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