Kirsty is the figurehead of Kirsty's Appeal, a charitable foundation in her name, created to raise £5 million for Francis House, the hospice where she receives care. In October 2006, the appeal announced that it has reached its initial target figure of £5,000,000. Kirsty has taken part in numerous fundraising efforts, which have gained national support and attention.
Kirsty was born in Manchester with an exceptionally rare condition in which her heart is back to front, causing the misplacement of her internal organs. The condition, a form of situs ambiguus, is operable, and requires extensive treatment, including a constant oxygen supply. Kirsty is the only person in the UK, and only the second in the world, diagnosed with this condition. In February 1999, she was given only six weeks to live, but defied the odds and is still alive more than 17 years later.
In 2001, Kirsty was the mascot for the 2002 World Cup qualifying match between England and Greece. Commentator John Motson called her "the bravest person on the pitch", as she accompanied David Beckham onto the pitch with her 20 kg oxygen tank.
In 2003, Kirsty started the inaugural Great Manchester Run, and took part in the race herself, via wheelchair, wearing the Number 1 vest. She has continued to do this throughout the history of the event.
In 2006, Richard Fleeshman sang for Kirsty on 'Soapstar Superstar' and donated his £200,000 prize money to The Kirsty Appeal.
Kirsty was awarded the Helen Rollason Award by the BBC in 2004, for her courage and determination in her fundraising efforts. She has also received the Child of Courage Award (2001) and the Pride of Britain Award (2002). For her efforts in fundraising, Manchester City Council gave Kirsty their Young Citizen of the Year award in 2007. In recognition of her contributions to her community, Kirsty was awarded the Diana Award; the certificate given to her by Russell Watson at the secondary school she attended.
Kirsty's new fundraising target is to raise a further £2,000,000 to build an extension to the Francis House Hospice. This will not be named after her, but dedicated to her.
- "GCSE joy for the 16-year-live old girl doctors gave just six weeks to at the age of four". Daily Mail. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2013.