risk shoulder any responsibility if there is a tragic outcome here? I think we all know the answer to that. 

No they will not.

They showed this recently by turning on one of their own when a deliberately unvaccinated child from the Northern N.S.W Coast  was airlifted to a Brisbane ICU with tetanus. They dismissed the story as “manufactured,” accused the parents of being “actors,” of not tending to the child’s wound properly, along with accusing the hospital of causing the tetanus in the hospital setting. That is exactly what they did to Cormit Avital as well. They are all “love and light” until their beliefs are challenged, or until they are confronted with the consequences of those beliefs. 

Four babies are soon to be born without the benefit of protection from whooping cough. I do hope that luck is on their side. 

Abuse, Threats of Violence, Claims of Innocence, and Hypocrisy from the Anti-vaccine Camp.

I’ve been quiet of late because, well, I have a life, but the anti-vaxxers are outdoing themselves again and instead of taking to Twitter with multiple tweets I thought I’d collate my thoughts here. That won’t take long, I’m apparently one of the ‘sheeple’ and we are said to let the media do our thinking for us but I’ll give it a crack.

This week the Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessey hit back at the abuse she has received from anti-vaxxers, in newspaper stories and a video of her reading out messages they had sent her. Good on her, I admire her stance and strength on all things vaccination. Predictably, as they do when they have to look in the mirror at their own actions, the anti-vaxxers went into meltdown declaring themselves innocent, screeching “it wasn’t us” and “pro-vaxxers did this to discredit us” and demanding proof from the minister. One genius even observed that one message was 212 characters long and Twitter doesn’t facilitate messages of that length. Oh dear, someone please tell him that Twitter is only one means of electronic communication.

Then today, Anti-Vaccination Australia released a “press release” on their Facebook page again declaring their innocence. Of note is the location of which the release was posted; Perth, Western Australia.

AVA protest their innocence.

AVA protest their innocence.

I quote:

“Recent Media releases by Jill Hennessy have been full of yet to be founded accusations against the Australian community that chooses not to follow the Vaccine Schedule, either in part or entirely.

Our community, which does indeed span the globe in terms of networking, is equally disgusted by the vulgar and abusive messages and tweets that Ms Hennessy has presented. To be clear, we do not condone nor promote such behaviour in any part of the community.”

The Anti-Vaccination Australia moderator who resides in Perth is Shawn Dhu. This Shawn Dhu:

I took a look in the cesspit that is the Anti-Vaccination Australia group, and it took me 30 seconds to find these two posts encouraging people to send emails to Minister Hennessey. The second one is one that was read out in the video Minister Hennessey made.

"Go get her, evil bitch."

“Go get her, Evil bitch.”

Again, I quote:
“tell the evil bitch it’s time she faced the music and the australian public will know for sure now that they are hiding something by banning Vaxxed and it won’t matter anyway because there are thousands of us spreading right now that they’re hiding proof that MMR causes autism. Go get her! Evil bitch.”

Then, of course, there is another moderator encouraging people to post on a page set up to attack  Minister Hennessey: 

"Let her know how you feel."

“Let her know how you feel.”

 

There is more, but to be honest I CBF.

The most glaring piece of hypocrisy here is Shawn Dhu claiming that he and those he associates with are innocent of abuse and asking the Health Minister to “engage in a civil, full and frank debate” with them. I will leave you with Mr Dhu and his associates’ idea of such engagement:

UPDATE 24/10/16

What is is with anti-vaxxers and their endless supply of foot bullets? I just spent my whole commute home from work laughing at the screen shots from my automatic capture software. Being the kind person that I am, I’ll share them with you. First up was an official-looking legal demand:

14797335_10154626079533879_1740074120_n

A legal demand via Facebook post.

I’m sure she was acting on legal advice when she took to my facebook page as well. Here she makes unsupported claims, adds a couple of insults and thanks me for the “free publicity.” You’re welcome, I presume that means you are retracting the legal demand to remove the screen captures within 24 hours? Cheers. I’m a busy person and I don’t know if I could have gotten to it so quickly anyway.

 

Thank you for the publicity. Your'e welcome!

Thank you for the publicity.             

Wanting to make sure I see her change of heart, she posts another legal notice in Anti-Vaccination Australia for me.

14800906_10154626080118879_2112779981_n

Curiously, someone by a different name then came along and posted an identical message on my Facebook page. I have no idea how that happened unless someone was playing in the sock drawer and got their socks mixed up!

WRONG SOCK!

WRONG SOCK!

I don’t know if someone who can’t get her socks on right should be throwing out childish insults like “wet your pants” but anti-vaxxers aren’t known for logic or intelligence I suppose.

Here We Go Again. Credulous Media Enabling Another Cancer Disaster.

A story appeared in the Sunshine Coast Daily on the 14th April 2016 with the headline:   

“Cowgirl chooses alternative therapies to treat cancer.”

Carissa Gleeson is a 22 year old woman from Western Australia who was diagnosed with a synovial sarcoma in 2015. She has spent much of her time working on cattle stations and has a love of the land. Now she is channeling that passion into beating her cancer. 

What an awful shame that she appears to be seriously misguided. 

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 13.07.31.png

Carissa Gleeson

Just like Jess AinscoughCarissa was offered conventional treatment but has refused in favour of putting her faith in a cancer quack/ entrepreneur. Jess chose Gerson “Therapy”, while Carissa is following the lead of  Ty Bollinger and his documentary that includes the usual suspects including Mike Adams, Stanislaw Burzynski  and Joseph Mercola, just to name a few. Carissa’s cancer is a slow progressing one with similarities to the cancer that Jess had, so it will appear for some time that her “treatments” are working, until it becomes clear that they aren’t.

Her “treatment” regime which sounds all too familiar to those well versed in cancer quackery involves:

  • A change in diet
  • Cutting out all processed sugar  and other processed foods from her diet.
  • Only eating organic foods, including fresh vegetables grown in her own garden.
  • A program of supplements.
  • Drinking lots of alkaline water.
  • Cleansing / juice and water fasting.
  • Emotional healing.
  • Colonics.
  • Hyperbaric chamber.
  • Ozone therapy.
  • UV blood cleaning.
  • Bi carb.
  • PolyMVA.
  • Glutathione.
  • High dose intravenous Vitamin C.
  • Using an infrared sauna every day, “just to help flush things out of the body, and to move out the toxins.”

The first two things on that list would benefit the health of just about anyone. They won’t cure cancer though, not even when combined with the rest of the quackery on the list.

Also like in the case of Jess Ainscough, this pursuit of unproven quackery is putting a financial burden on the family. At the time of writing, Carissa’s gofundme fundraising page has received $13,320 of a $60,000 goal. Goodness knows how much she has spent so far, and how much she will need in the future to continue this nonsense. $60,000 is nothing to be sneezed at though, and it seems that is just a proportion of the costs of her  “treatments”. Quacks and alternative ~to~ medicine proponents tell us that cancer is big business. It sure is for some, certainly not for those they aim those comments at, but rather closer to home. 

Finally, and again, just like Jess Ainscough, if Carissa insists on following this path, she will succumb to the cancer and the quacks who encouraged her down the path of useless treatment while profiting off her will be nowhere to be seen. If we do hear from them it will be to place the blame of her death clearly at her own feet for not doing their treatments right, or not having the right, or positive enough attitude. Along with them not working, the other predictable outcome with alternative cancer “treatments”, is that when they don’t work,the patient is blamed.

It is as unethical as it is offensive. 

It remains to be seen whether the Australian media will fail this girl and the public by telling her story in the same way that it told the story of Jess Ainscough. Her story was told as one of a girl who miraculously cured her cancer, while she was slowly dying from an indolent cancer that was taking its expected course. The Sunshine Coast Daily is off to a bad start. I hope that they, and other media see the error of their ways on stories like these and report on them responsibly. 

The Abhorrent Cruelty of Anti-Vaxxers

I don’t think it is news to anyone that most anti-vaxxers are hateful, loathsome people. I’ve been swimming in their various cesspits for more than a few years now, but I saw something today that took my breath away. It … Continue reading

Paleo Pete’s “tribe” and the “over to you” stories they won’t tell you.

From the outset, I want to say that eating healthy food is a good thing. So is exercising and looking after yourself, and parts of the Pete Evans’ paleo program are doing exactly that. I applaud anyone who makes an effort to take care of themselves.

What I have a problem with, is Pete Evans elevating himself to the position of health guru. I have a problem with the all or nothing, obsessive, cult mentality of Pete’s paleo that could easily see people winding up with orthorexia nervosa and I have a problem with the carefully curated message from Pete’s paleo team as well, but more on that later.

Go Paleo, before you all die! Are porcelain veneers paleo?

Go Paleo, before you all die!

We have all seen the wonderful “over to you” anecdotes that Pete uses to promote his 10 week program on his Facebook page. There have been stories of people losing weight and feeling healthier, miraculous recoveries from health conditions ranging from irritable bowel syndrome to bipolar disorder, people ditching medications for serious illnesses, and even running marathons, but something has been missing. Unless every. single. person. who embarks on the program has a wonderful turnaround in health, there are anecdotes that we aren’t seeing.

That’s ok though, because like the helpful soul that I am, I have been observing the paleo “tribe” and collecting them! The range of complaints I have witnessed in the closed paleo tribe group is listed below, and although this list is not exhaustive, I think I have gathered a good collection of the woes of the paleo tribe.  I would have shared these with you on Pete’s page, but sadly I asked a question he didn’t like on there one day and got myself banned.

Many of the ailments listed below were reported by several “tribesters”.

  1. Headaches
  2. Rise in cholesterol
  3. Feeling tired with dull headache   

    Bad Headaches

    Bad Headaches

  4. Exhaustion, head and body aches
  5. Nausea
  6. Vomiting
  7. Diarrhoea
  8. Stomach cramps
  9. Acid reflux
  10. Insomnia
  11. Excess weight loss
  12. Night sweats
  13. Inability to concentrate or focus at work, during study or at home
  14. Feeling weak / no energy
  15. Afternoon stomach pains accompanied by nausea and not being able to eat
  16. Weepy and lack of energy     

    Insomnia

    Insomnia

  17. Tired for 5 weeks
  18. Feeling ‘really sick’
  19. Chemical taste in mouth
  20. Moody with short temper
  21. Cessation of period or erratic periods
  22. Feeling like constantly hung over
  23. Nose bleeds
  24. Adverse reaction to kombuccha – (person was so ill they wanted to call ambulance but couldn’t get to phone)
  25. Anxiety
  26. Cramps in calves
  27. Dry “splotchy” skin
  28. General feeling of unwell    

    Thinning hair with bald patches.

    Thinning hair with bald patches.

  29. Light headedness
  30. High BSL in type 2 diabetic
  31. Thinning hair with bald patches
  32. Sensitive teeth
  33. Constipation
  34. Eczema in a child
  35. Feeling too unwell to care for their children

And this one. This experience of a child in honour of an ideology deserves highlighting:

Child so hungry he steals food and cries because he is so hungry.

Child so hungry he steals food and cries because he is so hungry.

Not only are people complaining of the above ailments and giving each other all kinds of health advice on how to deal with them, there has been some outright scary health advice given in the group by “tribesters”. Like this one who advised the wife of a man with high blood pressure (175!) that it probably isn’t that high, and that a homeopath can help. I hate to think of the harm that years of untreated of high blood pressure has done to her own husband.

High blood pressure? No problem!

High blood pressure? No problem!

“Personally I question whether that is dangerously high. My husband is 67 and his BP is similar and has been for a few years now. The mainstream medicos want him on medication but he has been under a homoeopath for years who admits it is on the high side but not dangerous. My husband has avoided medications; he takes his blood pressure every morning and takes some homoeopathic remedies to keep it stable.”

Followed by other advice to try lavender. (not pictured)

“Try lavender look into it Lowers blood pressure”

Then along comes Alyx Lee, health expert (apparently) and chiropractor with health advice so far outside the scope of chiropractic, and a claim about chiropractic being proven to reduce blood pressure that is not supported by evidence. Why am I not surprised by a chiropractor giving rubbish advice on the Internet that has nothing to do with their own scope of practice? Perhaps a complaint should be filed with AHPRA.

Chiropractor advises on blood pressure.

Chiropractor advises on blood pressure.

Alyx: “CoQ10 , omega-3, hawthorn, vitamin C. ADDRESS STRESS FURTHER.Number one thing for an atypical high blood pressure patient. B Complex vitamins can help significantly with your body’s ability to COPE with stress EVEN if it’s mentally managed. Eating foods based on his blood type can also reduce stress on his system (whilst trying to advocate paleo). Check BP with your doctor first before doing anything!. Also, chiropractic care has been proven to reduce blood pressure. P.s I am a chiropractor and have experience behind my opinion.”

Anyway, I am pleased to say that some sensible people urged the woman to get her husband to a doctor ASAP, but examples like this show the dangers of unregistered and unregulated health gurus who shun evidence based medicine and lead their followers to believe that their way is the only way and the best for their health.

Looking a little closer at the paleo way of doing things raises alarms. The quick deletion of dissenting opinions on social media, the outright dismissal of criticism, while criticising actual trainned professionals is eerily familiar. Well, he did go to the same online ‘college of nutrition’ as Jessica Ainscough so they were bound to have come out with similar ideas and business models!

Pete criticises The Heart Foundation

Pete criticises The Heart Foundation

Paleo Pete goes out of his way to criticise food companies, the Dietician’s Association of Australia, The Heart Foundation and anyone else who either doesn’t agree with him, or criticises the restrictive paleo diet. It is often claimed that they are scared of losing money now that the “paleo tribe” is growing and shunning packaged foods for fresh alternatives. Its all about the money for them you see, not health. While poor persecuted Pete is just trying to improve the health of the world as a charitable act.

Oh wait… how many top selling paleo cookbooks does he have out now? Including the one that is so dangerous to babies that he had to self publish it electronically so people could buy it? Nah, I’m sure he doesn’t make a bucket of money selling books, surely not, because he just wants everyone to be healthy!

Bubba Yum Yum. Electronically published last week.

Bubba Yum Yum. Electronically published last week.

And the ‘tribe’. All those people who paid $99.00 to purchase access to The Paleo Way 10 Week Activation Program. Lets see, at the time of writing, there is 16,519 “tribesters” in the Facebook group attached to the program. At $99.00 each, that’s a tidy sum of $1,635,381 heading the way of Pete and his team. If only half of those people sign up to the follow up program at $49 each, that’s another $404,715.50, totaling $2,040,096.50.

So, based on my guesstimates, its fair to say that Paleo Pete & co are making an absolute killing from The Paleo Way 10 Week Activation Program and the follow up program alone. In excess of $2 million dollars, so its in their best interests to dismiss anyone who criticises paleo to keep the punters on board. But lets not worry about any of this, because look! LOOK OVER THERE! Its another “over to you” success story!

What money? My motivations are pure.

What money? My motivations are pure.

Edited to add: Due to feedback received today I have removed the names from most of the screen captures, although anyone who expects privacy in a group of 16,000+ strangers with no screening process for entry is a bit naive in my opinion.

Disclaimer: I do not work in the food industry, not is my income or livelihood dependant on anything to do with food, diets or health products. I do not get paid to write, nor do I make money from this blog, it is my hobby. If every person on the planet went paleo tomorrow it would not impact me one bit, so tribesters – when you try to explain away this blog post as “vested interests” or “someone threatened by paleo”, think again, and try to come up with some more original claims for a person who criticises your way of life, because the usual ones don’t apply. (Not that they apply to most other people they are applied to either).

Let This Be A Lesson

In this post, written in February 2014, I threw out a challenge to the media to dig a bit deeper and report on the actual story of Jessica Ainscough and her story of vegetable juices, coffee enemas and cancer survival. I wrote:

“And media. When is someone going to call her out and report on this situation for what it is instead of fawning over the beautiful young girl who drinks green smoothies? It is time someone in the media took a close look at this situation and exposed the cold hard facts.”

It would only have taken a scratch on the surface to reveal that all was not as it seemed, but no one bothered. The media reported her story, as told to them by Jess, without question. Until she died, then there was quite a few articles examining the futility of the treatments she chose to undertake. Too little too late though, that same media had already made into a minor celebrity as “the girl who cured her cancer”.

Over the past few weeks another ‘amazing cancer survivor’ Bell Gibson is taking a fall from grace with revelations that her cancer story appears to have been a lie. At the time of writing Ms Gibson is yet to provide evidence that she ever had brain cancer, and has suggested that the other four types of cancer that she claimed to have developed were ‘misdiagnosed’.
Penguin Books has pulled her “The Whole Pantry” recipe book off the shelves in Australia, and the app with the same name has been quietly removed from the app store. 

I like what Media Watch had to say on the issue:

“Now what’s remarkable about Belle’s remarkable story is that no one who swallowed it apparently bothered to check it was true.

Not the publishers at Penguin. Nor the chaps at Apple. Nor a parade of media admirers at The Sunday Telegraph, News.com.au, Cosmopolitan, Australian Women’s Health, Marie Claire, Elle, and Channel Seven’s Sunrise among others.

So when you see a story like this in future, whether you’re a journalist or a reader, it’s worth remembering this tip from the ABC’s health expert Dr Norman Swan, who told Media Watch: “The general rule in health and medical journalism is the same as any other form of journalism, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

Bell shares her story on Sunrise.

Bell shares her story on Sunrise.

I couldn’t have put it any better myself. I hope that media take stock and learn from this embarrasing situation. The consumers of Australian media deserve better. They deserve due dilligence in health reporting.   

Fan Mail From The Wellness World

It has been one hell of a week around here. When the news broke last Friday that Jess Ainscough had passed away from the cancer she attempted to cure with Gerson ‘Therapy’, I took a few moments to pause and reflect on what the response should be on this blog. I decided to acknowledge her passing with this brief post, but to give her loved ones  respect and space by not making comment on their loss at this time. We all know what it is like to lose someone we love, and I did not want to exacerbate their pain in any way.

But then, fans and followers of Jess started googling her name and found this blog in their thousands. I guess considering the amount of traffic that has been here this week,  the amount of unpleasant and nonsensical comments left is actually quite low. In any case, there has been too many of these comments to keep up with and moderate so I have numbered and collated them in one document for anyone who cares to spend their time reading the whole 25 pages of them, and I’ll share a few highlights here. One comment in particular sums up exactly how nefarious Gerson ‘Therapy’ is. Put simply, by ‘France ‘ (comment #98): if it doesn’t work, its your own fault.

“If it didn’t work for you, it is because you have done something wrong or because it is not working for you. Jess has stopped the ferson (sic) therapy 2 years before she passed away and used other natural treatments. The gerson therapy is powerful. It is helping a lot of people out there. It is dangerous when it is not done properly like you probably have. No need to blame the therapy for your own mistakes.”

The comments generally fitted into the following categories, and I have included some excerpts for your reading pleasure. You can use the numbers to locate the full comments in the document here.

1. Outright insults and abuse, some even included passive aggressive ‘concerns’ or ‘well wishes’ for my troubled self.

Bex: (6) “Cold, heartless person u are.”

Bec: (7) “You should be absolutely disgusted with yourself, people like u make me sick.”

Drmschafer: (8) “What a horrible human being… Your ignorance and hate are what’s wrong in this world.

John: (96) “you are a complete troll utter gutter crap fuck off with your big pharma deluded nonsense”

Sarah: (13) “My sympathy to you for the hurt you must be experiencing in your life causing you to want to take it out on others around you.”

And finally, Kate (15). She wins ‘best on ground’ for the insults section with this sterling effort:

“You are a Dog shit person.”

 

2. People who miss the point (being the spread, and profiting from health misinformation and the concealment of her actual condition), and think the issue is Jess’ freedom to make her own personal medical decisions.

Deborah (31) “Last time i checked Australia was a democracy were people are free to take whatever medical journey they choose. “

Nichola (32) “Jess exercised her right to choice. To judge this is absurd. “

Cat: (38) “Why the outrage – are we a democratic society – do we not have choices available to us? Why vilify someone for their medical choices?…”

Kate (39) “Honestly how dare anyone judge Jess and her choices…. She had every right to make choices for her body and her life.”

 

3. People who thought Jess had never made any claims about being in the process of curing, or having cured herself.

I moderated most of those through and responded with a link to this post detailing all the instances I could be bothered finding of her making such claims.

4. Fans of alternatives to medicine or those with  anecdotes about cancer ‘cures’.

Jim: (30) “…people die from cancer. Even people who choose only conventional treatment – thousands die undergoing medical treatment for cancer just as they do with natural therapies. This is not an excuse to discredit natural therapies. There is a place for both natural and conventional treatments in cancer.”

Grahame (34) “Alternative therapies do work but it’s not a magic bullet for every case.”

Katie (44) “Nutrition CAN reverse many cancers and truly has. I have no experience with the Gerson therapy, but my aunt cleared cervical cancer that threatened to take her cervix and uterus in 1990 by eating a raw vegan diet, taking supplements, quitting smoking, quitting caffeine etc.”

 

5. People wanting to tell me how unsuccessful or bad conventional treatment is, how evil doctors and pharmaceutical companies are.

Mike (37) ” Ive stopped my melanoma with quakery… open your eyes to GP system and Big Pharma..you are blind to death by chemicals….”

Gisele (50) “Right, because every cancer patient treated with chemotherapy did survive… It is sickening that people prefer to throw a chemical bomb into their body in the hope to stay alive… CHEMICALS!”

Anon (61) ‘I don’t want to knock doctors here – I believe they truly want the best for their patients but at the end of the day they are obsequious to the drug companies who peddle chemicals to treat cancer. Can’t make money from a carrot juice can you? So there’s no incentive for them to promote it or test it? You can’t blame them either, they have shareholders who need a return – that’s just way the world works.”

Elk (78) “Why not pick on the non successful Chemo, Surgery and Radiation treatments which only serve greedy multi-national pharmaceutical corporations and radiotherapy corporates who make huge profits while patients who choose these treatments suffer terrible side effects. Sadly the medical establishments dont want to know about alternative treatments and instead pander to greed when it comes to cancer.”

B.D (93) “for those of you who think the Oncologists and Surgeons have all the answers and have your best interest at heart, I hope you never have to find out how foolish you are.”

 

Then there was Michael (46) who simply asked “Rosalie, who pays you?”

Because I couldn’t possibly have an opinion without someone telling me what it is and paying me to express it. Right?

And when I failed to moderate all this nonsense through, then came the cries of “CENSORSHIP!”

Pomona (55-59) “I bet you don’t publish my comments ! You appear to only publish those comments that are in line with your ‘ideal’ world & agenda.”

“Just curious ???? Where’s the comment I posted half an hour ago ????? Didn’t you like it ??????

I guess It’s too controversial ,its SAD as too many people are afraid to talk about what I just commented on (shame I wasted my Sunday afternoon writing to you). Please post it ! I’m sharing some very important TRUTHS !”

Cayley (73) “wow you are just as selective with with comments you publish – and you cpmpain to Jess about deleting yours. Seriously this is not cool. Dont you have the guts to publish my comment because you know its the truth.”

Toni (75) “Interesting how comments against Rosalies beliefs are not showing…”

I had to chose an overall winner, I think the prize would go to Sarah (42) for her armchair psychiatry. Enjoy:

“…the explanation for these people’s apparent complete lack of compassion toward another human being that has made the most sense to me is the research brought forward by leading psychologists and the National Institute of mental health. Having studied psychopathy in depth, they claim to have come to the conclusion 1 in 100 people have psychopathic, sociopathic tendencies. This can be as simple as an inability to feel empathy for others.

If you research these tendencies, it begins to make sense how the majority of us feel a deep sadness for the loss of Jess and an immense compassion her family, and others, seemingly a small minority, display a complete lack of empathy instead choosing to cause further harm. We cannot understand how they see no problem with their behavior however we don’t know that they have the capacity to feel this compassion. It makes it easier not to take it so personally. People with these tendencies have brains that are wired differently. they don’t know what they don’t have the capacity to feel. This post is not intended to cause offence, it is presented for consideration of a very real problem. The concern is the damage inflicted by these people in our communities as demonstrated by pages such as this. …”

 

So these folks are the kind of folks who watched Jess waste what time she had left on this earth following restrictive diets and pointless rituals. They cheered her on in their smug, superior, ‘knowledge’ that they all knew better than science and medicine, thinking she was infallible due to this superior ‘knowledge’. What they actually did was enabled and encouraged a young woman to squander the only chance she had. Jess may have made different choices if she didn’t have legions of google ‘researchers’ wellness warriors cheering on her every foolish utterance. She may have made the same choices. We don’t know.

What we do know is that the wellness industry isn’t quite as full of positive, vibrant, healthy souls full of love and light as they would have us think. The mail received here in the past week is evidence of that.

Even more predictable is they way The Gerson Institute washed their hands of her with this tweet.

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They took $5,500 per week, for three weeks to host Jess at their institute and convince her that she could  cure her cancer with their ridiculous regime. They used her in publicity and she raved about them endlessly, no doubt raising their profile in Australia. Just like all health charlatans though, once it became apparent their quackery doesn’t work they pulled out the tried and tested method of blaming the victim. These people have blood on their hands, but most certainly no conscience weighing them down.

 

Edited to add: The Gerson Institute have issued a defence of their therapy tribute to Jess. Apparentley their ‘therapy’ isn’t a cure now, and it “can’t save everyone”. But they think it is important that people are free to chose pointless, expensive ‘treatments’ that won’t help them. Yup. No conscience at all. (Thanks to Alice for the tip).

Jessica Ainscough passed away 26th February 2015

This evening, Jessica Ainscough’s partner informed her followers that she passed away on the 26th of February by sending out this notification:

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I know many people will have a lot to say about her passing, but please, lets just pause and spare a thought for her family, friends and those who loved her. There will be a time for discussion about Gerson “therapy” and other details, I don’t think it is now.

My thoughts are with those who loved Jess and are hurting right now. 

Rosalie.

 

EDITED TO ADD:

To all the fans of Jess who have stopped by to share their thoughtful input, love and light,  vitriol and insults, you have now been published in this post. 

Anti-Vaccine Campaigners Take Heed: Australia Will Not Tolerate You.

It’s been a bad week for anti-vaxxers.

After the upcoming Australian tour of American osteopath and anti-vaccine campaigner Sherri Tenpenny was leaked by opponents, Australians were outraged. We don’t tolerate anti-vaccine campaigners too well down here; see the destruction of the Australian Vaccination – Skeptics Network (AV-SN) for evidence of that. The good folk at Stop the Australian (anti) Vaccination Network (SAVN) have worked tirelessly for years to put a stop to the misinformation and financial shenanigans of the AV-SN and by all appearances their work is done. I am assured that they are ready to continue their good work should the zombie that is the AV-SN rear its ugly head again, but even Meryl Dorey admits that membership (or, financial support from supportive parties, once a large proportion of the AV-SN’s income), is no longer their focus. Could it be that Ms Dorey knows that the AV-SN is so on the nose that even she accepts that their support base has been all but wiped out by the exposure that SAVN wrought down on them?

Anyway, I digress. Sherri Tenpenny is an American osteopathic physician who was raised unvaccinated by her anti-vaccine parents and missed the whole third grade of her schooling due to vaccine preventable and other illnesses. It’s a shame she didn’t learn about science, evidence and the peer review process in her training, but then again, anti-vaccinationism is more like a religion than a position a person arrives at via science and evidence. It is a position anti-vaxxers hold on to ferociously despite the mountains of good evidence that proves them wrong. They don’t care about evidence, they only care about their position. Ms Tenpenny definitely fits this mold and holds some truly bizarre beliefs about vaccines. Reasonable Hank provides some insight into Ms Tenpenny and the tour here

Ms Tenpenny keeps good company.
Ms Tenpenny keeps good company.

Once news of her visit down here was leaked, SAVN and the pro-vaccine community swung into action. Letters have been written to ministers requesting her visa be disallowed and to venues asking they reconsider hosting the anti-vaccine events. Then the media got wind of the campaign and it was all down hill from there for Tenpenny and the organiser, Stephanie Messenger. Ms Messenger holds equally bizarre beliefs about vaccination and is the author of several idiotic children’s books including “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles”. Reasonable Hank collated all the media coverage here and you might find the Diluted Thinking investigation of the businesses / charities linked to the tour interesting as well. At the time of writing the media coverage count sits at 32 news items, none of it has been positive for the anti-vaccine campaigners. 

At this stage, six event bookings at five venues have been canceled by venue management, two venues have not commented, and Rydges Hotels are citing “freedom of speech” as their reason to honor their booking. This wont end well for Rydges, you can contact them here to share your thoughts on their stance. It has been confirmed that the venues were misled about the nature of the events, with the bookings being made by a “charity” of Stephanie Messenger’s called “Get Rid of SIDS Project Inc”. This “charity” is set up to “promote the prevention or the control of diseases in human beings”. I can find little information about the activities of this “charity” except that they sell cot mattress covers telling parents they prevent SIDS. That’s a whole other issue, and considering that Ms Messenger asserts on her website that “SIDS in Australia mostly happens at 2, 4 and 6 months – some will definitely be vaccination deaths!”, I hate to think what this “charity’s” activities actually involve. 

Ms Tenpenny, Ms Messenger and the rest of the anti-vaccine community have learned something they should have already known, and they have learned it the hard way. Australia will not take their nonsense lying down. Australians will tackle them and their dangerous misinformation head on. We don’t like people lying to parents for profit or endangering children. Anti-vaccine campaigners will never have it easy in this country. Take heed.

Now, who better than grumpy cat to have the final word for this post?

No welcome mat for anti-vax campaigners in Australia.
No welcome mat for anti-vax campaigners in Australia.

Updated to add: Ms Tenpenny’s tour of Australia was canceled, due to the backlash against her and the venues planning to host her. Australia stood tall and said “No you don’t, not here.” I couldn’t be more proud of the way the community swung into action on this. Well done to all involved, particularly SAVN  for taking the lead, and having set a previous example of how to deal with anti-vaccine campaigners by their excellent work dismantling the Australian Vaccination – Skeptics Network.