Kirsty Howard, the little girl who touched our hearts
Kirsty Howard, a remarkable young woman who braved life-long illness and secured the future of Francis House Children’s Hospice died on 24th October 2015 aged 20 years.
Kirsty made a huge impact as a fundraiser for Francis House, raising over £7.5m for the Manchester based children’s hospice where she received respite from 3½ years of age. Despite being born with a rare heart and lung condition, and given only 6 weeks to live, Kirsty endured many operations and inspired countless people with her bravery and determination.
Through Susie Mathis, a former radio presenter in Manchester, Kirsty was introduced to Mr Mohamed Al Fayed in 2001. Mr Al Fayed, countless famous faces and many generous supporters from across the North West helped Kirsty raise a staggering £5 million to secure the long-term continuation of care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions at Francis House.
Everything Kirsty did she did for Francis House and the hundreds of children, teenagers, young adults and their families that rely on the hospice in their times of greatest need.
Kirsty continued to enjoy respite stays in the new teenage and young adult wing (Francis Lodge) with staff and other young people who had become close friends over the years.
Kirsty died peacefully at 1.38 am at the Intensive Care Unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary surrounded by her family and friends. Our deepest condolences go to her family. We cannot express enough our humble thanks and gratitude to an incredible young woman. David Ireland, Chief Executive of Francis House said: “Francis House had struggled to meet its running costs for many years, Kirsty’s fundraising changed that and gave us a measure of security that allowed us to expand and develop our service. Hundreds of children, young people and their families owe a tremendous debt to the young lady whose face made Francis House a household name.”
A JustGiving page in memory of Kirsty has been set up through the Kirsty Club at http://www.justgiving.com/kirstyclub.