Family can't support alleged cancer faker, dad says
When the young Ontario woman accused of faking terminal cancer to raise money for herself appears in court, she'll be there without the support of her family.
Ashley Kirilow, 23, is due to appear in court Monday morning to face three charges of fraud under $5,000.
She has spent the weekend in police custody since she walked into a Halton Regional Police Service station in Oakville on Friday to turn herself in.
Responding to reports of his daughter's incarceration, Kirilow's father said Sunday he was ashamed that his daughter would fake an illness to gain sympathy.
"Hopefully she will pay," Mike Kirilow said in an interview during which his face was hidden.
"You're ashamed," he said. "This is your child."
In fact, he was the one who blew the whistle after confirming his long-held suspicion that the local hospital had no record of his daughter's cancer treatment.
"I didn't call her on the cancer until April of this past year," Kirilow expained. "She claimed to me that she did it in order to hurt myself and her mother."
Kirilow's parents divorced when she was young, but her father insists she grew up surrounded by loving siblings before moving out on her own five years ago.
Now, Mike Kirilow says his daughter's gone too far.
"We would love to support her, but we cannot because of the lies and basically the hell she has put us through."
Last fall, Ashley Kirilow is alleged to have started the Facebook Group page "'Change' for a Cure". Having shaved her head and plucked her eyebrows, she proceeded to convince people she was dying.
In an interview with The Toronto Star, Kirilow said she was just "trying to be noticed."
"I didn't want to feel like I'm nothing anymore. It went wrong. It spread like crazy," she told the paper.
Since the alleged deception was uncovered, Kirilow's Facebook page has seen hundreds of people voicing their anger about the alleged scam, calling it "disgusting."
New details are also emerging about the lengths to which Kirilow went to convince others of her supposed illness.
Pictures show Kirilow devoid of hair, eyebrows and even eyelashes. Other photos from her now-deleted MySpace page show a wrist tattoo with the words "love," "dream," and "cure" inked into small, colourful hearts.
She even feigned disgust when she was once offered a cigarette, recalled friend Matt Vardy.
Vardy told ABC News that her response to the smoker's offer was harsh: "No, I'm dying of cancer you idiot!"
Despite the public acrimony over the case, many who bought into Kirilow's story feel betrayed and hurt.
A teen named Jamie Counsell posted on his blog that Kirilow's charity group managed to collect about $20,000 under the premise that the money would be sent to the University of Alberta for research into cancer.
"As many of you know, I have done a lot of work in the past with ‘Change' For a Cure. I personally raised over $1,500 by running two local shows at the Sharon Hall. These shows saw so much love, and so much talent," Counsell wrote.
"I am writing this to inform you of some news that I am sure will raise some questions. We have been contacted by family members of Ashley Kirilow, the founder and director of ‘Change' For a Cure, who have told us that Ashley never had cancer."
Kirilow's father said that some who were tricked into helping in the alleged scheme are being re-victimized as news of the story spreads.
"They did nothing wrong and yet they're receiving death threats," he said.
"As a parent I'm very ashamed and embarrassed by this."
With files from CTV Toronto's John Musselman