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Sometimes, very lucrative jobs are extremely dangerous. For instance, you can make a lot of money on fishing boats or oil rigs, working long, hard hours at the risk of dying in freezing water miles from any coastline.
Or you can sell “natural cures” for cancer using yourself as an inspirational story. On the plus side, you’ll get hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and you can sell loads of juicers and vegan cookbooks or homeopathic “remedies,” but on the negative side you will most likely die of cancer, very slowly and very painfully.
That’s what’s happened to Mari Lopez, a woman who made YouTube videos with her niece Liz Johnson. Last year they made several viral videos claiming that Mari had stage 4 cancer but that she cured it by drinking lemon and ginger juice, adhering to a vegan lifestyle, and trusting in God. Their videos put the bold claims right in the titles: STAGE 4 CANCER HEALED BY JUICING & RAW VEGAN and CANCER HEALED NATURALLY.
Those titles are stark next to one of the final videos on the channel, posted back in October: “UPDATE: Mari, Cancer & Faith.” Liz appears alone in that one, explaining that Mari noticed her eye bulging out of its socket and went to the doctor to find that her body was riddled with tumors, including the one behind her eye. Liz is clearly shaken in the video but she soldiers on, explaining that she isn’t sure why the cancer came back but she knows that it’s not God’s fault, it’s Satan’s. She says that diseases like cancer are caused by sin, which may make you wonder why she thinks her aunt is on her deathbed.
If you watch the videos, and you shouldn’t, you’ll also learn that Mari wasn’t just healed of cancer but of something much more insidious: lesbianism. It’s at that point it all comes together: Liz clearly believed that Mari was dying because of her own sins.
It gets worse. When babe.net contacted Liz for a comment, Liz said that she believed Mari’s cancer came back because she started chemotherapy and didn’t stick to her strict raw vegan diet. Mari was living with her sister (Liz’s mother), who Liz says used the microwave despite Mari’s objections. For the record, microwaves do not and cannot cause cancer.
Following Mari’s inevitable painful death, Liz claimed to want to continue her proselytizing. Luckily she has not, yet. Unfortunately, the old videos claiming that Mari was cured are still there and racking up views and “testimonies” in the comments thanking Mari for inspiring them. Babe.net reported that Mari asked Liz on her deathbed to take those videos down but Liz refused.
So Liz will continue to profit from Mari even after her death, and I have no doubt that if she chooses to, she can hop right back in the game of telling people that disease happens to bad people, and that you don’t need a doctor to cure it, you just need some lemons and a Bible. For the record, I don’t think Liz is just in this to get rich — I think she genuinely believes what she’s saying, even though it got her own aunt brutally killed. Here’s hoping she eventually wises up and deletes her videos before she causes more deaths.