It is with much sadness we report the passing of Jessica Ainscough, an Australian wellness blogger who spent the last eight years pursuing an experimental treatment for her rare cancer.
Jess passed away on Thursday, the 26th of February, after a long battle with her disease. Jess suffered from epithelioid sarcoma, an incredibly rare form of cancer, and refused conventional medical treatment despite doctors’ advice that she should have her left arm and shoulder amputated. Instead, she pursued an alternative, natural treatment called Gerson Therapy.
Gerson Therapy involves consuming a large quantity of juice and supplements. There is no medical proof that it is an effective treatment for eliminating cancer.
Jess’s mother, who died from breast cancer in October 2013, was also undergoing the same controversial treatment.
This is Jess’s story…
It was 2008 and Jess Ainsough was just 22. Living and working in Sydney, Jess described herself as a party girl: “A rising magazine writer [at teen magazine, Dolly]. A champagne-guzzling, drug-poppin’, sleep-deprived, perpetually hungover party girl.”
That year, she found lumps on her left arm. A biopsy revealed the worst news – a cancer diagnosis. The cancer growing in her left arm and shoulder, epithelioid sarcoma, was extremely rare – affecting only the smallest percentage of the population (0.1 sufferers per million).
Doctors recommended that her arm be amputated. Jess refused, but agreed to undergo a targeted, high-dose burst of chemotherapy confined to her arm (a procedure known as an isolated limb perfusion). While the treatment worked initially, the tumours returned 12 months later.
Jess was again told by doctors that her only choice at survival was a drastic operation that would take her arm above her shoulder.
Again, she refused. She wrote on her blog about her confusion at the diagnosis:
Essentially, my condition was incurable. None of this made any sense to me. I felt so healthy, and I looked healthy. I could not understand how my life had come down to a decision about whether to have my whole, fully functioning arm chopped off.
Instead, Jess opted to travel to Mexico to undergo a controversial cancer treatment known as Gerson Therapy. Gerson Therapy involves consuming large quantities of juices and supplements coupled with a “detoxification” regime involving four-hourly coffee enemas.
I swapped a lifestyle of late nights, cocktails and Lean Cuisines for carrot juice, coffee enemas and meditation and became an active participant in my treatment.
This research led me to Gerson Therapy… The therapy involves drinking 13 fresh organic veggie juices per day (yes that’s one an hour, every hour of my waking day), five coffee enemas per day and a basic organic whole food plant-based diet with additional supplements.
For two years I devoted my entire life to healing, to the extent that I was effectively housebound.
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.
In April 2011, Jess’s mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. In light of her own success, when Sharyn Ainscough’s cancer diagnosis was made, Jess said the family knew what to do:
Following her diagnosis, my mum refused any sort of conventional interference. She said no to a mammogram and a biopsy, told them that she wasn’t interested in going down the path of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and instead chose the same therapy as me.
Mother and daughter undertook the treatment together.
She is now drinking 13 juices per day, having five coffee enemas per day and – much to her disgust – taking castor oil every second day. We’re now in this together! Our solid routine gets us through, but it’s just days like yesterday when I was sick and mum was feeling crook from castor oil that the pressure is on my dad to care for us both.
The Gerson treatment seems to have been more difficult on Sharyn than it was on Jess. Jess described some of her mother’s “flare-ups”.
My flare-ups have been quite mild. My left arm swelled up (about a year ago and still hasn’t deflated), I’ve had headaches, a little nausea, a few days where I’ve been too exhausted to get out of bed, and countless days where I’ve cried uncontrollably and been moodier than a storm season, but the physical symptoms have been limiting. My mum, on the other hand, is having ALL of the textbook reactions. If we hadn’t gone to the Gerson clinic or spoken to fellow Gerson patients, I don’t think we would have been quite as prepared for what she’s been going through.
Sharyn’s Gerson doctor considered these reactions and diagnosed her with toxicity and yeast over-growth. Jess was enthusiastic about her mother’s response to the treatment.
If Mum had followed conventional orders and had surgery or drug interference, there is no way that these underlying issues would have been addressed. Yet another reason why it is SO important to deal with the cause and not just eradicate the symptom. Lumps in breasts are not the issue. It’s the toxicity and deficiency of our bodies that cause an imbalance and lead to dis-ease.”
In the meantime, Jess’s infectious enthusiasm and passion in the pursuit of health made her somewhat of a celebrity. She became ‘The Wellness Warrior’, with a popular website, a book deal and speaking tours. She shared her story openly and people responded quickly to her message of self-care and alternative treatments .