*Disclaimer: It has recently come to our attention that Ashley Kirilow allegedly lied about having cancer and that her charity was a hoax. Youth Are Awesome does not support this behaviour, nor do we condone it. We support youth that are doing good things with good intentions. We have decided to leave this post up as an example of what not to do, and promote that it is possible for youth to accomplish great things, but only if they have good intentions.
Please see our new post for more information.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to Ashley Kirilow, the founder of “Change” For a Cure (C4AC). C4AC is an organization that encourages everyone to save the change they find – whether it be in their pockets, in the seat cushions, or on the sidewalk – in order to help find a cure for cancer. The organization also holds various concerts and events to help fundraise, but I’ll let Ashley – who was inspired by the Skate4Cancer project and is even planning to walk across the country to raise funds for her cause – tell you more about it
Youth Are Awesome: I have to ask, what is your favourite type of cheese?
Ashley Kirilow: Haha, I don’t really like cheese, but I like these things called “Cheese Balls”…the jalapeno one. It’s this big ball of soft cheese you spread onto crackers. Yum!
YAA: How did you decide where all of our saved “change” would be donated too?
A: Being a cancer patient myself, and struggling with finding a treatment that worked for my body and types of cancer I have [Ashley has breast, brain and stomach cancer], the search for a cure has always been my goal. Then I heard about DCA, a cancer fighting drug proven to help cure cancer 70% better then any chemo out there. I just had to help fund it.
YAA: Did you think this organization would take off as quickly as it did?
A: No way!! It has been up for maybe a month and a half and I’m ALMOST at 3000 supporters world wide, many of which have already started their “Change” jars! Shirts sales have been through the roof and the amount of love and support “Change” For a Cure gets from people is crazy!
YAA: What was your inspiration for creating “Change” For a Cure?
A: Wanting to save lives and make a difference. I wanted to take my personal struggles and battles and turn them into something inspiring for others.
YAA: What are your future plans for “Change” For a Cure?
A: To keep doing what I’m doing; spreading the word on cancer awareness and prevention, and to get this drug, DCA, funded and available for cancer patients world wide. We all deserve to live and if there’s a drug that improves helping to fight cancer, I will make it available.
YAA: How are you preparing to walk 3480km?
A: Well, right now I’m just mapping out my route and what cities I will be passing through, and I’m trying to get a C4AC team together to come along this amazing journey with me. As the walk gets closer I will be working with a trainer to get me physically ready. This isn’t something that should just be attempted, you need to make sure your body is fit enough to do it. We don’t want any injuries.
YAA: What’s one thing you’re not going to be able to live without on your walk from Ontario to Alberta?
A: Hmmm, MY FRIENDS!!! I’m going to miss them all! My friends are my family. I will miss hanging out and laughing with them, but it’s only for a few months.
YAA: What are you planning to do in the cities you stop in along your walk?
A: I plan on giving talks about cancer and prevention. My biggest mistake when I got cancer was I had actually found a lump in my breast 1 year prior to me even getting it looked at. I was young, 20 years old, I didn’t think I could even get cancer that young… I was wrong, and because I thought that way and didn’t get the lump in my breast looked at, it had almost a full year to spread in my body before I realized the lump was bigger, and I was sick. I need to get people (especially the teens and young adults) to know that cancer can hit you even at a young age, and to always check your body.
YAA: Why did you want to incorporate music events into the organization?
A: Music is a big social tool. Everyone loves music. It attracts a large group of people, especially youth, and my goal is to raise cancer awareness and prevention to people at young ages so they can change their lifestyle now before it’s too late.
YAA: What does your change jar look like? Piggy bank, glass jar or did you get creative?
A: My personal “Change” jar is actually a box right now, haha. It’s in a box that my “Build a Bear” came home in.
YAA: How can people donate?
A: Right now, the main thing people can donate is their support and help spread the word on “Change” For a Cure. But in the donations aspect, if they have started “Change” jars, they can come to an event and hang out and bring it, or just hang onto it and keep filling it, because I have a Paypal and website coming soon. So stay posted on “Change” For a Cure’s Facebook page for more details.
A: TOGETHER WE CAN “CHANGE” THE WORLD ONE PENNY AT A TIME ♥