I don’t know Belle Gibson. She commented on one of my Instagram posts once. I had a peek at her profile and had the distinct thought that for someone with brain cancer, she was certainly spending a lot of time posing for glam-style selfies. Each to their own, I thought.
But I did know Jess Ainscough. We’d been blogging buddies since 2010, often appearing in magazines together, chatting about our love of raw food or how we’d adopted holistic therapies to get to the bottom of our respective health issues.
Mind you, Jess and I never met, but knew each other through a mutual friend. We’d chatted on Skype, emailed and supported each other’s blogs with deep respect for each other’s journeys, however different they were. I was fiercely protective of her when trolls would vomit hate on her website. How could these people attack one of the kindest, bravest souls I knew?
I’ll often visit her website, just to see if her leaving was just a mistake. But she is gone, at least in physical form. And her strong, loving voice not able to defend herself against those who compare her stance, her message with that of Belle Gibson – a woman who, as it turns out, doesn’t have any idea of how profoundly nurturing and healing natural therapies can be— or how holistic treatments can be the support for someone who chooses to thrive with an illness, instead of succumb to medications with health-sapping side effects.
Belle Gibson is no Jess Ainscough.
Belle Gibson promoted a lifestyle she didn’t really know anything about. Jess Ainscough lived her message, until the very end. People can argue that Jess promoted a cure. But I disagree. She promoted a lifestyle of self-love, respect, healthier choices and the message that there is more than one treatment available for cancer. If she ever said she was cancer-free, and I don’t ever recall such a time, it could only be because she thought she was.
Many are aghast that Gibson led people “astray”, away from conventional treatment, such as chemo, and into the “woo-woo” world of original and holistic treatments. But here’s the thing. Gibson may have lied about her own journey, but why are people saying she put other lives in danger? Have we all become sheep where we blindly take another’s journey as a carbon copy of our own? Why is it suggested that people can’t think for themselves?
I don’t agree at all with what she did, but I also don’t think it gives people permission to shit all over natural therapies. I know from my own journey that they work—for me. And they worked for Jess by helping her thrive with cancer. Natural, holistic therapies have been around for thousands of years. Modern medicine is a newbie on the block, yet taken as the gospel of all healing because paid-for media tell us it’s the way. We’ve forgotten how to abide by nature’s laws and Jess was a major catalyst in helping us remember.
I don’t agree with what she did, but I also don’t think it gives people permission to shit all over natural therapies.
As individuals, it is up to ourselves to decide what treatment path to take. It’s not for anyone to tell anyone else how to do it. We can share our stories in the hope of inspiring someone to think for themselves, we can look at people like Belle Gibson and realise she too has an illness – it may not be cancer but we also need to stop finding a poster child for blame—and comparing apples to oranges.
Belle Gibson is not Jess Ainscough.
We are our own doctors and the sooner we realise that and stop hoping we will be saved—by conventional or natural therapies and the experts who sing the praises of either—the better off we’ll be. Know yourself, know your body and do what feels right for you. It all exists within us.
We’ve forgotten how to abide by nature’s laws and Jess was a major catalyst in helping us remember.