Kirsty Howard

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Kirsty Ellen Howard[1][2](20 September 1995 – 24 October 2015) was a British woman, most notable for her charity work.

Howard was the figurehead of Kirsty's Appeal, a charitable foundation in her name, created to raise £5 million for Francis House, Didsbury, Manchester, the hospice where she received care. Howard took part in numerous fundraising efforts, which gained national support and attention.[3]At the time of her death, she had raised over £7.5 million for the hospice.[4]

Birth and illness[edit]

Kirsty Howard was born on 20 September 1995 in Wythenshawe, Manchester to Lynn and Steve Howard.[5][6] She also had two elder sisters named Zoe and Kim.[7]

Howard had an exceptionally rare condition in which her heart was back to front, causing the misplacement of her internal organs. The condition, a form of situs ambiguus, is inoperable, and requires extensive treatment, including a constant oxygen supply. Howard was the only person in the UK, and only the second in the world, diagnosed with this condition. In February 1999, at the age of four years, she was given only six weeks to live but defied the odds.[3]

Later life[edit]

In 2001, Howard was the mascot for the 2002 World Cup qualifying match between England and Greece.[3] 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 2002, Howard, along with Beckham, presented the Jubilee Baton to Queen Elizabeth II during the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.[3]Russell Watson released the single "Nothing Sacred - A Song for Kirsty" in December to help her fundraisng and it reached a peak of number 17 in the UK Singles Chart.

In 2003, Howard started the inaugural Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run, and took part in the race herself, via wheelchair, wearing the Number 1 vest. She continued to do this throughout the history of the event, even after she became 16 years old, when she was too old to officially take part in the event. She also joined the full 10 km race in her last years, pushed by her team.[8]

In 2006, Richard Fleeshman sang for Howard on Soapstar Superstar and donated his £200,000 prize money to The Kirsty Appeal.

Howard's new fundraising target was 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.

Awards and honours[edit]

Howard was awarded the Helen Rollason Award by the BBC in 2004, for her courage and determination in her fundraising efforts.[3][9] She also received the Child of Courage Award (2001) and the Pride of Britain Award (2002). For her efforts in fundraising, Manchester City Council gave Howard their Young Citizen of the Year award in 2007.[10] In recognition of her contributions to her community, Howard was awarded the Diana Award; the certificate given to her by tenor Russell Watson at the secondary school she attended.[11]

In September 2014 Howard received an "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the children's charity Variety.[12] In December 2014 Howard was named 'Ultimate Woman of Courage' by Cosmopolitan magazine.[13]

Death[edit]

Howard died on 24 October 2015 at the Manchester Royal Infirmary with her family at her bedside after suffering first a kidney infection and then a heart attack over the past few days.[4][14][15] Her funeral was held on 3 November at St Michael and All Angels Church, Northern Moor.[16][17] Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral, including a number of celebrities.[18]

She is buried at Southern Cemetery, Manchester.[16][19]

Legacy[edit]

A JustGiving page has been set up through the Kirsty Club at https://www.justgiving.com/kirstyclub/. The number one plate of Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run, which she always worn in the race, was retired in her honour.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Order of service for Kirsty Howard funeral". ITV News. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  2. ^ Brown, Lauren. "Kirsty Howard laid to rest as crowds line the streets for inspirational fundraiser's star-studded funeral". Mirror. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "GCSE joy for the 16-year-old girl doctors gave just six weeks to live at the age of four". Daily Mail. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Kirsty Howard, the little girl who touched our hearts". thekirstyclub.com. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  5. ^ Bourne, Dianne (24 October 2015). "Farewell to our miracle girl Kirsty Howard - and now it's time for an honour" (online). Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Kirby, Dean. "Inspirational Kirsty celebrates the milestone birthday she never expected to see". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  7. ^ McVeigh, Tracy. "Fundraiser Kirsty Howard dies aged 20". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  8. ^ a b Slater, Chris. "Number tribute to Kirsty Howard by organisers of the Great Manchester Run". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "Little Kirsty lands BBC honour". BBC Sport. BBC. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Staff writer (17 November 2007). "Kirsty is young person of the year". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  11. ^ McKeegan, Alice (18 January 2013). "Diana award for Kirsty Howard, our princess of hearts". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "Outstanding Achievement Award to Kirsty Howard". Variety. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Our Ultimate Woman of Courage: Kirsty Howard". The Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Awards. Hearst Magazines UK. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  14. ^ Scheerhout, John. "Courageous fundraiser Kirsty Howard dies aged 20 - defying doctors who gave her weeks to live at 4". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  15. ^ McVeigh, Tracy. "Fundraiser Kirsty Howard dies aged 20". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  16. ^ a b "Kirsty's Funeral". thekirstyclub.com. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  17. ^ Britton, Paul. "Funeral details announced for courageous fundraiser Kirsty Howard who defied medical opinion to raise millions". Manchester Evening News. 
  18. ^ Rucki, Alexandra. "Funeral of Kirsty Howard: Hundreds of mourners pay tribute to beloved inspirational fundraiser". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Kirsty Howard funeral takes place in Manchester". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 

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