It was 2013 and Kylie had been undergoing intensive and intensive chemotherapy for six months, and someone to treat her newly diagnosed lymphoma asked her, “Have you heard of this woman named Belly Gibson?”
A quick internet search led to the carefully reviewed Instagram profile of an Australian health and wellness blogger with more than 300,000 followers.
Each post contained complimenting comments from fans around the world.
Kylie, from Australia, was surprised to see: “Belle was beautiful, she was successful … she was an inspiration to many”.
“She represented a goal.”
Belly Gibson’s online presence after she was told she had only four months to live, His disability “cured” brain cancer Through healthy eating.
Couldn’t stop comparing himself to Kylie.
During a daily chemo session, her hair fell out and she was about to have an eighteenth pelvic puncture – a painful procedure in which a large needle was inserted into the spine – Belly was sold. Wonderful lifestyle recipe, Cancer-free, she dreamed.
“[Pensé que] Maybe she’s right, maybe I was doing all this wrong, ”Kylie recalled.
“I was dying inside. It got worse with every treatment. I looked horrible. She was living a better life.”
At that time The Healthcare industryIt is currently growing, valued at approximately $ 8 3.8 trillion worldwide.
The general public had already heard that avocados were “superfoods”, and many tried to follow a “healthy” lifestyle, with bloggers showing their claims without any (or minor) research.
In her book, Belle said: “I will empower myself to save my own life through nutrition, patience, perseverance and love”.
Inspired by the idea of controlling her own treatment, Kylie bought Belly’s cookbook and app, Full pantry (“All Pantry”, in Spanish). The brand was backed by Penguin, one of the largest publishers, and technology company Apple.
Aspiring for improvement Kylie woke up one day to go to the hospital and decided it was full of “all the needles and thorns”. It’s over.
“Chemo didn’t work for me. [Me dije que] I had to go out and try to eat healthy ”.
“[Belle] What he is doing is curing his cancer and he is recovering. ”
“I had it in front of me [como prueba]. It’s on my cell phone, in magazines, in the news … so Delivered in all”.
But Belly didn’t do well …
In March 2015, an Australian publication exposed Belly’s false claim to followers that she had donated a portion of her book and app sales to charities.
Soon, many journalists began to question whether Belly was misleading people about her health.
“I wish we could have done it before we gave him the platform for who he is,” Kylie says.
After his fraud came to light, it was reported Belle lied about her cancer.
In September 2017, he was fined 300 300,000 by the Australian government for misleading readers about donations to charities after he was found guilty of five consumer law violations.
One judge said Belle may have relied on what she said “truly” and may have experienced “illusions” about her health.
“I was sick”
Maxine, who lives in England, attended college when he began to pursue Belle.
He loves the culture of health on Instagram and was inspired by stories of people abandoning traditional medical treatment to treat their conditions ‘naturally’.
“[Belle] It is the queen bee of well-being. “, He reflects.
From the age of 11, Maxin struggled with his disease, ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammation of the large intestine.
The most common symptoms are diarrhea, blood loss, abdominal pain and fatigue. It is a lifelong condition and is usually controlled by medication.
“It was hard for me to get a diagnosis,” he says.
“I’m about 12 years old, and many doctors have told me: ‘It’s your hormones’ or ‘It’s menstrual pain.’
“It simply came to our notice then Negative attitude towards doctors And his attitude to chronic illnesses because he did not feel he had long-term support. “
After missing the entire school semester due to his condition, Maxine College wanted him to be just like everyone else.
“I was so crazy about enduring this disease and not being able to be a normal teenager!” He shouts.
She was also frustrated that she had gained weight from pills and high doses of steroids; She says it had a negative impact on her body image.
From his medication, Maxine stuck with the application “Clean food” From the bell, Full pantry (“Full pantry”).
“It strengthened the absurd belief that he did not need medication to control the disease.”He told the BBC Three.
“I was very involved in everything related to food. I adopted a diet based on plant-based foods, which I believed would remove many ‘toxic’ substances.
Maxine gave up all animal products, gluten and carbohydrates. “It’s very serious,” he says.
Before long, she lost too much weight and she stopped menstruating His health began to deteriorate.
“After a kind of initial placebo effect, everything fell apart.”
“I thought I wasn’t eating enough healthy food, I wasn’t doing enough things, and I could still eat clean food,” he recalled.
“I followed this ‘perfect’ diet so much, I felt bad, and I blamed myself for not being there.”
In July 2014, Belle announced A Mail He was diagnosed with four other types of cancer on Instagram. “It is in my blood, spleen, brain, uterus and liver”, Wrote.
His followers were doomed.
But cracks began to appear in Belly’s story. And Maxine began to question his beliefs.
“Do not believe everything you see on the Internet”
Kylie stayed Shock When he found out that Belly lied about cancer: “I felt betrayed … Who invented something like that? “
Maxine recalled feeling so innocent: “We were vulnerable. The health profession came up and said, ‘Hi, can I help?’
No one knows why Belle did what she did.
Ever since Belly went underground, the world has been familiar with terms like “fake news” and “misinformation.”
But Maxine warns that there is more Many lies Who will be part of the health sector and who are being advertised on social media “Based on Exploitation”.
“They position themselves as people who care about the health of the people, but what they really do is promote lies and fear.”
“People are forced to sell books, lifestyles or private labels and often create completely false stories. Do not trust everything you see on the internet”.
By talking about it, Maxine hopes that many will stop blaming themselves for their illnesses.
He believes that social networks establish restrictions to ensure that publications are clear on whether they are evidence-based or that their authors are not qualified or share advice on the health of others.
After discovering Belly’s lies, Kylie resumed chemotherapy and her lymphoma is now in relief.
This May, Australian authorities decided to seize his assets for failing to pay the fine imposed on Belle.