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.
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.
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.
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. 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 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.
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.