Kirsty Howard, who was born on 20 September 1995 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 Wythenshawe with an exceptionally rare condition in which her heart is back to front, causing the misplacement of her internal organs. The condition is inoperable, 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; the condition is reportedly so rare that it does not have a name. In February 1999, she was given only six weeks to live.
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 2002, Kirsty, along with Beckham, presented the Jubilee Baton to Queen Elizabeth II during the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
In 2004, Kirsty started the inaugural Great Manchester Run, and took part in the race herself, via wheelchair. 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).