Man Who Survived Without Chemo: 'I'd Still Fight'

Man who ran to avoid chemo in 1996 says he'd help mom and teen now on the lam.

ByABC News
May 22, 2009, 11:29 AM

May 23, 2009 — -- Billy Best ran away from home in Norwell, Mass., in 1994 to avoid chemotherapy, and today he offered conflicting words of support and opposition to Daniel and Colleen Hauser. The mother and son, who are from Minnesota, are now part of an international police search after they fled a judge's court-ordered chemotherapy Monday for Daniel.

Jason Seidl, chief deputy at the Brown County Sheriff's office in Minnesota, affirmed Saturday that the pair last were spotted near the Tijuana-California border. However Seidle said it's unknown whether they actually crossed the border into Mexico.

"They're avoiding a court order, which is against the law, so they shouldn't do that," Best told ABC's "Good Morning America." "But it's also a mother who's looking out for her family. You know, somewhere in between there's an answer."

Best eventually returned home where authorities allowed him to pursue his choice of alternative treatments.

"I ran away because I believe the chemo was poisoning me and it would kill me before it cured me," said Best.

In the past Best claimed that roots, Indian rhubarb and slippery elm helped him stay cancer-free, but told "GMA" on Saturday he "used something called 714-X."

"That's not an issue here," said Best, who instead critiqued the widely circulated statistic that Daniel Hauser's cancer would have 90 percent cure rate with chemotherapy.

When asked whether he would help the family if they contacted him, Best said he would.

"I would because it's something that's so close to me," he said. "It's been, almost, 15 years and to see today someone fighting for those same -- freedoms. I thought we were past that."

"I'd fight. I'd fight for that freedom," he said.

Best was 16 when he fled to Houston to escape treatment for Hodgkin's disease, according to The Associated Press. He returned home only after his parents promised that they would not force him to have the treatments.

Late Wednesday, the AP reported that Best denied he was with Hauser and her son, saying that he had not spoken to them since they fled.

As of Saturday the Hausers are still on the run instead of fighting the Minnesota courts.