Belle Gibson lied to the nation about her health and her betrayal has caused tidal waves for those actually living with cancer. Many were tricked into trying her methods and truly ill people are now having their diagnoses questioned due to her deception.
She is the water cooler talk of the country today.
The young, attractive woman who tricked an online community into believing that she had naturally cured herself of cancer.
When Belle Gibson appeared on 60 Minutes, the nation were hopeful that she would utilize her national exposure to apologize to the people who had turned to her for hope when there was none.
As Tara Brown challenged, and then challenged her some more, not even the tough, and incredibly intelligent journalist could pry the truth from her. She could not even tell the truth about how old she is. It was farcical to say the least.
Social media went, quite literally, nuts. I read everything from “go harder on her Tara” to “Belle clearly has a mental illness, we should be helping her address that” and then the despair of cancer sufferers, dismayed that they were given some kind of hope from her original, albeit, lets face it, totally bullshit story.
No doubt you have an opinion on her, as do I.
Emma Betts is a young Brisbane woman you may have heard off. Diagnosed with terminal Melanoma 18 months ago, at just 22 years of age, she was given just a few months to live. That’s when I met her. She asked me to marry her and her fiancé as she rushed to complete as much of her bucket list as she could.
She is now on a clinical trial, which she is documenting with her blog Dear Melanoma, and with the extra days and months that the trial have given her, she is also amazingly raising money and awareness for Melanoma related charities. She is truly a good human.
However, according to Emma, Belle’s story is extremely damaging for people like her.
How do you feel about Belle Gibson?
I’ve never been one to explore alternative treatment. There is a place for it to compliment traditional treatment. So I didn’t follow her or fall for it. But everyone wants to hope there is a future and treatment out there for them, and they have potentially lost their lives because of her. There was just no apology, nor any remorse and it left me and my “Dear Melanoma” community very angry.
I thought she would apologize and didn’t, do you think she has made it worse?
Yes, she simply sat there and talked about what she has lost and how hard this ordeal has been for her. I would like to sit her down and educate her on what my family and what I will lose and teach her about real loss. I was shocked by her.
Do you think we believed her because she is such an attractive and healthy looking girl? Who is to blame here? Belle or the media for believing and then promoting her?
There is a lot of appeal in someone’s story when there is a young mothers life at risk. I know the media contact me because my story seems more tragic than a 70-year-old man with terminal cancer and she certainly marketed herself in the right way. But, she is to blame. Not anyone for not having researched her. If the media came to me and asked to see my MRI scans in order to believe me I would be taken aback. As humans we really want to believe that someone is just naturally telling the truth and we can trust that their story is true. This is difficult for the blogging community. There are going to be people who question my story now and that is upsetting because people get strength from it.
What message do you have for people affected by this?
My main message is you need to trust only one person in this journey and that is your doctor. If you don’t like that doctor or oncologist, find another. Doctors are not there to hide the cure or truth from you. People give me advice and suggestions for alternative treatments all the time and question my line of treatment, but the fact is I have chosen to fight the way I have based on science and a good doctor. If clean eating were a cure for cancer, pharmaceutical companies would be making millions out of it. Belle was using the vulnerability and hope of people and taking advantage of that situation.
Samantha Armytage from Channel 7 nearly hit the nail on the head when she questioned how well Belle looked in an interview before she was exposed. What is the reality of living with cancer?
Interestingly, I am someone who get’s the statement “but you look so well!” because of the treatment I’m on. Cancer has gone beyond the stage where you lose your hair and get terrible side effects and look so sick. There are treatments now where you don’t get those side affects. No one would look at me and think I am living with cancer. But it’s what she has done emotionally and how she has portrayed that which is the stinger for me. Trying to mimic what it is like to live with cancer is horrendous. The emotional journey of cancer is just as devastating for people and families as the physical one.
Did you watch the 60 Minutes interview with Belle Gibson? What are your thoughts on the faux-health blogger’s story?