A former Brisbane schoolgirl who claimed to have survived cancer due to a healthy lifestyle is facing accusations she fabricated the story to help develop a business.
Belle Gibson, 23, founded an app called The Whole Pantry, which is marketed as the world’s first health, wellness and lifestyle app community.
Ms Gibson was diagnosed with multiple cancers from 2009 but claimed to have beaten the illness by shunning conventional medicine in favour of a healthy lifestyle.
She has since admitted she may have been misdiagnosed.
Ms Gibson was also due to release a book based on her story this year, but publishers in the US have now suspended their plans as they investigate the veracity of the story, News Corp Australia reports.
Friends of the 23-year-old have cast doubt over her claims, and former colleagues at a Brisbane catering company have described her as a “lost soul”.
“She was a bit disturbed and would come out with some really vivid stories,” a former colleague told The Courier-Mail.
Ms Gibson’s app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times but hundreds of former users are now demanding refunds.
Tech giant Apple is also linked to The Whole Pantry brand with plans to include the app as an installed feature on its new watch.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is also investigating Ms Gibson’s fundraising efforts amid accusations she withheld significant sums in promised charity donations, Fairfax Media says.