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. 

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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. 

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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. 

An Open Letter to the Wellness Warrior

It is becoming clearer every day that your cancer has taken its expected course, (give or take a year or so, Drs can’t be exact), in spite of all your time at the Gerson retreat and the promises of Gerson ‘Therapy’. In spite of the arduous juicing and organic dietary regime, the coffee enemas ‘removing toxins’ from your body, all the natural ‘therapies’, the powers of your ‘medical intuitive’ all your hard emotional and spiritual work, self-love and self-focus. It appears that you were lied to and misled by the very people you turned to for ‘care’. The people who convinced you that if you only do everything right, you will be cured. It also appears that the only ones who were ever honest with you were your real, medical doctors, and what they predicted is currently playing out.

In the beginning you publicly shared everything about your condition, your ‘treatment’, your daily routine. It seemed like nothing was off limits. Making and publishing a video demonstrating how you do coffee enemas made a lot of us cringe, but not you. Your readers were treated to daily updates and stories of your chosen path and how well it was working. Now that things have taken a turn for the worse, you have retreated with little explanation, stopped the information flow to those same readers who cheered you on, supported you, purchased your products and essentially have made your current lifestyle possible. They have been unceremoniously shut out and dumped from your journey now that reality is setting in and life is no longer sunshine and roses.

cat not speaking

You have a unique and important opportunity right now. You can admit to your followers, and those you have influenced to follow your path that you were lied to, and taken advantage of by dishonest cancer entrepreneurs when you were at your most vulnerable. You have the opportunity to speak to people with cancer, in your situation, and tell them that their cancer is not their fault for living an impure life or not being positive enough. You can tell them that having cancer that progresses it is not their fault for not eating exactly right, or thinking the right thoughts. You have the opportunity to use your influential platform to warn people that there are those who will take advantage of them. That just because conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers, doesn’t mean that alternative methods will work.

The choice is yours, keep trying to project the lie, keep misleading your followers and blame yourself for not doing all the things right, or admit that cancer is a bastard. It is not a message or a blessing, it is a disease and its aim is to kill people.

What do you want your legacy to be? The girl who deluded herself and as a result, misled thousands of people – some vulnerable cancer patients themselves, until the bitter end? Or the girl who stood up and was bravely honest. The girl who spoke out about how unscrupulous people took advantage of her vulnerability, and saved others from going through the same?

How not to do transparency. (Includes update on 26/09/2014)

This gallery contains 4 photos.

On February 24th this year Jess Ainscough wrote a blog post trying to defend her actions of deliberately misleading her followers about her condition. She admitted that ‘Gerson Therapy’  had not cured her cancer, however, she stopped short of explaining her … Continue reading

Transparency, Misquotes and False Conclusions.

Last week The ‘Wellness Warrior’ wrote a blog post which contained the following statements:

” it concerns me that many people who are my target audience are being presented with a false account of the state of my health, who I am and what I’m about.”

and;

“I’ve never claimed to have cured myself (if you’ve seen this written online or in the media it’s because I have often been misquoted – these kinds of statements are false conclusions made by the author, not misleading information from me).”

I’m not sure what happened here then:

Jess cure 1

Thanks so much guys! Dani, the book is about natural health and healing, living a Wellness Warrior lifestyle and how I cured my own cancer. I can’t wait until its done. x

jess cancer 22

If you happen to pick up the paper today, flip to the Body + Soul lift out and check out a story about a young girl beating cancer with food – aka ME!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

she also said; “I need to increase the transparency I have with my tribe. If you ever looked at my website for anything other than ways to condemn me, you would see that authenticity is my highest value.”

In a token effort to address the issue of being misquoted, sometime between then and now Jess or someone on her team managed to sneak a small but still kind of misleading correction into this article in the Sydney Morning Herald. The description of her condition in the article has been changed from “in remission” to “in recovery mode” without any clarification. A correction brought about by pressure from outside no doubt, but its a start. 

I’ve been waiting for her to be more transparent with her ‘tribe’ since that blog post. I’m sure she is going to stop claiming that the issue with her arm is lymphedema, or a ‘flare up’ (whatever that means) and tell her ‘tribe’ about the worsening condition of her arm and the progression of the cancer in it any day now. While I’ve been waiting I’ve been looking at articles where she has been ‘misquoted’ or where ‘false conclusions have been made by the author’, and I’ve made a list of them. By the way, do you like how she threw most of the people who have ever written about her right in the path of a bus there? ‘False conclusions made by authors.’ THWACK! That was the bus hitting you guys for writing about her without seeing through her inferences and lies by omission. Although, writing about the reality of the situation earns one the label of ‘bully’, so it’s a no win situation. 

Before we move on to the list, it is worth reiterating here that Jess’ cancer, Epithelioid Sarcoma is a slow growing cancer and the fact that she is alive today is unremarkable. In fact, if she is still alive ten years post diagnosis that will be unremarkable too. It is even conceivable with such an indolent cancer that Jess will still be alive 15 years post diagnosis. (I actually hope she is, I don’t wish her to die young.) However, the length of her life will be a result of the type of cancer she has and not that of juices and coffee enemas. I’d also like to say that should Jess ever be able to produce evidence from a medical oncologist that she is free of cancer, be it next month or in 15 years, I will write RETRACTED all over the blog posts about her and issue a formal apology.

"Oh no! What have they found?"

“Oh no! What have they found?”

So here is my list. These are the ‘misquotes’ and ‘false conclusions made by authors’ I found in a rather short time on google.

1. The first one is the introduction on Jess’ Google+ profile. I’m not sure if she has been misquoted here, or if the author has made a false conclusion. I think it might be the latter.

“Hey there! I’m Jess Ainscough and I’m a writer, blogger, holistic health coach, cancer survivor, and the creator of the online wellness sanctuary, The Wellness Warrior”

2. News.com.au. June 24, 2013 “The holistic health coach, who was in Byron Bay last week, follows a strict organic diet after overcoming cancer without using modern medicine.

3. The Urban List. January 17, 2013  “I’m the creator of a website called TheWellnessWarrior.com.au, where I share my cancer recovery story.

4. The Raw Food Institute of Australia. January 29, 2014 “…using the world recognized Gerson therapy with outstanding results.

5. Wellness Mamma.  She is a writer, holistic health coach, and cancer survivor (she did it naturally!).

6. Rock Stock Living. Febuary 5, 2014.  “well not only by age 28 is she a cancer survivor, she predominantly treated it naturally.”

7. The Warwick Cancer Foundation. “As a young adult cancer survivor…”

8. Woman’s Day. September 7, 2011 “This therapy worked for me, and now it is working for my mother who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.”

9. SMH Life & Style.  Feb 2 2014 “…has been in remission for four years.” and ”In conventional language I’m in remission,” Ainscough says. “But I will be healing forever. It’s a permanent process.”

10. Natural News:  Nov 6, 2012. “Cancer Survivor” and “Discover how Jessica has kept her cancer away and what she does now to ensure it doesn’t come back.”

11. Good Being. Sept 15, 2013  “Overcame Cancer

12. whosyour.com. “I’m the creator of a website called The Wellness Warrior, where I share my cancer recovery story.

13. Fertilise Yourself. September 24, 2012. “Jess is an ah-mazing woman who has healed herself of cancer.”

14. Pauline Hanuise Holistic Health and Recovery Coaching. January 9, 2013. “she shares her cancer recovery story.

15. Alison Smith PhD. July 3, 2013. “Jessica, better known as The Wellness Warrior herself, is a beautiful Aussie, who fought cancer and won using the Gerson Diet: a protocol that cures cancer naturally

16. Move, Nourish, Believe. Jan 24, 2013. “she is a cancer survivor who (by embracing health, wellness and love) saved her own life and inspired hundreds and thousands of others in the process.”

17. IUV. June 27, 2013 “I realized I was more than a ‘cancer success story’ — I was a leader, a role model, an educator, and a champion.”

18. Cancer Fact or Fiction. October 21, 2013 “Jessica Ainscough has a hugely successful Blog The Wellness Warrior, why not check it out to learn more about How to survive Cancer with the Gerson therapy.”

19. Earth Events. “… five years of lessons that have not only saved my life…”

20. Mind Body Green. July 12, 2010 “Conquering Cancer with Carrot Juice” and “The therapy gets some seriously amazing results and I cannot wait until I can count myself as one of it’s success stories.”

21. Salt. Winter 2013 “Now cancer free

22. Motion Magazine. May 16, 2013 “faced and overcome one of the greatest evils in life, cancer.

23. Organicness. June 2, 2013 “cancer survivor

24. Farm Online. January 29, 2014 “Now 28, Jess has been in remission from cancer for almost six years

25. Life & Style. January 30, 2014. “Jess’ cancer survival story is a controversial one, but it certainly worked for her.” and “Jess, now 28, has been in remission from cancer for six years…”

26. Love Driven Prints. Feb 8, 2012 “A blogger in Australia named Jessica Ainscough details how she saved her own arm from amputation using the Gerson therapy as well. You can read all about it on her site, The Wellness Warrior.”

I found this one is particularly upsetting. A woman with metastatic breast cancer in her lung, liver, spine, ribs, pelvis and brain is asking for donations to fund a $11,000+ expenses trip to a Gerson retreat and cites Jess as a compelling reason for going. She didn’t go to Gerson because they wouldn’t take her, so she tried another restrictive, nonsense diet and supplement regime to no avail. Sadly, Lillian passed away in June 2013.

Moving on from google, I looked at the online book listings for Make Peace With Your Plate, the book recently authored by Jess and published through Hay House. Within a few minutes I had found no less than six listings for he book that contained the following;

“Six years on, following a complete change in lifestyle, diet and mindset, she is cancer-free and thriving.”

Booktopia blog   Penguin Books   Boffin Bookshop  Angus and Robertson  Fishpond and Bookworld.

In total, I found 32 instances where the takeaway message is that Jess has cured herself, and it took minimal effort on my part to find those. Something is very wrong here if so many individuals are getting the same incorrect message from what Jess says and the information she provides. If you know of any other examples that aren’t on the list, do post them in the comments and I will update the list.

So, Wellness Warrior team, there are 32 more corrections you need to make. I hope having them all detailed here with the relevant links will assist you in being able to do this.

You’re welcome.

The following examples have been provided by readers since this post was published. Thanks everyone for your input.

33. In this video, Jess herself says at 0.30 “For the past eighteen months, I have been curing myself of cancer using a natural healing modality called Gerson Therapy.” 

34. delvespot.com. July 25, 2012  [Interviewer] “You cured yourself of cancer, naturally. It’s a “stop the press” kind of moment, yet, because we find it so amazing, what does it say about our relationship with our bodies?

[Jess] We definitely don’t trust ourselves enough, or give our bodies the credit they deserve when it comes to healing. We are designed to self heal – as long as we provide the right environment to do so.

35. Dolly. January 6, 2012 “I am ecstatic to report that it has worked for me.”

36. The Gerson Institute. January 27, 2012  “Why I owe my life to Gerson” and “I can visibly see the Therapy healing the tumors I had in my arm.”

37. thewellnesswarrior.com.au. June 12, 2011. “I will be getting up on my soap box to share my story about how I am curing myself of an “incurable” sarcoma.”  

The ‘Wellness Warrior’ on Immunisation.

I really don’t want this blog to be all about the ‘Wellness Warrior’, and I never intended it to be but as far as health nonsense and health misinformation go (and that is to be the focus of the blog), she is the gift that keeps giving.

This morning, someone sent me thisThe ‘Wellness Warrior’s’ thoughts on immunisation. The whole post is dangerous ignorance in the extreme.

For more than 200 years, the use of vaccines has been instrumental in reducing the burden of many infectious diseases. Immunisation has been demonstrated to be a safe and effective public health intervention, and worldwide it has been estimated that immunisation programs prevent approximately 2.5 million deaths each year. The global eradication of smallpox in 1979, near elimination of poliomyelitis and global reduction in other vaccine-preventable diseases, are model examples of disease control through immunisation. Here in Australia we have one of the most comprehensive publicly funded immunisation programs in the world, and as a result of successful vaccination programs, many diseases no longer occur, or are extremely rare in Australia.

Immunisation not only protects individuals, but also protects others in the community by increasing the overall level of immunity in the population and thus minimising the spread of infection. This concept is known as ‘community immunity’ or ‘herd immunity’. The ironic thing about this ‘Wellness Warrior’ post is that immunisation by way of community immunity, protects people like Jess and her fellow cancer patients. People undergoing chemotherapy for example need the protection of the community to keep them safe from vaccine preventable diseases, yet here is Jess discouraging people from participating in the most important and effective public health initiative of our time.

By her own admission, Jess is “not really that educated on the issue” however that doesn’t stop her from sharing the report, the things that ‘shocked’ her, and urging her readers to “come to their own conclusions” about immunisation after reading it. That is first class “research” right there; read from one dubious information source and make a decision. The purpose of her information source, the International Medical Council on Vaccination  is to oppose vaccination, deny the safety and efficacy of vaccines and to spread fear and misinformation about vaccines. The board of directors includes known anti-vaccination liars Suzanne Humphries and Sherri Tenpenny. Jess’ use of this dubious group and Natural News as a source illustrates her inability to discern what is or isn’t a credible source of information, and her tendency to search the Internet for ‘information’ that agrees with her preconceived ideas and accept it as true.

Thank goodness the vast majority of folks are sensible and immunise themselves and their children. Vaccine refusal is a dangerous first world privilege, and those who promote it would do well to keep in mind that as they convince people to opt out of immunisation programs, they lower community immunity levels, and their own protection as a result.

It is her prerogative to ‘treat’ her own illness with unproven methods that don’t work. But to try to influence people not to use a proven method to prevent disease with a “report” that even a person with a basic knowledge of vaccines could see for the nonsense that it is, is unforgivable.

People who understand what life is like without vaccines, happily make every effort to get them.

People who understand what life is like without vaccines, happily make every effort to get them.

The Wellness Warrior Responds

One day after my previous post was published Jess Ainscough responded, to clarify some things and call me (and her other critics) bullies. Kudos to her for coming out and explicitly stating that she is not in remission or cured and stating that she needs to be more transparent with her ‘tribe’.  Not quite an admission that the cancer in her arm has been worsening all along, but it’s something. It’s a shame she then went on to muddy the waters with a bunch of nonsense about how she is thriving with cancer, the cancer doesn’t need to be eradicated, she is as healthy as she has ever been, she has seen many miraculous recoveries occur as a result of Gerson Therapy, and her body will completely heal when the time is right. The fact remains that Gerson Therapy is expensive, life restricting nonsense. It has not been proven to work and the National Cancer Institute has this to say about it:

“The data that are available are not sufficient to warrant claims that the Gerson therapy is effective as an adjuvant to other cancer therapies or as a cure. At this time, the use of the Gerson therapy in the treatment of cancer patients cannot be recommended outside the context of well-designed clinical trials.”

Interestingly, in her blog post she tries to take the moral high ground. She writes a ‘loving message’ to her critics and adds a positive affirmation at the end that reads:

“I replace judgement with kindness and compassion”

The ironic thing about that affirmation is that the moment she published her blog post she publicly labeled her critics ‘bullies’ and instigated a flood of comments from her followers judging us. A few examples:

‘they are not worth your time’

‘I bet they don’t have room in their lives to do anything good for others’

‘they are not worthy to comment on your life’

‘they are afraid of things they don’t understand’

‘they must have deep wounds they need to heal’

‘those who delight in trying to tear down others’

‘don’t let these nasties get you down’

‘they are clearly very sick people who need help’

‘how sad their life must be’

‘how spiteful some people can be’

The vast majority of these people have not read my original post, did not see comments on Facebook questioning her and have no idea what was said, except that she was criticised. They don’t even know what they are commenting on, a perfect example of the nature of the Wellness Warrior’s  ‘tribe’. Why didn’t she link to the criticism she was responding to and let the people judge for themselves? If it is a matter of not wanting to send internet traffic my way there is always http://www.donotlink.com/ as a method of directing people to a website without their visit counting. Or is it a matter of not wanting followers to see the ugly truth? So much for the new found  transparency.

Now to the content of the blog post.

Jess made several points in her post which I will address. I’m going to paraphrase but you can see the original by clicking here.

1. She is concerned that her target audience are being presented with a false account of the state of her health. She is often misquoted and other people make false conclusions about her condition. 

The people she accuses of misquoting her, or making false conclusions are doing so based on what she tells them and the impression she gives them.  There has never been a clarification sighted on any of her own outlets when she  has been ‘misquoted’, or a  retraction/correction ever published where these ‘misquotes’ or ‘false accounts’ have appeared. She allows people to believe she has cured her cancer every time she doesn’t correct misquotes. Every time she doesn’t correct false conclusions. Every time she says there is something other than cancer wrong with her arm rather than ‘in addition to’. Every time she uses vague phrases like ‘I healed my body’. She has misrepresented her  true situation by inference and lies of omission and is now blaming others for that.

Jess has created a very public, profitable image and as such she needs to take responsibility for the clarity of her message. She needs to accept the fact that the public have the right to scrutinise her statements, claims and actions. In fact when it comes to the topic of health and cancer treatments the public has a responsibility to scrutinise. Crying foul on being called out in these circumstances is ridiculous.

2. She has faith that her body will completely heal once she has completely learnt the lesson that her cancer is here to teach. 

That is a lovely, comforting way to think and I’m sure it helps her sleep at night. But that is all it is, comforting thoughts. Nonsense. Cancer is a disease. A horrible, nasty disease that attacks indiscriminately, can sometimes be treated or cured and sometimes not. It takes people’s lives leaving  their loved ones behind to grieve. It doesn’t want to teach lessons, it wants to kill. Sure, people can find lessons in their cancer experience but life lessons are not the purpose of cancer, nor will it magically go away if the right ones are learned.

3. She doesn’t claim Gerson Therapy cured her. 

See my response to point one. The words “Gerson Therapy cured me” may have never passed her lips, but she is complicit in allowing people to believe that it did. Take this statement in Dolly magazine, January 2012 for instance:

“I am ecstatic to report that it has worked for me. I have had no cancer spread, no more lumps pop up (they were popping up rapidly before) and I can actually see some of my tumours coming out through my skin and disappearing.”

What reasonable person would not think that meant she thought she was cured? And here, some examples of people who, due to the lack of clarity in her message thought she was cured. These people are her own fans and followers yet they didn’t realise she still has cancer. That isn’t the fault of anyone else but the messenger.

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                      “Love this chick! I actually didn’t know she still has cancer.”

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“You’re living proof that cancer can be cured using natural means and good disposition”

4. She doesn’t make money peddling a “cancer cure”.

I’m not going to spend much time on this because I didn’t say it. Must have been one of the other bullies critics. What I did say was:  “None of this has stopped Jess from turning her circumstances into a career.”

5. She is not anti-doctors or anti-conventional medicine.

Like number 4, I didn’t say this either, I’ll have to attribute that one to the other bullies critics as well. I’ll just add this without comment and you can come to your own conclusion about her attitude to doctors and conventional medicine:

Jess Gerson Health Danger

“As regulars of this blog know, I am currently using the Gerson Therapy to recover from cancer. Dr. Max Gerson was far ahead of his time when it came to natural healing therapies. Known as the father of natural cancer cures, Dr. Gerson has given many tens of thousands of people the tools to cure their own cancers. I hate to think where patients like me would be if it hadn’t been for his knowledge, understanding and determination to make a difference to the poor state of the cancer industry. It’s kind of shocking to think that even though Dr. Gerson discovered his cure way back in the 1930s, many people have still never even heard of him – let alone know that his legacy holds the answers to curing cancer. After Dr. Gerson’s death, his daughter Charlotte made it her life’s purpose to keep her father’s dream alive.
In this series of interviews, Mike Adams (aka the Health Ranger) of NaturalNews.com speaks to Charlotte Gerson about why the medical and drug industry do not want to find a cure for cancer and the history of mainstream oppression against cancer cures and leading anti-cancer doctors. This goes all the way back to the Nazis, IG Farben and the history of pharmaceutical companies like Bayer, which were implicated in the chemical torture of concentration camp prisoners.
This is a fascinating, must-listen interview for anyone suffering from cancer. If you know of someone who you think may benefit, please send them the link to this page. It is criminal to keep this information from the public.”

6. Her beliefs and opinions have evolved over the years, so paying attention to anything she said in the past is being inaccurate. 

I think everyone’s beliefs and opinions evolve over time as they make their way through life, I know mine have. However, facts don’t change and Jess’ arm is still getting worse, no matter what she believes. This doesn’t absolve her from any responsibility for things she has said or claims she has made up to now. Or maybe it does? Given the quote pictured above in point 5 was from 2010, we better ignore it then. Right.

As for ‘a loving note to my critics’, words like ‘onslaught’, ‘bullying’ and ‘attacks’ aren’t really loving, nor is suggesting all critics want to do was ‘condemn’ and are ‘disappointed not to find a conspiracy’. To say ‘ Try having a little compassion and kindness’ is to suggest that simply because someone questions, or disagrees with what she is doing that they lack compassion and kindness. I suggest that the only thing Jess knows about her critics is that they have criticised her. Thats a whole lot of negative judgement on a whole group of people for one loving note. Especially from someone affirming to replace judgement with kindness and compassion. Most of her critics simply want more transparency, which she admits she needs to increase.

And finally, a blog post like that is exactly the reason people are scared to call her out. She took no time at all to play the victim card. Jess is responsible for the things she is being called out on and she needs to own that. I am truly sorry about her illness and the loss of her mum, but that doesn’t get her a free pass.

You are not a victim here Jess, and out of respect and empathy for all those who have actually experienced bullying I refuse to let you apply the label ‘bully’ to me or any of your other critics. Save it for anyone who actually bullies you, the person, not those who criticise your message, your claims or your behaviour. That is not bullying, not even close.

The Wellness Warrior: Denial, Delusion, or Dishonesty?

I’ve been observing a young lady who goes by the title ‘The Wellness Warrior’ and calls herself a ‘Cancer Thriver’ for quite some time now and I’ve come to the point where I can no longer stay silent out of sympathy for her tragic situation. The reason for this; she is lying to herself, lying to her followers, lying to the public about her situation and deliberately hiding the truth of her condition. This can not continue, she is influencing people’s health and cancer treatment choices by misleading them. It is unconscionable. I will probably get slammed for speaking out about this but I don’t care, someone has to.

Jessica Ainscough was diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma in her left arm in 2008 at the age of 22. According to her own account of the story she had an isolated limb perfusion (high dose chemotherapy just to the arm), but was advised by her oncologist after relapse that amputation, although possibly not a cure, was her best option for survival or living a long life. Jess didn’t think this was an ‘attractive option’ and she decided against it and turned to the Internet looking for better options, which is where she found Gerson Therapy. In short, Gerson Therapy is a cancer ‘cure’ scam that costs thousands of dollars and involves a restrictive diet and lifestyle of living on juices and doing up to five coffee enemas per day. You can see Jess demonstrating her method for doing the enemas here.

A friend who works in oncology informs me that since Jess abandoned conventional therapy there has been huge advances in treatment. Newer targeted therapies have just about made isolated limb perfusion obsolete. Sadly for Jess, her adherence to Gerson Therapy and other nonsense for so long has almost certainly cost her any benefit she could have gained from the newer therapies.

Epithelioid Sarcoma is a slow growing cancer. Without treatment, it has a 50-70% 5 year survival rate, and a 42-55% 10 year survival rate. Jess has been living with this cancer for 6 years now, so it is no surprise that she is still alive. In fact, it is almost expected that she would still be alive at this point. Her cancer is simply taking its natural course. There is no miracle here, no story of miraculous survival, and no ‘remission’ as she claims. Just normal disease progression. How do I know the disease is progressing as expected? By monitoring her endless stream of photographs. That is no easy task because she makes every effort to hide her diseased arm, behind other people, inside shirt sleeves, and more recently, inside a bandage, but I have seen enough to form an opinion on what is going on here.

For instance, see this lovely photograph of a young beautiful, vibrant Jess in 2008. Her arm and hand look great. There is no denying she looks well, even healthy and there is no obvious sign of the cancer in her left arm.

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Fast forward to 2011, and here we can clearly see lesions on the outside of her left arm and hand, and underside of her left arm as well.

Red obvious lesions, 2011.

Red obvious lesions, 2011.

And pictured here in 2013 Her arm started to look decidedly worse. No longer just lesions on her hand and arm, the arm is looking quite misshapen with the lesions turning into wounds. I’m told the medical term for this is fungating wounds.

image              image              2013 Left arm clearly misshapen.

Despite the tragic loss of her mother to breast cancer in 2013 (she took the same ‘treatment’ path as Jess), she continues to promote Gerson Therapy as the reason for her own survival, with the caveat that ‘Like conventional treatment, it doesn’t work for everyone because every person, and every cancer is different.’ I can’t imagine what kind of mental and emotional gymnastics she has had to perform to be comfortable with the fact that her mother died following the very same protocol that Jess claims saved her.

None of this has stopped Jess from turning her circumstances into a career. And by her own admission, a very lucrative career, but that is OK because money is energy after all.

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Jess Ainscough: “I drink green juice, eat an organic diet, and I meditate; however the thing that adds the most weight to my wellness regime is the fact that I do something I love every single day. I wake up every morning and get to live the life of my dreams, doing work that never feels like work. And the sweet kicker is that I earn way more now than I could have ever achieved working for somebody else in the corporate world. Everyone deserves this kind of freedom, support and love in their life!!”

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Jess Ainscough: “Hey lovely Chloe, I kind of used to have that same belief when I started considering my blog as a career. I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t in keeping with my new identity to want to make money. But I quickly realised that money is just another form of energy, and when we are being of service and living our purpose the money will easily flow to us. Plus, we need money in order to make a significant difference in the world. To me, money means I can look after my health, look after my family, and build my biz and team up so that I can spread my message far and wide. I hope this helps! Xxx”

 Just recently Jess completed a national speaking tour, charging people around $100 per head to come and hear her story of cure through Gerson Therapy, good food and positive thinking. Photos from the event were revealing, especially in what they did not reveal. Her left hand and wrist were hidden by a bandage. When a fellow observer asked about it on her Facebook page this was her response:

Jessjess-arm-lie image

Commenter: “Jess, I think a lot of people are concerned about how your arm looks in these images compared to the past few years. Would you consider seeing a doctor about it? What do you think is going on?”

Jess Ainscough: “Hi, my arm is swollen in these pics because of all the flying I’ve been doing. It’s going back down now. I have lymphedema in my arm, and I am working with two doctors and a naturopath to do everything I can to help it. Lymphedema is something people have to deal with their whole lives when they have had lymph nodes removed and the kind of treatment I’ve had on my arm.”

Lymphedema? Possibly. But that is not all that is going on here. Having never engaged with Jess before, I couldn’t remain silent so I raised my concerns:

Fiona and I to Jess

 “Jess, this concerns me. My mum had lymphedema after treatment for breast cancer that included a mastectomy and  removal of lymph nodes (no chemo). She had to wear a full length  compression stocking, not a little bandage like you have. It is my  understanding that lymphedema doesn’t leave a limb lumpy with red  lesions, but affects the entire limb equally. And it doesn’t cause lesions  like you have. Jess I’m really worried, please see an oncologist, this  looks like disease progression to me.”

Jess’ response? She deleted my comment. So I tried again:

 “Jess Ainscough, why was my comment expressing concern about your arm deleted? It was polite, and expressed genuine concern about the condition of your arm, and you. You have 55,000 + fans here, many who admire what you are doing and some who are following your lead in one way or another. It is disingenuous to delete something honest like what I wrote. I lost my mum in exactly the same way you did – to cancer, except she chose conventional therapy which gave us an extra 20years. Your arm looks diseased, with lesions on it, not like a case of lymphedema. Please don’t lie to us about it, the amount of influence you have demands honesty.”

Her response this time around? Hide the comment and reply. You can see the response for yourself, and my follow up comment as well but the crux of what Jess has to say is:

” I’m not being dishonest. I don’t claim to have cured myself of cancer. I’ve not once said this… I’m working with a team of medical professionals.”

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Jess Ainscough: “Hi Rosalie, I’m not being dishonest. I don’t claim to have cured myself of cancer. I’ve not once said this. I live with cancer and I manage it to the best of my ability. Many people believe that I refused medical treatment, but this isn’t the case. There was nothing my doctors could offer me in the way of a cure, so I choose to manage my condition. Thank you for your concern, but I’m not complacent when it comes to my health and I’m working with a team of medical professionals. Xx”

My reply, which went unanswered:

“Jess Ainscough, you may never had said the word cure in public but everything you say and do leads people to think you have cured yourself. Only a couple of weeks ago you claimed to be in remission in the Sydney Morning Herald and based on your photos, looking at your arm, that is clearly not true. You can play semantics all you like, but you and I both know that you have been hiding your arm and the progression of the cancer in it for quite some time now, and that is dishonest. Did you talk about the disease progression on your tour? Have you ever? I have only ever seen you say that the lesions on your arm are the ‘cancer coming out’. Something no one else will probably say to you too is that your type of cancer is a slowly progressing cancer. Your disease would be in the exactly same state it is in now without all the torture and expense of Gerson Therapy. Please be honest with your followers. People are choosing Gerson Therapy to treat their cancers because of you. People who might otherwise be saved by conventional therapy. Sure, it is their decision, but you are influencing their decisions. And that requires you to be upfront about your own condition and you are not. I know this thread is hidden and no one else can see it, but I hope you will give some consideration to what I have said.”

So Jess says she does not claim to have cured herself. She sure likes to give that impression though. Here in an online interview Jess allows the claim that she cured herself of cancer, naturally to stand.

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“You cured yourself of cancer, naturally. It’s a “stop the press” kind of moment, yet, because we find it so amazing, what does it say about our relationship with our bodies?
[Jess] We definitely don’t trust ourselves enough, or give our bodies the credit they deserve when it comes to healing. We are designed to self heal – as long as we provide the right environment to do so.”

And here we have a perfect example of the impression jess gives. Without actually saying ‘cured’ of course. Cancer free / cured. Tomato / tomato.

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I was also sent a private message by one of her handlers to say that she is consulting Doctors about her arm and it is a private matter. I’m sorry Jess, but everything you do and say publicly implies that you have cured yourself. Your wide eyed, adoring followers think you have cured yourself. I despair about how many people have chosen Gerson Therapy to ‘treat’ their (possibly otherwise treatable) cancer due to your wonderful, positive story.

The elephant in the room here? Your left arm. If you are being so honest about your condition, why all the effort to hide the arm? Why haven’t your followers and fans been told about the problems with your arm? Why did you lie and say its just lymphedema from flying? When are you going to talk publicly about the state of your arm?

You are being dishonest, by hiding the whole story.

You are lying by omission.

You are misleading people, for profit and adulation.

 Does her focus on making money from her new life eliminate any sense of decency she might have once had? I know what I think, but one thing is for sure – she has zero tolerance for any honest public dialogue about her condition, and doesn’t want her wide eyed believers to be exposed to it either.

Over to you Jess, your move. Will you continue to mislead the very people who have contributed to your success? Or will honesty and human decency win out and see you speaking the real truth about your condition?

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.

Edited to add: Jess has responded by writing a blog, which I will write a reply to over the next few days as time allows. Here is her response.

 

If you liked this post, you might like to see how Jess’ tribe responded when she passed away.