Woman who allegedly faked cancer in court

TORONTO - A woman accused of pretending to have cancer in order to raise money for herself is to appear in an Ontario courtroom to face charges on Monday, but her father said she won't have the support of her family.

TORONTO - A woman accused of pretending to have cancer in order to raise money for herself is to appear in an Ontario courtroom to face charges on Monday, but her father said she won't have the support of her family.

"She was pleading for me to be there because she doesn't have anybody else," said Mike Kirilow on Sunday, moments after he got off the phone with his daughter Ashley Kirilow who made a collect call from a detention centre.

"I want no part of this. She told me to stay out of her life. I gave her every opportunity to do the right thing," said a weary Kirilow.

Police allege 23-year-old Ashley Anne Kirilow of Burlington, Ont. organized fundraisers with the help of others who believed her to be terminally ill.

Kirilow turned herself in to police on Friday and was charged with three counts of fraud under five-thousand dollars.

The case has exploded, grabbing international headlines and causing outrage on a Facebook wall for the charity Change for a Cure, which Ashley Kirilow created.

Photos on the website on Saturday showed Kirilow, smiling, but looking sallow as she wore a pink knit hat to cover her apparently bald head. In the picture, Kirilow is making fists with her hands to show off tattoos on her knuckles that in black lettering read "won't quit."

Other photos, which have since been taken down, showed a pair of hands wrapped in tubes and taped in needles.

One published report last week quoted her as saying she was sorry for what she has done.

Ashley Kirilow's mother, Cindy Edwards of Brantford, Ont. said she and her family are distraught, after having tried everything to help her troubled daughter.

"I read so many things...so many people donating, 'oh, we donated our money from school,'" said Edwards, as she cried.

"There was so much money and she's making out like it was nothing. It just makes me really sick," she added.

Mike Kirilow said he and his wife, Ashley Kirilow's stepmother, received a phone call from Ashley in January, 2009, telling her father she had cancer and asking for a bone marrow donation.

Ashley Kirilow's father, mother, stepmother and siblings have been estranged from the young woman since 2005.

Immediately, Kirilow said he and other family members offered to be tested to see if they would be match, but soon he discovered his daughter was not actually being treated at the place she claimed to be receiving her care.

Kirilow then cut off all contact with her father, who said he left messages saying he would contact the police, who could knock down her door to see if she was OK.

Kirilow's wife began following Ashley and her charity on Facebook at the beginning of 2010.

"We knew that she was lying about the cancer. Well, I did in my gut," said Mike Kirilow.

"With the charity we just felt there would be other people involved, so she wouldn't be ripping them off," he added.

Ashley Kirilow made a statement on Facebook this year, saying it would be her last post because she was dying of cancer.

Kirilow called his daughter and after several conversations she revealed to him that she did not have cancer.

"In one of the conversations I said, 'you don't have cancer, do you?' and she said 'no,'" said Kirilow.

He said she told him she shaved her head, shaved her eyebrows and plucked her eyelashes to appear to have the illness.

Soon, Kirilow said volunteers at Ashley Kirilow's charity became suspicious, and began contacting authorities.

"It's caused a lot of embarrassment, and we're ashamed of the situation. I'm not enjoying this notoriety," said Kirilow, who also appeared on Good Morning America on Sunday, disguising his face.

He said he feels compelled to speak out to clarify to the public that no one else involved with the charity knew of illegal activity, adding some people who tried to help Ashley Kirilow have received death threats.

Kirilow said his daughter told him she lied about the cancer to hurt her father and mother.

For Ashley Kirilow's mother, she said the family has been devastated by the Facebook messages and misinformation posted by her daughter.

"From her telling everybody she needed help because she had not family and her mother died from crack or cocaine, and meanwhile she had seven siblings," said Edwards, choking back tears.

"She had family, but she made everyone think she had nobody," said Edwards.

Edwards said she also will not be in a courtroom in Milton, Ont. near Toronto when Ashley appears for a bail hearing.

"I have nothing to do with her anymore," said Edwards.

None of the allegations against Ashley Kirilow have been proven in court.

 
 
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