Twenty-three year old Ashley Kirilow who went to extreme measures to fake having cancer, including shaving her head, starving herself and plucking her eyebrows, was arrested on Friday.
The New York Daily News
reports that Kirilow, of Burlington, Ontario allegedly bilked family, friends and strangers out of $20,000 for her phony charity, which she said would fund cancer research.
Kirilow turned herself in on Thursday and now could face up to two years behind bars.
She told the Toronto Star
that she faked the illness to get back at her family for her dysfunctional childhood, which included her parents battling over her custody.
"I took it as an opportunity to make my family feel bad for how I was treated."
For over a year, she convinced volunteers to arrange benefits for her and even persuaded a cancer-awareness group to send her to Disney World. She even had her knuckles tattooed with the words "LOVE LIFE" and "WONT QUIT."
The lie began in late 2008 when Ashley was treated for a benign lump in one of her breasts. After that procedure, she began telling people she not only had breast cancer, but liver cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer, all at various stages and in different combinations. She told people she only had a few months to live.
Kirilow said she'd like to pay back those she had taken advantage of. But as for the scammed cash, she said she'd already spent it all.
"I made a really big mistake and it's no ones fault but mine."
Everyone who gave to her did it in cash, and nobody asked for a receipt. Her charity was never registered and consisted of nothing more than a Facebook page.
Over the course of a year, Ashley persuaded a legitimate Toronto-based cancer-awareness organization, led by Newmarket skateboarder Rob Dyer, to fly her to Disney World. Their response to the turn of events,
“Skate4Cancer’s involvement with Ms. Kirilow was based solely on fulfilling what the organization believed to be a legitimate final wish from a terminally ill individual.”
Ashley's friends and followers say they are shocked, betrayed and furious.
But her parents are not surprised, saying the latest allegations follow a behaviour of hers since she was a child. Ashley is manipulative, craves fame, and uses people to get what she wants.
Her father, Mike Kirilow, a self-employed home renovator says
“She loved playing the victim. Because it gave her control over people.”