Manchester

Manchester Hospice fund-raiser Kirsty Howard turns 15

Hospice fund-raiser Kirsty Howard, whose parents were told she would die before she reached four, is celebrating her 15th birthday.

Born with a back-to-front heart, and requiring constant oxygen, Kirsty has raised more than £5m for Manchester's Francis House Children's Hospice.

She attracted world attention when she joined David Beckham in launching the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.

She has pledged to raise a further £2m for the Didsbury-based hospice.

A birthday party fund-raiser will be held at Bolton's Reebok stadium on Saturday.

The latest phase of her fund-raising venture is to pay for an extension to the hospice, which she visits for respite twice a week from her parents' Wythenshawe home.

In 2003 Kirsty started the first Great Manchester Run and took part in the race, wearing the number one vest in her wheelchair.

She was awarded the Helen Rollason Award by the BBC in 2004 for her courage and determination and has also received the Child of Courage award and the Pride of Britain award.

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