Canadian faked cancer for cash, Disney trip: report

Fri Aug 6, 2010 2:30pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A woman in the Toronto area has admitted to faking cancer, running a bogus charity and collecting thousands of dollars from people who thought she was dying, a Toronto newspaper reported.

Ashley Anne Kirilow, 23, shaved her head and eyebrows, plucked her eyelashes, and starved herself to look like she was going through chemotherapy treatments, the report in the Toronto Star said.

She befriended different local groups and recruited volunteers to help her organize events and benefit concerts in her own honor, and even convinced a cancer awareness organization -- Skate4Cancer -- to fly her to Disney World to fulfill what she said was a dying wish. All told, she raised C$20,000 ($19,400), volunteers said.

Her charity 'Change' for Cure, was never registered with tax authorities. On its Facebook page, which has over 4,000 members, she said it was "started October 2009 one very late night while I was sick in bed after my 'Chemo Day.'" (here)

The Star said Kirilow contacted the paper, saying she was sorry for what she had done.

"I was trying to be noticed. I was trying to get my family back together. I didn't want to feel like I'm nothing anymore. It went wrong, it spread like crazy, and then it seemed like the whole world knew," the paper quoted her as saying.

(Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Frank McGurty)