Vernon “Vito” Johnston stood in the Anza RV Resort Club House before five people to tell the cancer survival story that had brought the small group together.
Johnston, a 65-year-old resident of the park for the last four months, gave the Saturday night talk as a way to introduce a workshop he would hold the following day.
The breezy, lighthearted presentation focused on a disease that – according to the World Health Organization – kills 7.9 million people a year worldwide.
Yet this talk delved into areas that most cancer presentations don’t, as Johnston claims he used unorthodox methods to battle his disease.
Johnston claims a combination of baking soda and deep-breathing techniques cured his cancer.
Known as a ‘poor man’s cancer treatment,’ the use of everyday household sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has been shown to positively lower the acidity and alternately raise the alkaline level in one’s body, say Johnston and some other advocates.
Johnston said he learned of the treatment through many Internet sources. But after a story appeared recently in the Anza Valley Outlook and Valley News, a Missouri man said he is the source of much of the information that Johnston is presenting to groups.
The man said he has qualms about Johnston making dosage recommendations and requesting donations from people who attend his talks.
At his recent Anza talk, Johnston began by offering his listeners orange pH testing strips to place on their tongues.
The saliva-soaked bitter piece of paper helped them gauge the acidic or alkaline levels of their bodies.
Diagnosed with bone cancer in March 2008, Johnston said he originally intended to try a cesium therapy.
But the cesium chloride he ordered got lost in the mail, so he took everyday household sodium bicarbonate mixed with molasses.
Johnston managed to raise his urinary pH to 8.5 for five days continuously. He believes sugar attracts cancer.
By mixing the molasses with the baking soda, Johnston hoped to lure the cancer into meeting its own demise.
“Cancer loves sugar,” he told his audience. “I hate the taste of molasses, but when I was dying, I loved it.”
Johnston said he didn’t tell his doctor about the baking soda treatments because he didn’t know whether his physician would consider the self-medication safe or effective.
In conjunction with the baking soda therapy, Johnston began practicing a technique which he calls ‘PTA breathing.’
He did not state what the letters in the acronym stand for, but he described the activity as “focused breathing for life.”
The breathing activity is done for long periods of time. It is performed by drawing steady, deep flows of oxygen into and out of the lungs.
Johnston said the technique aids in healing all kinds of ailments and a healthy oxygen flow to the body can cause euphoria.
After a visit to his oncologist, Johnson said the doctor was unable to detect any cancer.
The physician was skeptical that bone cancer could be detected one minute and gone the next, so he theorized that it may have traveled to another organ, such as the kidneys, liver or lungs, a common action in bone cancer.
The doctor believed his suspicions were confirmed when he tested Johnston’s lungs and found suspicious spots, Johnston said.
Yet Johnston remains certain that his cancer is in check and he is on the path toward a healthy lifestyle.
Oxygen therapy goes back to the 1930s, when Otto Warburg, a medical doctor and Nobel Prize winner, discovered that cancer cells measured a low respiration rate when compared to normal cells.
Warburg was set on the notion that cancer cells can survive and still grow in a low-oxygen environment, but they would die off if exposed to higher levels of oxygen.
This theory is a popular belief amongst some Internet groups, but many doctors do not believe it is a safe or effective alternative to conventional cancer treatments.
Cesium at a glance
Known as a rare, naturally occurring element of alkali metal, cesium has a comparable chemical structure to lithium, sodium and potassium.
The chloride form of this element is a salt frequently linked to high pH therapy and cancer, which medical experts Keith Brewer, Otto Warburg, H.E. Sartori and others have documented their research.
At the end of Brewer’s article “The High pH Therapy for Cancer Tests on Mice and Humans,” he adds the disclaimer: “The information contained on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individuals suffering from any disease or illness should consult with a physician or health care professional.
“The Brewer Science Library offers Dr. Brewer’s writings for information purposes only and will assume no responsibility or liability for the use of any of the information we offer whether written by Dr. Brewer or others.”
Reason for concern
Johnston’s recent round of talks sparked concerns from a Missouri man who read an advance story, titled “Man to speak about dance with cancer,” that was published in the Anza Valley Outlook and Valley News titled.
Larry Mahem, who resides in Lebanon, Mo., telephoned the jointly produced weekly newspapers after he spotted the story online.
Mahem said he connected with Johnston through a cesium therapy online discussion forum. Mahem said Johnston asked him if he could guide him through the cesium therapy.
Mahem had planned to help Johnston purchase the cesium chloride, but he believed the government was in the process of shutting down their operations.
According to Mahem, Johnston could not afford to pay for the cesium chloride. Given the financial obstacles, Mahem said he guided Johnston through an 18-day process of using a less-expensive baking soda therapy.
Mahem said Johnston later told Mahem that the baking soda therapy had worked and mailed him medical scan results that he said indicated an absence of cancer.
Mahem said he developed the therapy through his personal experimentation in a quest to find a cure for his cancer-stricken wife, who eventually died of the disease.
He cautioned that cesium therapy can be harmful or potentially fatal if done incorrectly.
A miscalculation in a patient’s potassium intake could stop someone’s heart, and cesium chloride advisories say that potassium must be taken during treatments, Mahem warned.
Mahem said the only request that he made of Johnson was he “pay it forward” by guiding someone who suffered the same type of cancer.
He said he was disappointed to read in the newspaper that Johnston was soliciting donations for his advice. That seemed unethical, Mahem said.
Johnston dismissed Mahem’s concerns when questioned by a reporter after his recent Anza presentation.
He said he has been telling his story over campfires for more than a year. It wasn’t his idea to speak to people. His friends encouraged him to tell people of the miracle that he has lived.
Johnston said Saturday’s talk was his fourth formal presentation. Even the act of speaking is therapeutic, he said, and he admitted the need to practice to better hone his presentation skills.
Johnston recalled interacting with a “Larry” while he was doing his baking soda research but did not know whether Mahem was that man.
His next engagement may take him to Palm Springs, Johnston said.
After receiving his recent media attention, and being mentioned a few days later in an article posted on an Internet site run by the International Medical Veritas Association, a nonprofit medical education group, people from a vast area have contacted him with requests to speak at their events, he said.
Johnston said he asks for donations to defray some of his travel expenses. He chuckled when he was questioned on the topic, saying he doesn’t really expect audience members to act on his request.
At the end of Saturday night’s talk, none of the five onlookers had given him any money.
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