The Hippie Grifter

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Move aside, Kari Ferrell. There's a new sweet-faced, cancer-faking ingenue on the scene. Today's Toronto Star tells the story of Ashley Anne Kirilow, a troubled 23-year-old who has turned the Canadian "all-ages music and skateboard board scene" upside down with a two-year scheme in which she conned hundreds of Canadian hippies into giving her thousands of dollars to treat her fake cancer. Apparently Ashley — a difficult child whose parents seem to like her not at all — discovered after suffering a benign breast lump in 2008 that people are nicer to you if you have cancer. So she shaved her head and eyebrows, plucked her eyelashes, starved herself sick-skinny, and began telling people she had, variously, brain cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Benefits ensued, donations rolled in to her fake charity, "Change for a Cure," and she even got to go on several fab vacations, including one to Disney World with a "Newmarket skateboarding heartthrob," Rob Dyer. In short, cancer made Ashley incredibly popular. “I thought she was an angel,” one 19-year-old girl told the paper. “I wanted to be a friend for her because she didn’t seem to have anyone.”


When Adam Catley, 22, heard Ashley was broke, alone and dying of cancer, he found her a place to live rent-free with some of his friends.

“Obviously I wanted to do what I could to help her,” Catley said.

On Sept. 27, Catley and a group of friends organized a benefit for Ashley at The Queen’s Head, Catley’s father’s pub in downtown Burlington.

They charged a $20 cover, bands travelled in from out of town at their own expense, Labatt donated the beer, staff donated all of their tips, and the bar itself donated the night’s profits.

Proceeds totalled almost $9,000, Catley said, and he gave the cash to Ashley in an envelope the next day.

Photos from the event show Ashley completely hairless, with a scarf around her head. “She’s good, I’ll tell you that,” said Catley. “She had me 100 per cent.”

This is, of course, the problem with using "faking cancer" as your means of being loved. When people find out it's not real, then they pretty much hate you.

Woman faked cancer to raise money [Star]