23 Year Old Fakes Cancer to Bilk Money

Posted by jg on September 1st, 2010 in Category News from Canada (no responses)

In a really sad story from the Toronto, Canada area – Ashley Kirilow has admitted she shaved her head, plucked her eyelashes and starved herself to appear as a chemotherapy patient at benefit concerts held for her.

The 23-year-old woman who faked having cancer, ran a bogus charity and scammed hundreds of people of at least $13,000, says she did it to get back at her parents for a miserable childhood.

“I took it as an opportunity to make my family feel bad for how I was treated,” she said.

Ashley Anne Kirilow said she is sorry for what she has done. Currently unemployed, she said she has spent the money but when she gets a job she will save enough to cover what she stole.

“I can’t possibly give it back to every single person, but I can give it to charity,” she said.

Jamie Counsell, who organized two benefit concerts for Kirilow in Newmarket earlier this year, said he doesn’t accept her apology. “She should be sorry, it doesn’t excuse her.”

Counsell, 17, started raising money for various cancer charities after his guitar teacher — local legend Red Shea — died of pancreatic cancer two years ago.

“For her to take advantage of this disease, but also insult the people who have gone through this, it’s disturbing,” he said.

Kirilow cried throughout Friday’s wide-ranging interview.

Her hands — tattooed with the words “WONT QUIT” and “LOVE LIFE” across her knuckles — shook as she smoked cigarettes and recounted how everything began when she told a few friends that a benign lump in her breast was actually cancer.

Her lies escalated to the point where she shaved her head, plucked her eyebrows and starved herself to appear at benefit events as a chemotherapy patient. In October she started Change for a Cure, a supposed charity that consisted of little more than a Facebook group.

Volunteers say $20,000 was given to Kirilow through Change for a Cure, but Kirilow said it was $4,000 at the most. The group is collecting testimonials from anyone who made a donation so they can provide detailed evidence to police. They say their count is already more than $5,000.

All of the money raised for Kirilow was handed to her in cash. There are no receipts.

Kirilow does not dispute the $9,000 raised for her at a benefit held at a Burlington pub last September, before she started Change for a Cure.

“It was nice to have people care about me,” she said about the event held at The Queen’s Head pub. “At the same time, I felt really horrible.”

Kirilow said she has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She showed a reporter two prescription pill bottles with her name printed on it: one was an antidepressant; the other an antipsychotic that is often used to treat bipolar disorder.

Kirilow said when she first started Change for a Cure she had intended to donate the money as promised, but then ran into money trouble. She declared bankruptcy in January after running up more than $30,000 in credit card and loan debts.  Just horrible, what a nasty way to steal money.

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