Charity Money Promised By Cancer Survivor And Healthy App Developer Never Received
Belle Gibson is a young woman who before now has been hailed 'an inspiration.'
She shot to social media fame after launching her business and her app, The Whole Pantry off the back of her story as a young mother diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Her story was especially interesting because Bella shunned all conventional medicine and healed herself with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle.
Currently, she's in hot water because after her app really became successful, she solicited donations from a following of 200,000 people in the name of at least five charities, all of which have no record of ever receiving a cent from her.
Belle passes on all of her love to the TWP community and each of you who have held our woman in their thoughts, meditations, prayers and positive spaces over the last week. She has started her chosen course of treatment and surprises us every single day with her "I've got stuff to do!" perspective which drags her out of bed to passionately continue on her visions. This #flashback is from the @fierce_women charity event last year where we remember these closing words in her groundbreaking speech; "If there's one thing I've learnt along the way, it's to defy the odds. be your own exception. live by your rules. dont do anything, be with anyone or spend your time doing something that doesnt serve you.. your purpose. gamble as much in your life, your career, your decisions as you want to.Its time to take your lives into your own hands and make it absolutely everything you want it to be." From all of us here, we're so grateful and blown away by the support and messages and hope to keep the community as up to date as we can. TWP. #thewholelife
Belle Gibson, pictured far right.
The 26-year-old's popular app costs $3.79 and has been downloaded 300,000 times. Her debut cook book by the same name was published by Penguin in Australia and is soon to hit shelves in the US and Britain.
After receiving questions from Fairfax Media about her fundraising activities (and lack thereof), Gibson promised donations to some organisations that have not seen a donation from her since she hosted a fundraiser in 2013. Gibson blamed her company's "cash flow" problems for the reported 15-month delay.
This has caused an outrage as publically, GIbson has claimed to have given away 25 per cent of her company's profits and in her book, writes that "a large part of everything" is donated to various charities and causes. She even stated that last year, $300,000 has been given to charities but now says these contributions were never made because the app sales were not as high as first forecast. She was also unable to provide a list of organistions she donates to.
According to a report on theage.com.au, neither Gibson nor her companies are lawfully registered as fundraisers. Consumer Affairs Victoria said organisations found to misrepresent fundraising events could be in breach of criminal and consumer law. Companies face penalties of up to $28,000, while individuals risk 12 months' jail and a $14,000 fine.
"We have not yet donated the naive, yet confident amount of $300,000, considering the very quickly [arising] issues with cash flow versus growth, providing content, managing external expectations," she said.
Interestingly, confirmed donations from Ms Gibson and her business total about $7000.
"It was with nothing but good intention that we publicised that a percentage of profit from the app will be donated to charity. The intentions always were and still are to give back. The execution of this has obviously been flawed."
A spokeswoman for one of the charities said: "You don't take charitable funds and put it into the cash flow of your own business".
There has been speculation as to whether Gibson ever even really had cancer in the first place.
Images via Instagram and cosmopolitan.com.au