As Kylie Willey struggled in hospital with the impact of near-daily chemotherapy, she scrolled Instagram.
There was one account in particular she was drawn to.
She watched as a woman, who also had cancer, lived her life full of smiles and green smoothies. This woman treated herself naturally without chemotherapy and her life looked great.
“I’m sitting in The Alfred hospital [in Melbourne],” Kylie told Mamamia. “I’d just been maid-of-honour for my best friend’s wedding and I was diagnosed going to her wedding rehearsal.
“I started treatment two or three days after that, so I’d been all glammed up… to straight away losing my hair, to being on steroid treatment that put on 30 kilos. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I didn’t even know who that person was.
“It was absolutely horrendous, and there’s Belle Gibson, sipping coconut water, living this amazing life because she wasn’t going through chemo treatment.”
The 43-year-old Victorian mother-of-three had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in April 2014.
Kylie felt a connection to the woman on Instagram: “You’re like ‘I feel what you’re going through, it’s scary and it’s shit’,” she explained.
But this woman – Belle Gibson – was lying.
Just 23 at the time of her undoing, the wellness blogger and mother-of-one had falsely claimed her fabricated brain cancer was cured through alternative therapies. She’d also lied to consumers about donating to charities from the sales of her The Whole Pantry app.