Kirsty Howard: Fundraiser who defied doctors and captured hearts of nation dies aged 20
Kirsty Howard, the young fundraiser who captured the hearts of the nation, has died aged 20.
Kirsty’s parents were told she would die before the age of four when she was born with her heart back to front – one of only two people worldwide with the condition.
But she defied doctors and overcame her illness to become a tireless fundraiser, raising millions for Francis House Children’s Hospital in Manchester.
She died in the early hours of Saturday surrounded by her family, according to reports.
Her inspirational story touched celebrities and sports stars such as David Beckham, who she helped launch the Manchester Commonwealth Games.
Read: David Beckham’s heartfelt tribute to ‘incredible’ Kirsty
She also attracted national attention when she held Beckham’s hand as he led the England team out for their World Cup qualifier against Greece at Old Trafford in 2001.
Her work earned her the Child of Courage award at the Pride of Britain Awards and she was also awarded the Helen Rollason Award for courage at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
She celebrated her 20th birthday last month with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party-themed party.
She studied childcare at college and was also a proud auntie before she died at 1.30am on Saturday.
Her parents along with sisters Zoe and Kim were at the bedside at Manchester Royal Infirmary, a spokesman from the Kirsty Club, a charity founded by the youngster, confirmed.
Tributes poured in for Kirsty after news of her death broke, including from Prime Minister David Cameron.