Ashley Kirilow “Won’t Quit” attention seeking

Volunteers claim Ashley Kirilow raised $20,000, but she say it was less than $5,000.

Today, 23 year old Ashley Kirilow finds herself a universally despised woman. She wasn’t always.

For over a year, Ashley was the center of attention. She was loved and supported by a wide group of young friends, musicians, skateboarders and fundraisers. After all, Ashley was inspiring. She was suffering from cancer  (cancer of the breast, the brain, the liver, the stomach); she had been disowned by drug addicted parents; she was raising money for cancer research, and planned to walk across Canada; despite the ravages of her treatment – painfully thin, no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes – she was beautiful. And, according to the facebook charity she founded, a group with almost 4.500 members, she wanted to “change” the world:

Impossible is a word people use when they are lazy. Nothing is impossible. You are capable of anything you put your heart, mind, body and soul into. Take your dreams and make them a reality. There is no such thing as a dream too big. ♥

Except that none of it was true. Ashley didn’t have cancer. She had no plans to walk across Canada. She kept all of the money for herself. She starved herself, shaved her head, waxed her eyebrows, and plucked her eyelashes.

Ashley’s parents (not dead, not drug addicted) were suspicious of her claims from the beginning. When her father confronted her, she admitted it was all a lie. In April, when she was supposed to be walking to Alberta to deliver the money raised by Change 4 A Cure, her father convinced her to admit herself to a psychiatric unit. He gave her an ultimatum – reveal the scam, or he would out her himself. Finally, he went to the police.

In a statement to The Hamilton Spectator, Ashley’s father sounds resigned, defeated:

“She has a habit of manipulating people to get what she wants, using people and playing the victim card. She’s very good at it,” he said. “She has a certain lifestyle made up in her head that she wanted from way back when. She thinks of herself as a princess and wants to be treated as such. She demands lots of attention and admiration so, with this, I’m sure she was receiving all the admiration she desired.”

He says he has a message for his daughter: “For once in your life, do the right thing, send the money, whatever is there if there is anything, to the University of Alberta and come clean with people. You have a long way to go to make amends and it starts now today.”

And so, Ashley did something that initially seems surprising, but on reflection is entirely predictable. She went to Canada’s largest newspaper, and admitted everything.

“I dug myself a big hole that I couldn’t get out of,” Ashley said. “And there’s nobody to blame but me.”

Munchausen Syndrome

Note to readers: What do you think? Bedlamite or evil grifter? Weigh in via the comments.

15 responses to “Ashley Kirilow “Won’t Quit” attention seeking

  1. Great post LJ! I had thought when you mentioned it that it was pertaining to the woman who was recently sentenced for pretending to have breast cancer. Thanks for giving me a chance to entertain a different perspective. When I read the initial articles about the other woman all I could think was evil and greed, now I wonder if perhaps addict might be more apt. As in addicted to the attention. I will be checking back from time to time to see what else you have to offer as I appreciate your style of writing. I always wanted to be an author as a child, maybe because I love reading so much. Alas I gave up the dream when I realized what an awful writer I am! Oh well, I still have reading right? :P

  2. There are several issues and points-made about her crime/manipulation/con that I find interesting. I can only imagine what it took emotionally, and mentally to keep track of her lies. It must have taken control, discipline and ritual to keep her chemo-stricken body in constant “transformation” to keep her story “real enough” to keep and garner her supporters. From staving herself to have that ultra thin cancer-chemo body, shaving off her hair, waxing, plucking, pulling of eye brows and eye lashes. I’ve seen before and after pictures, she was a pretty girl. And if the opinions of her family members, that she wanted to manipulate situations in her favour because she wanted people to treat her like a princess are true, then the emotional and mental determination she must have had to transform her beauty were strong.

    I propose that she thought she’d not only get away with it because she lacked universal maturity. Understand, she never considered that someone outside of her GTA kms-radius-world would call bullshit on her scam because her support and community were so tight knit. I also propose that the influence (family and friends) she had in her world was not only lacking in a connectivity, which was what probably made her think that no one loved her and everyone was against her but also in boundaries. There is a sadness I have when I read about her upbringing. Bouncing around family members because she didn’t like the rules or discipline. I just wonder how much one of those survival camps boot camps for kids would have helped at a young age.

  3. To the Queen of Light & Joy
    How dare you criticize her family when you know nothing about them save the little snippets in the media! Her family loves her and cares about her. While her parents may have split up when she was young, her mom, dad, stepmom, grandparents and siblings have always been there for her. Ashley is the one who chose to leave home because the rules didn’t suit her. So while you are entitled to your opinion about Ashley, don’t presume to know anything about her home life growing up. Ashley is trying to play the victim card again to diminish the severity of her actions. By claiming a “bad childhood” she hopes it will garner her some sympathy. Believe me, I know, I’m her stepmom.

  4. Her family won’t just step away from the limelight, either. Her parents were interviewed by a Canadian news organization and they couldn’t stop talking about how insane they think their daughter is. And now her stepmom is weighing in on the matter on this random blog. Her family needs to model appropriate behaviour for this stupid, selfish child.

  5. FranceK: I feel as though I need to give you a big hug. I think you misunderstood my reply. I am in no way against you or your family. My words were in response to possible feelings Ashley may have had while growing up. I have worked with “core kids’ for several years, kids who have been thrown aside because the family is dysfunctional, and struggling with addictions. The “throw away kids” as they are referred to. And by mentioning this I should also validate it with the fact that I in no way think Ashley was a throw away kid. She does have many of the traits though. Moving from family to family never staying when things get difficult, or running from problems, creating drama and believing things that are not true but fit into a mold that they have created in their minds.

    Kids like Ashley (I am talking about when she was being raised) need more discipline then most other children, they need very strong boundaries and normally an environment which is conducive to this strict lifestyle until they are able to come into their own maturity.

    I suggested that a a survival boot camp would have benefited her because it would have given humility, strength to love herself, and focus on doing better things with her own life then to look outside for validation and love because “she felt” she did not get it as a young child. This of course is in no way a reflection of what your family did or did not do. I’m quite sure that you gave her everything you could give her. You did your best.

    Of course hindsight is 50-50. We could contemplate for weeks, years, months about what was done and not done while she was growing up. We could even get into a conversation about nature versus nurture. But none of that is helpful at this point in time. The truth is that Ashley did a crazy thing; call it a con, a manipulation, a sickness, whatever label you want to put on it is up to you. And from here what needs to be done is that she needs to get help and with the love and support of her family. I’ve read a couple of things that her sister said and am sure she will eventually get the help she needs to right her life back around. Along, with you going from blog to blog sticking up for her.

  6. I have read the comments made to the media by Ashley’s family and the comments do not seem to resonant with unconditional love a parent should have for a child. Ashley needs to be held accountable for her actions, and she needs to be forgiven. With all the multi culturalism of the GTA and all of the different faiths, forgiveness is taught to most everyone; yet we rarely practice forgiveness.
    The facebook website is full of people inciting hatred against Ashley and that is just wrong. We all need to respect the laws of our country that promote dignity and respect, even a criminal has rights!

  7. I think it is agreeable that Ashley should be held responsible for her actions. I would also be interested knowing whether or not she is going to be tested for Conduct Disorder or Antisocial personality disorder. I think having someone see her in jail and do that would be helpful. I think it would also help her family in their morning/guilt period while they go through this situation. Clearly, they are feeling massively attacked by the public and I can only assume that they have feelings of inadequacy.

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  9. I’ve loved, lost & supported people living with this disease. It’s disgusting that someone would make money from something that’s killing millions of people

  10. Queen of Light and Joy….that is a great post and I agree wholeheartedly. I wish there were more people in this world with your way of thinking. There needs to be more understanding, empathy, forgiveness, and LOVE instead of kicking this girl to the curb. Even though what she did was wrong, she needs help and support more than anything, right now. She definitely has a sickness, just not one that’s visible…and she’ll never get better or see the error of her ways, if all she gets is anger and outrage.

  11. To try and justify such behavior with pseudo-scientific labels to describe evil deviant actions is completely maddening.

    I don’t give a hoot about this girls step mama and family background unless they instilled such twisted morals…nope probably not…more likely this sick little kid is just plain evil…!

  12. Well, gee… why don’t you just throw her in with the scum of society…along with Hitler, Dahmer, Hussein, etc.? Give me a break…the girl made a colossal mistake but I don’t believe for a second that she belongs with what is considered evil! However after reading a few comments, such as “she deserves to die, suffer, etc”., it does make me wonder where other people’s heads are at. Yes, she should be held accountable for her actions but she needs a psychiatric evaluation followed by lots of ongoing councelling…..and perhaps do lots of community service as a way to pay off her debts (including volunteering at a cancer hospital). Bullying and name calling are not going to solve anything…she needs to learn where she went wrong. Yes, I actually do have to wonder where her parents are coming from, especially from the sorry lack of support they have shown her, not to mention her father publicly disowning her. I’m beginning to wonder what this girl had to go through, judging from their extreme negativity and animosity towards her….and only whining about what THEY had to go through. I have to wonder about people who are so quick to defend themselves and cast her as the “dark one”. Sorry but things are not that cut and dried…there is always two sides to everything. I would stand by my kids no matter what…. and believe me… my kids are NO angels. My son has put us through hell and back over the years, but we stuck together and got through it with patience, love, (and yes some tough love) and understanding. I certainly would never have publicly disowned him, regardless of what he did. To me, THAT is disgusting. Do you know what else is disgusting? None of her family showing up in court to show her moral support, even after she begged her Dad to be there….not to mention the fact that a complete stranger had to bail her out. The man who bailed her out was hoping that her family would step forward and rise to the occasion, but of course that wasn’t going to happen. This whole thing is very sad and shocking to say the least.

  13. it is a sad thing to read about but let not one of us throw that stone sure she has done wrong and so has every one of us but we cant look at ourselves that would put a different light on things i have read every one of the comments and beleive me we may not have done what she did but we have con people out of things we have stolen things so what is the differents and if you say you have not done any thing you will lie to your self for the people who know you would say different the thing to do is reach out and help her understand what she did was not right and that you dont except but no we cant do that because we dont feel good about what we have done so how do we makeourselves feel better we look at what some one else has done that makes us feel better and it takes the eyes off us so clean your closet before you clean some one elses only then can you look at some one and see them as needing help try it you just might like it as for the young lady knock this off we the people dont like it ok

  14. Pingback: Ashley Kirilow: The Canadian Face of Munchausen « 40 years of faulty wiring

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