Kirsty Howard, a fundraiser who was born with her heart back to front, passed away at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in the early hours of Saturday, aged 20. She was surrounded by her family at the time.
At four-years-old, Howard was given just weeks to live. However, she defied the odds and went on to help raise over £7.5m for Francis House Children’s Hospice, Manchester, and founded the charity The Kirsty Club.
On Saturday, the charity set up a JustGiving page in her memory to help raise money for the hospice.
“Kirsty Howard a remarkable young woman who braved a life-long illness and secured the future of Francis House,” the memorial page says.
“Kirsty and The Kirsty Club raised millions for Manchester based Children’s Hospice Francis House where Kirsty received respite care.
“Anyone wishing to make donations in Kirsty’s memory can do so here. Thank you.
Or, you can donate by text by sending KHFH70 followed by £1 or any amount up to £10 to 70070”
Francis House, which cares for over 300 children, teenagers and young adults with a short life expectancy and delivers support and friendship for the whole family, needs over £3.6m in charitable donations each year in order to continue to provide its services.
Howard will be remembered for inspiring people all over the country, including politicians, sports stars and actors.
Since Saturday, tributes have poured in on social media.
Prime Minister David Cameron took to Twitter to offer his condolences, saying: “I’m sad to hear Kirsty Howard has died. She was an amazing person with boundless passion who did so much good.”
I'm sad to hear Kirsty Howard has died. She was an amazing person with boundless passion who did so much good. pic.twitter.com/FnGI3FK8Ng
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) October 25, 2015
The nation’s good luck charm
Howard is renowned for inspiring David Beckham to score the winning goal for England in a World Cup qualifier. The footballer has also posted a tribute to the fundraiser.
He wrote on Instagram: “Words cannot describe how amazing this young lady has been over the years.
“Kirsty has been defying doctors for many years and whilst doing that she has been raising millions of pounds for terminally ill children.
“I met Kirsty in 2002 when she became the nations and my good luck charm for the game against Greece, we also met the queen together in Manchester so you could say we have spent some amazing moments together over the years and it was an inspiration to meet such a brave young lady with so much drive for helping others.”
Alongside Beckham, Howard also presented the Queen with the baton at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Through her courage, hard-work and fundraising efforts, Howard won a number of awards in her lifetime, including the Helen Rollason Award by the BBC in 2004.
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