Brave young woman who battled rare form of cancer with healthy food and lifestyle and became known as 'the Wellness Warrior' tragically succumbed to the disease, age 30
The 30-year-old passed away on Thursday, after a long battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called epithelioid sarcoma, which she chose to fight with natural and often controversial methods.
When Ms Ainscough was diagnosed at the age of 22, she refused conventional treatment and her doctor's reccomendation that her arm be amputated, opting instead for a natural treatment called Gerson Therapy which involves drinking raw juices and coffee enemas.
Popular Australian blogger Jessica Ainscough, the 'Wellness Warrior', has died of cancer at the age of 30
'I didn’t chop off my arm. I didn’t go into aggressive, full-body chemotherapy. I didn’t accept that my doctor’s ‘solution’ was the only course of action,' she wrote on her Wellness Warrior blog.
'I decided that I would do everything in my power to thrive in life, in spite of the looming expiration date I’d been given. I learned how to treat myself with absolute kindness & self-respect. I radicalised my diet. I systematically detoxified my body — and mind.'
Ms Ainscough adopted a strict vegan diet, and additional suppliments to 'heal' her body without chemotherapy, an approach which has no scientific support but has garnered enthusiastic adoption from a small proportion of cancer sufferers around the world.
Her cancer stopped spreading, and she reported that her 'flare-ups' were minimal, allowing her to live a relatively normal life.
'Somewhere along the way, I realised that I was more than a ‘cancer story’ — I was a leader, a role model, an educator, and a champion,' she wrote on her blog.
'Part of an empowering wellness revolution, sweeping the planet. Someone who could change lives & provide HOPE — simply by showing up, and telling my story.'
Ms Ainscough detailed her journey with the method on her popular blog, attracting thousands of followers on social media and publishing a book called 'Make Peace with Your Plate'.
Ms Ainscough's mother was diagnosed with cancer, and after embracing Gerson therapy, died in 2013
Ms Ainscough detailed her journey with the method on her popular blog, 'The Wellness Warrior'
When Ms Ainscough was diagnosed at the age of 22, she refused conventional treatment
Her unusual approach to fighting cancer attracted significant criticism from the public, and bodies such as the Cancer Council.
'The data that are available are not sufficient to warrant claims that the Gerson therapy is effective as an adjuvant to other cancer therapies or as a cure,' a page on the Cancer Council's website says.
'At this time, the use of the Gerson therapy in the treatment of cancer patients cannot be recommended outside the context of well-designed clinical trials.'
Her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, and, inspired by Ms Ainscough's success, also adopted the Gerson Therapy method.
The alternative treatment did not work, and her mother passed away in 2013, an event which Ms Ainscough said brought her to her knees.
'I’ve been challenged, frightened, and cracked open in ways I never had before. After my mum died at the end of last year, my heart was shattered and it’s still in a million pieces,' she wrote on her blog in December last year.
'I had no idea how to function without her, and it turns out my body didn’t either. For the first time in my almost seven year journey with cancer, this year I’ve been really unwell,' she wrote.
'I’ve been challenged, frightened, and cracked open in ways I never had before,' said Ms Ainscough on her blog
Ms Ainscough wrote in her last blog post that she expected to be writing again in January
'I’ve lived with cancer since 2008 and for most of those years my condition was totally stable. When my mum became really ill, my cancer started to become aggressive again. After she died, things really started flaring up.'
Ms Ainscough reportedly began pursuing conventional treatments after she suffered through ten months of constant bleeding from the tumours in her arm and shoulder.
'This has been a game-changer for me and also very strange. Some weeks I’ve felt nothing but overwhelming sadness, others I’ve been really bitter and angry,' she wrote.
'I’ve also spent my time doing lots of research into treatment options. I’ve been speaking to doctors, healers, and specialists and I’ve been completely opening myself up to attracting the right people who will help me heal – whether they are from the natural medicine world or conventional,'
'My beliefs have been completely shaken up and I’ve had to drop any remnants of fear and ego that were preventing me from exploring these options sooner.'
Ms Ainscough wrote in her last blog post that she expected to be writing again in January.
Her website now features a photograph of Ms Ainscough, with the memorium 'On February 26th, 2015, the world lost one of its brightest sparks'.
'After 30 years, seven of which were spent thriving with cancer, Jess Ainscough peacefully passed away.'
To read Cancer Australia's information on complementary and alternative therapies, please visit their website.