Sally’s Shocking Story of How She Was Almost Destroyed By NXIVM High Rank and How Dr. Danielle Roberts Helped Save Her Life

Sally Gindel from her Go Fund Me page

A word of explanation is needed here. The writer, Sally Gindel, is known to many readers by her married name: Sally Brink. Sally was a major whistleblower providing critical information about NXIVM and their method of bookkeeping.  Gindel is her married name.

As readers know, Sally had cancer and the leaders of NXIVM had some intriguing ideas about what caused it, how she might cure it, and the ethics of accepting help.  It was reported to Frank Report that Nancy Salzman at one point suggested that Sally who had breast cancer – a sign in NXIVM’s world of low self-esteem – that it might be more ethical to die.

Sally herein clarifies this – to point out that while Nancy may have said it, it was her husband, Damon, who she understood to have carried the message of the higher-ups: Nancy and presumably her lord and master, Keith Raniere.

Much of the debate when Sally had cancer centered around the ethics of her accepting money raised on GoFundMe – some $45,000  – for her cancer treatment – which it appears the high rank at NXIVM felt was highly unethical.

Sally did use the money, got help from Dr. Danielle Roberts, far-famed for her branding DOS slaves and having to fight to keep her medical license, and went into remission. She also left NXIVM.

She gave her compelling story at the sentencing hearing of Clare Bronfman: Cancer Survivor, Sally Brink’s Statement at Clare Bronfman Sentencing: ‘You’ve Caused so Much Destruction in so Many Lives’

In the post below, Sally is offering another chilling and invaluable insight into NXIVM. It is a pleasure to publish it coming as it does from an extremely articulate and well-balanced source.

By Sally Gindel

I decided to write this to clarify the most republished quote from my interviews: “They told me that the ethical thing to do would to be to die instead of taking the Go Fund Me money.”

A few times, this was attributed to Nancy Salzman, but that isn’t true. I don’t remember speaking with Nancy after my diagnosis in January 2017. As Frank has clarified in a past article, there were others who told him that she said that to them directly.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that is true. It was rare that higher ranks said things to you directly. It was usually a higher rank saying something to a lower rank and suggesting that they “give some person the feedback.” I know this from experience having been asked to tell people in the community things that were not my experience of them. And when I said no, I was told that I had an “issue” with giving feedback. Not true. I have an “issue” giving feedback to someone when it isn’t my feedback. And then I was told to go get an EM.

Nancy Salzman did not tell Sally directly that she might be better off dying ethically, but she was known to tell students that breast cancer is a sign that a person has low self-esteem and may be seeking attention. Sadly, Nancy herself contracted breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy.

Another way to think about it is a Mafia Don who has only a few trusted people in his circle. He whispers things into their ears and those things become orders, or rules to follow. Even though no one heard it from the Don himself, you know to follow the orders, the rules, the “wisdom,” or else. I believe that this is how Keith Raniere [KR] was able to keep his many secrets as people didn’t hear things directly from him. He had his trusted circle. I believe that he even compartmentalized information within that circle based on people’s boundaries.

It is important to understand this aspect of how information was spread and protected within the community. People who were never in ESP don’t understand how we didn’t know what was going on. Have you ever experienced a family secret? One that was kept for decades? Or known someone whose family had a secret and when they learned it, changed their perception of their family life forever? People in ESP were good at keeping secrets (aka “speaking with honor”) and the inner circle would do anything to protect KR at all costs. And some of them still are doing just that.

The late Pamela Anne Cafritz a few months before she died of renal cancer

Right after Pamela Cafritz’s services in January 2017, I found a lump in my breast that seemingly came out of nowhere. It was large. I reached out to Dr. Brandon Porter, who found and schedule a free mammogram through a local hospital. That decision saved my life. Dr. Porter was there to assist me and my husband with the complexities of the health care system and to review the results of the biopsy and scans. Never at any time did Dr. Porter suggest that I forgo chemotherapy or any treatments for that matter. He guided us with information NOT suggestions. I am forever grateful for his care and support.

Former Medical Doctor, Brandon Porter

At the end of January, the results of biopsy and scans showed that I was at stage 2. I was told I had time to consider my options. I started looking at all my options with a team of people in ESP, led by Dr. Danielle Roberts. (This team also helped save my life.) I also had two oncologists outside of ESP; one in Troy, NY and one in Long Island.

At this time, I was living paycheck to paycheck with no health insurance. My youngest sister said that she and my sisters were going to start a Go Fund Me, but I asked them not to; they said if I didn’t set it up, they would. I KNEW the backlash from the Espian community was going to be huge and I wasn’t sure I could handle it. I could barely handle the diagnosis and all of the information on care options.

I agreed to the Go Fund Me for many personal reasons, which I will not get into here.

The response from the ESP community was divided; many people reached out to me directly for my bank account information as they didn’t want to be seen on Go Fund Me by the “higher-ups”. Some people told me they were told not to donate. On the other side, many people donated from ESP not only their money, but other resources. They helped drive me to appointments, be with me after chemo treatments, clean our house, bring over food, care for my child, foot rubs, conversations.

The list is long and was mostly the lower ranks. Many of them too, told me that they were told not to support me. Many higher ranks who I was close with, including the person who enrolled me into ESP, didn’t contact me at all but were in a Telegram feed with access to all of the updates and information on my care.

The response from the Go Fund Me was overwhelming. I raised over $45,000 for treatment and care. I did the numbers and over ½ of the money donated was from people in ESP. I am and will always be, forever grateful.

By mid-March, I was told that if I didn’t start chemotherapy right away, I would die. It was an aggressive breast cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The oncologist said that it was either stage 3 or 4, they weren’t sure. It didn’t matter because they would treat it with the same chemotherapy called AC for short. AC was the strongest chemotherapy treatment at that time for breast cancer. So strong that it has to be given via a port as it would destroy the veins. You can only receive this treatment once in a lifetime.

I was terrified. I want to get this across as best as I can; I was scared that I was going to die. I was scared that this community I was deeply involved in for so many years was a sham. I already had my doubts, but this situation reinforced my fears. People who I had been friends with or worked with for years just stopped all direct communication with me. I was losing a surrogate family all in the blink of an eye.

Dr. Danielle Roberts

Dr. Roberts asked me what my goal was so that we could measure how I was doing.

I told her I wanted to be cancer-free in 90 days.

I’ll never forget her saying, “OK. Let’s do it.”

Dr. Roberts had no doubt in her voice when she said that to me. She and many others in ESP helped me achieve that goal.

On June 1, 2017, my surgeon told me that my scans did not show any cancer. Dr. Roberts helped save my life. Do you know what it is like to owe someone your life? And not just one person, many? Do you know what it was like to find out that your Doctor was branding people while helping you cure your body of cancer?

You can’t imagine what it was like to find out about DOS before the Frank Report exposed it, knowing that other people on your team who were treating you were participating in DOS. Terrifying? Absolutely. BUT, Dr. Roberts was an incredible Doctor and I owe her my life. As well as the team of people who supported me. That is why I have always offered to testify for her with her case with the State of New York.

Now to the conversation about the Go Fund Me monies: During the time when I was considering treatment, my husband, Damon, came home from two meetings; one with a Higher Rank and the other was with two men in his SOP Group. We were in a conversation about the money. How I remember it is most likely not how it happened. I am more than willing to say that now. I don’t know if I could have said this two years ago. But continued therapy and the healing process has brought me to this article today.

Damon Brink

Damon and I continue to have conversations about how sad and hurt he was that the media has clung to that quote. His perspective and his remembrance have not been published. How Damon remembers it is totally different from how I remember it. He remembers having a conversation like we had in the training The Ethicist, where you would challenge yourself to find your values by asking hard questions like, “Would you die for a principle? Would you die for a cause? Would you die for another person?” All I remember hearing is, “You should die instead of taking the Go Fund me money.” But what if he said, “Would you die instead of taking the Go Fund Me money?” It changes everything.

I don’t think that mentally I was in any position to be having that conversation. I was full of fear. I was scared of dying. I was scared of leaving my child motherless. I couldn’t think straight.

All I heard was, “You should die instead of taking the Go Fund Me money.”

Is that what he said? I don’t think so. Probably not. Was he trying to harm me? NO. He was doing the most loving thing he could think of at the time. He was doing his best. He did not want his wife and mother of his child to die. I truly believe that this situation was very hard for him and he was doing the most loving thing he could think of. I couldn’t see it then. I see it now.

The bottom line is that I hurt Damon and many of the people who helped support me. For that, I am sorry. What I hope this article brings to people is a small taste of the complexity of the ESP community. It was NOT ALL BAD. And it was NOT ALL GOOD. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

NXIVM teaches Executive Success Programs.

I joined ESP because I wanted a better life for myself and to improve my relationships with my family, friends, employees and, ultimately, the world. In my time in ESP, I most likely hurt people. Just like the majority of people in ESP, we didn’t do it intentionally. It was messy but we were trying to do the right actions. Not everyone who took ESP had a bad experience. Most people never even met KR. If 16,000+ people took the courses, maybe 3,000, over time, were fully involved on the stripe path. Maybe 4,000. The point is that many people took the courses and then went on with their lives and are better for it.

I am thankful for the cancer. I am thankful for my time in ESP. They were both gifts. Without those two experiences, I would never have understood how I abnegated my personal power and how to reclaim it.

So what happened in ESP? It is definitely not as bad as the media has made it out to be. There were so many beautiful and amazing experiences and people. Then there were things going on that most of us never knew about. Some people were hurt and are still trying to heal. This is incredibly sad and I am still pained from what I learned over the years about what many experienced. Some people think there was nothing bad happening. That KR did everything from a place of love. Some people think it was all bad. That KR is the devil and everything he did was to abuse and torture people. The truth about ESP? It is probably somewhere in the middle.

Nancy teaching an intensive


The High Rank: Nancy Salzman, with Mark Vicente, Alex Betancourt, Karen Unterreiner, Clare Bronfman, Lauren Salzman and Emiliano Salinas.


The Highest Ranked of them all – Keith Alan Raniere with his second in command, Nancy Salzman
Clare Bronfman with Keith Raniere. They did not seem to agree that Sally should take any Go Fund Me monies. What was their motive behind this “ethical” stand?


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  • I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that made it possible for me to help Mrs. Brink in the way that I did. I had two amazing RN’s from the community (you know who you are) who were willing to step up at a moment’s notice to pull together a team and in-home clinic for Mrs. Brink. You both made yourselves available whenever Mrs. Brink or myself needed you. You were my right and left hand; from making sure we had supplies for IV drips to making sure they were all mixed precisely and administered with care. Thank you.

    I also wanted to thank Keith and Lauren. You both played a key part in helping Mrs. Brink overcome her resistance to using chemotherapy as a short term tool to slow the progression of this very aggressive cancer. Without your help I likely wouldn’t have been able to persuade Mrs. Brink to use the chemo therapy quickly enough to save her life. Your EM technology allowed Mrs. Brink to resolve a confusion and internal struggle she was having between conventional and “natural” medicines. It bought the team and I enough time help Mrs. Brink get to the cause of her illness and set the stage for her body to heal more fully. It also allowed her to make the decision with more congruency. This is a big struggle for many who believe chemotherapy is a poison (and rightly so). I have seen patients who spite it lose their lives (when they didn’t have to) in order to adhere to a purely natural methodology – and, I have seen those who abuse their bodies just use the chemo (without looking to address the cause) further poison their bodies destroying their quality of life. It is a tough balance and difficult decision. One that in this case determined life or death. One that Mrs. Brink was able to make correctly with grace, less fear, less struggle and less self judgement because of your technology. What a gift. Thank you Keith for suggesting I ask for Lauren’s assistance immediately and for your work and effort to create the EM technology that helped her. Thank you Lauren for making yourself available so quickly and at no cost to Mrs. Brink, and for all the time, effort, and study you put in to build the precision and skill necessary to help her and so many of us.

    Mrs. Brink I’m so glad you are doing well.

    We were all so blessed to have experienced and been a part of such a skilled, dedicated and caring community. I love you all. Thank you.

  • I joined ESP because I wanted a better life for myself and to improve my relationships with my family, friends, employees and, ultimately, the world. In my time in ESP,

  • There is a star twinkling across the sky, and her name is Sally Brink. There is so much good heart and deep thinking, receptivity, and the light from this is so beautiful. I have a soft spot for her and for her loved ones.

    The elements of her Nxivm experiences are uniquely her own and feel true from her, as she writes about it all. Her struggles have been so real and Sally Brink feels refreshingly genuine, as she expresses her ongoing impressions and experiences. Much respect to her.

  • Both Dr Porter and Dr Roberts responded appropriately given that both were bound to the hippocratic/osteopathic oath.

  • NXIVM had the best intentions. Thank god Sally is cured. Could it be that Keith healed her ?

  • I found the comments on how feedback was passed down from people like Nancy Salzman through coaches interesting. Imagine hearing from a coach you trust advice you think is only meant to help you reach your goals when it is really an effort to control you from on high. As much as we focus on the horrible abuse that Raniere engineered, for most people, NXIVM really was more of a long con. Raniere wasn’t some genius scientist or philosopher. He was a failed pyramid scheme creator and C student. Nancy Salzman wasn’t helping you reach your goals. She was pushing you into giving up more and more to benefit Keith and the company. The company is set up so most people fail which means you need more and more help which they are more than happy to provide for a price that just keeps going up. Even as Nancy, Lauren, Alison, etc have pled guilty to various schemes, there are still people who haven’t re-evaluated their perceptions of what was taking place. I hope everyone takes some time to rethink their experiences and keep in mind that while inside the group information was severely limited. It is going to take a lot of effort to reveal the truth when a lot of people were acting a concerted way to deceive you.

  • Sounds like a fair and balanced article. (And made me glad everyone has free health care in the UK – well not free as we pay heaps of taxes towards it, but free at the point of receipt – but the US has 5x the number of people the UK has so not easy to compare really).

    What is the group’s objection to begging (which in effect is what gofundme is)? I presume it is not that they think people should not have medical treatment (which would be a view of some fundamentalist groups and “Christian Scientists”).

    • Did you know about EDUCO, another NLP-based Human Potential group, which is currently recruiting in the UK and had it’s own leader going by the name Vanguard?

  • Thank you, Sally and Damon. Blessings and prayers for you. Please keep sharing if you can do so without risk to yourselves and family. These nuances are important to get to the truth and while it can be cathartic, it is not without risk in the wrong hands.

    “The Truth will set you free.”

  • So Dr. Porter and Danielle went against the NXIVM high-ups to help Sally. They acknowledged something was wrong with the organization and the people running it, as they wanted to help their friend. It’s unbelievable they turned their head to that fact that they wanted her to lay down and die and accept the cancer was her fault. They still got in deeper to the point of losing their medical licenses because of their actions in relation to NXIVM. When did their compassion change from wanting to care for people, as doctors should, to being happy to abuse people? The mind boggles.

  • I am truly sorry this woman has suffered so much.

    This reads like a public apology to her husband and some key Nxians.

    It reflects well on the author but accidentally leaves the opposite impression of those it was intended to please.

    After you’ve gone through a cancer scare, you don’t need to be the one apologizing for the bizarre circumstances created by freaky Nxivm.

    And all true friends, spouse and family should be there to help you. That’s wonderful that they came through, but hardly more than what’s expected. It is gracious of you to continue to express gratitude. And I, too, am so pleased you made it to the other side.

    But ultimately YOU got You through it. With some much-needed and deserved help.

    So happy that you are free of Nxivm now too. Free if 2 cancers! Good for you. Best wishes.

  • Just a person still wondering about the two females that fetched Keith’s ice cream while he waited in the automobile?!

    As reference, it was on Rt. 9, ten minutes away from the house.

    Was this a one time thing or ritualistic?

    I’m guessing this was an after-work treat!

    Was the motor running when you came back to bring him I understand why ya’ll stopped there.

    All the best and with much love,


  • Damon – you are an embarrassment to man. Protect your wife asshole.

    btw Sally – very courageous and admirable the confessions you have made knowing that it must be hard and you may get trolled. One thing you should realize though, keith was not part good, there is no middle there. You didn’t have health insurance because keith didn’t care if any of you lived or died. He used your husband as a tool to watch you die. He is an asshole and that is why he is in prison for 120 years.

  • Great to see the messy, non black and white, nuanced truth about NXIVM, and the individual human beings in it, published here.


      • I’ve seen a lot of direct rip-offs of NXIVM.

        “You’re being Suppressive”

        “The Tech”

        “Not Ethical” – meaning “You’re not doing what we tell you to do”

        Push back means “you have issues” therefore you need an “EM”. In Scientology this is “You have overts (sins) and you need to write them up (a Maoist confessional procedure). Or, this is your bank (reactive mind) talking – you need to get auditing. It’s a complete gaslighting, personal attack of “you’re insane if you don’t do what we tell you”..

        Lots of other things as well.

        I’m not an expert on NXIVM, and the whole thing is fascinating to me – including the fact that 99.99% of Nixians, like Scientologists, are good people who have never harmed anyone and never would. And they get accused of the crimes that the leaders committed which were kept secret from them.

        None of this is black and white. And I appreciate Frank’s non-tribalism, allowing people to speak the nuanced truth here on his blog.

        That is a very different thing to the AntiScientology world these days. AntiScientology, on different internet fora, is almost as controlled as Scientology. No nuance is allowed.

        So it’s nice to see people telling the truth here.


  • ESP courses are crap, most groups have beautiful things because many people are beautiful. NXIVM was a poisonous criminal organization, and that Is a fact.

  • Dear Damon Brink-

    A true man lives by his words and actions. When he has misspoken or caused harm, he owns his mistakes, and asks for forgiveness or seeks redemption.

    Damon Brink, you, will never be a true man. Instead, you take the coward’s way out.

    Damon, you, claim “my wife misinterpreted my words.”

    When your wife is dying, you don’t talk about ethics. You talk about love and what you’re going to do to keep her alive.
    WTF is wrong with you?

    “You should die instead of taking the Go Fund me money.”- Damon Brink

    I would have a hell of a lot more respect for you if you own your words, apologized, and asked for forgiveness. In other words, act like a man.

    • Easy there, anonymous. When someone is diagnosed with terminal cancer, it throws the family into terrible confusion, with only two outcomes: a loved one is going to die, or saving the loved one will cost so much money it could destroy the family through other means. Pray that you never have to experience it.

      • Anonymous 2:03-

        A few things:

        1. Damon Brink questioned the ethics of a GoFundMe.

        2. Damon Brink found a way to spend thousands of dollars on NXIVM courses.

        3. Bankruptcy is worse for a family than losing a mother and a wife?

        4. “A loved one is going to die” and “money” — we aren’t talking about an 80 year old grandmother. We’re talking about a woman that had a child. I lost a parent at a young age. You are the one talking out your [redacted].

        I pray you never have the power of life and death of anyone. Because, clearly, your cable tv package is more important.

        • Don’t have cable, threw out the TV with the antenna years ago.

          It’s pretty clear you’ve never experienced a loved one having terminal cancer and the impact on the family. I pray you never have to experience it. It takes years to recover even after the patient is cured.

          Go easy on the judgments. You know not of what you speak

          • Anonymous 6:31 pm

            Ahem! Damon Brink still stands by Keith Raniere and NXIVM. The same group of people, who, according to Damon, told him, his wife shouldn’t receive cancer treatment.
            Do you pray? You talk about letting a mother and wife die over debt. Unless you are a Christian Scientist, you aren’t Christian.

            “You know not of what you speak.”
            We aren’t in a Shakespearean melodrama. It’s real-life! Take the drama to the theater.

  • KR is a malignant narcissist. I may not have a degree in psychology, but I’ve had professional help to recognize and deal with the malignant narcissists in my life. That includes my time spent with KR and the harm it did me. Gaslighting is a tool used by such people. As in, “You’re not remembering correctly”, “I never said that”, etc. KR groomed people in his wake to follow his “techniques”. The closer you were to him and/or the more he wanted from you, the greater the effect of his churn. Sally may never completely recover what the “truth” was of her situation at that time.

    I have no doubt there were many good people who were caught in KR’s wake and trying to use his “techniques” as applied through their own internal filters. In Sally’s place, I would not place much faith in anyone who has not yet recognized what KR is and what he has done to the people around him. Sometimes that means you can no longer allow them in your life if you wish to remain healthy. You can hold a place for them in your heart without allowing them into your head. And sometimes that place in your heart will have to remain empty.

    Just to clarify, I do not include KR in that. He is where he needs to be, and while I think our penal system is suspect, I hope he will be treated as a human being. Beyond that, it’s good he’s gone.

      • Appreciate that reminder, too, L. Have you ever noticed how narcissists tend to gang up? They’re like sharks drawn to their own lifeblood supply.

        One thing I’d put on Keith’s downfall list that few seem to acknowledge is that he always needs an adoring (or so he imagined) audience, a camera to play to and capture all his brilliantly destructive, malignant schemes.

        Why would someone admit (on camera) to having people killed were he “guilty” of that crime? Why would someone take pics of his underage virgin conquests were he guilty of pedophilia? Why would he boast of planting emotional “triggers” and inducing states of cognitive dissonance were he suspected of being involved in the deaths and “disappearances” of former acolytes?

        Nothing like a global stage starring world class ass for a narcissist worth his or her salt to dance on graves.

  • You don’t need to be a saint to be a good doctor. Monsters can also be good doctors, but they are still monsters. This reads like excuses are mad for somebody who is not all bad, but just a bit, like a mass murderer who let a few of his victims live.

    • Agree, Vals Loeder,

      Danielle isn’t an oncology doctor, anyway. It sounds more like she served as a cheerleader and guide through the medical channels that normally an insurance company and your network would provide.

      And who wouldn’t do that for someone in desperate need if they were able?

    • Exactly. Roberts wasn’t her oncologist, not by a long shot. And good doctors are certainly not saints. I see that clearly in my workplace of the last 6 years.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083