Belle Gibson is a 20-something single mom who was reportedly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer six years ago in Melbourne, Australia.
Gibson claimed to self-treat her cancer with a healthy diet and lifestyle. She subsequently gained numerous followers on her Instagram page (which has recently been set to private).
With a large online following, Gibson secured a book deal and wrote "The Whole Pantry" cookbook and created a recipe app of the same name which sells for $3.79 per download. Gibson's app has reportedly been downloaded over 300,000 times (video below).
While Gibson promised to give 25 percent of her profits to charities, The Sunday Morning Herald reported earlier this week that many of the charities mentioned by Gibson have not received any money from her.
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The Sunday Morning Herald noted that Gibson claimed to have given $300,000 (Australian dollars; $227,000 U.S.) to several charities last year, but she now says the donations were not made because of "issues with cash flow versus growth."
News.com.au quotes Gibson as telling The Australian, "It’s hard to admit that you’re wrong," adding that she felt "confused, bordering on humiliated."
Gibson would not give the name of the German medical team that supposedly misdiagnosed her, but said she is now seeing a new doctor: "I’m still going through understanding what’s happening to my body."
Penguin Random House, which published Gibson's recipe book in Australia, admitted to the Daily Mail that it did not verify her health claims prior to publishing.
Gibson's true age has also been called into question.
She is under investigation by Australian authorities for possibly running a fake charity, which is against the law in that country.