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Stay Away from Cancer Frauds

Lori Hoeksema

In March 2002, James Gary Davidson pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud with respect to curing cancer. In September, he was sentenced to prison. He had spent many years preying on the emotions of the terminally ill and their families. My family was one of them, and I'd like to share our story.

In January 1996, my dad spent 10 days in McMinnville, Tennessee, at a makeshift "clinic" with James Gary Davidson, who claimed to cure cancer. Up until that point, my dad had received one chemo treatment, as well as a 14 pill chemo regamin. When Dad learned of Davidson, he stopped all conventional cancer treatment, hoping that Davidson has the cure.

Davidson manufactured a machine which he claimed -- through the alleged use of North and South magnets -- could turn cancer cells into protein that would exit the body via urination. He also claimed to be a doctor and represented himself as such. During the 10-day stay, my dad grew increasingly weak and suffered loss of appetite. My mom had accompanied him to the clinic and she watched with great anxiety as Dad's health deteriorated. Upon receiving this magnetic treatment twice a day during the course of his stay, Dad was told by Davidson to go to the Florida coast for a few weeks to breath the sea air. My parents rented a condo on the coast, and Dad's health continued to grow worse. Eventually, my mom felt the time had come for Dad to return home to Michigan. An uncle flew down to drive my parents back home. My dad would not agree to this, unless my uncle promised to stop in McMinnville. Reluctantly, he did so. My dad's last visit to Davidson's clinic proved to be a disaster. When Davidson put my father on the table and ran the magnetic machine across his body, the force of the magnets was so great that it broke Dad's femur bone. Davidson denied any wrongdoing and didn't help in obtaining medical attention for Dad. My mom and uncle were somehow able to get him to a hospital, and from there he returned home via an air ambulance. This cost my mom a great deal of money, because insurance does not cover such a thing. It also caused my family a great deal of emotional turmoil.

During this time period, because I had lost contact with my parents, I placed a call to Davidson's clinic in Tennessee. I had spoken with my parents several times during their 10-day stay and had kept the phone number. I was surprised that Davidson answered the phone when I called. He went on to tell me that he was unsure where my parents had headed. He told me that he had read my dad's x-rays and that Dad did not have cancer. He stated that my dad had arthritis. A little over two months after Dad first stepped into Davidson's clinic, dad passed away. At the time of his death, the cancer was in his lungs (2 spots), liver, and spine. His death certificate clearly states that cancer was the cause of death.

Cancer is a very devastating disease for an entire family to face, but having someone prey on the emotions of the terminally ill is even worse. During Dad's stay at Davidson's clinic, Dad repeatedly shared stories of cancer victims who had appeared to improve dramatically before his eyes. I can only explain this to be wishful thinking. As Mom witnessed, all of the cancer patients who were at the clinic while she was there, have all passed away. Davidson is the truest form of a scam artist, in the most dispicable way. My parents wasted $50,000 for my dad to obtain this treatment. While Davidson agreed to restitution upon his guilty plea, that is not what my family cares about. We care that he is stopped from hurting other families. As it stands, he will be sentenced on July 26, 2002, with a minimum of 70 months in prison. This is what we have waited to hear for 6 years.

Davidson also became the proprietor of the Monterrey Wellness Center in Mexico. When the FDA confiscated his machine in Tennessee, he just moved his operation out of the United States. I implore anyone who is considering his type of treatment to please stay away! No magnetic device can cure cancer. You will spend thousands of dollars to buy hope -- but you will leave your loved ones to face the truth.

On September 13, 2002, Davidson deposited $675,000 with the court and was sentenced to 88 months in federal prison, to be followed by 2 years of supervised release. My family will get back its $50,000, but, more important, he has been stopped.

It is possible that the Mexican clinic will stay in business when Davidson enters prison. Davidson's wife was released from the indictment (part of his plea bargain), and she is capable of running the clinic. Anyone searching for an alternative cancer cure should seek the truth before investing one cent. People like him can look you in the eye as they take your money and not even bat an eyelash. They know you are grabbing at straws, and they will take advantage of your situation. I can not convey to you the anguish, saddness, grief, and emotional turmoil that my family endured at Davidson's hands. It is greater than words can describe. I would not want to see another family face such an ordeal as we had to face.

If I have reached just one individual, then I feel my story has served it's purpose. As difficult as it is to relive, it is more important to alert others to people like Davidson and their fraudulent acts.

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This article was revised on September 15, 2002.