Last year, Mari Lopez, a so-called ex-lesbian with stage four cancer, began making YouTube videos with her niece Liz Johnson. In their first of five videos together, Johnson announced that God had healed Lopez’s cancer and “gay lifestyle,” the former of which was aided by a raw vegan diet. Unsurprisingly, less than a year later, Lopez has died of cancer, though Johnson blames the death on her mother.
Lopez and Johnson’s five YouTube videos amassed nearly one million views. In them, Lopez claimed that dandelions kill cancer, mint leaves kill tumors, habanero peppers are “anti-cancer” and that red blood cells can “kick the cancer’s butt.”
She seems to have only mentioned her ex-lesbian transformation at length in a video only once. In their fourth video together, Lopez claimed she converted from lesbianism in giving her life over to God. She said:
I, as accepting God in my life, I viewed [homosexuality] as, what I’ve read in this Bible, that it’s wrong. So I made a choice. And I said, ‘Lord, if you said it’s wrong in this Bible, and you killed two big cities — Sodom and Gomorrah — for this conduct, y’know, I don’t wanna die. It’s survival mode, I’m giving it all … my wants…. I don’t want to live in strife. I want to have peace with God.
She went on to say, “Whether people want to accept that … that’s what I chose to do…. And I’m at peace with it and I thank the Lord for changing me. Can he change you? Yes. He changed my life. I was an alcoholic.”
In summer 2017, Mari Lopez reportedly felt unwell. By October, the doctors had informed her that the cancer in her blood had spread to her liver and lungs. By December, Johnson wrote that Lopez was in hospital with only days to live. Two days later, Lopez died.
Johnson blames Lopez’s death on the fact that Johnson’s mother encouraged Lopez to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy and to eat unhealthy fast foods during her decline. Lopez reportedly asked Johnson to take the videos down amid her decline, but Johnson didn’t because she believed the videos could still help others.
Undoubtedly, viral videos about cancer “cures” and ex-gay testimonials can seriously harm others. Nevertheless, Lopez’s YouTube videos are actually kind of heartbreaking because they mostly show Johnson’s love and admiration for her now deceased aunt.