Manchester’s heroic women up for Cosmopolitan awards after ‘mammoth’ charity feats

Two heroic Manchester women have been nominated for Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Awards for their remarkable charity work. 

Kirsty Howard, from Wythenshawe, who was told at four years old that she just had six years to live, has now been nominated at the age of 19 for the ‘Woman of Courage’ award after raising millions of pounds for charity.

Jo Armstead, from Cheshire, made a breakthrough in cystic fibrosis research that could change lives while volunteering at a research hospital in her holidays and has been nominated for the ‘Game Changer’ award.

Jo said: “It was a mammoth task, but if I knew that if I gave up I’d feel like a failure, so I kept on going.

“So many people weren’t getting the correct treatment, and I knew my research might be able to help them.”

After completing her medicine degree at Newcastle University, Jo spent the summer assisting Professor David Denning on his cystic fibrosis research project at Wythenshawe Hospital.

She spent hundreds of hours analysing data from 70,000 cystic fibrosis sufferers and then continued her research unpaid for ten months after an initial two-month work period.

The breakthrough discovery came when she found that half of all adult patients had the fungal infection she was searching for, which dramatically impacts the functioning of lungs.

Kirsty, whose heart was back-to-front when she was four, and given six weeks to live, but she fought back and at age six, famously walked out with hero David Beckham, with an oxygen cylinder trailing behind her.  

Remarkably, the 19-year-old has stunned doctors with her survival and has helped to raise over £7.5million for Francis House Children’s Hospice.

Kirsty said: “I owe a lot to the hospice because it offered respite for me and my family when I was growing up.

“I go there a few times a year to help gain independence. They’ve been amazing.”

Kirsty also picked up the Variety Club’s Outstanding Achievement Award in September.

The Cosmopolitan’s awards will be judged by a panel including Radio 1’s Jameela Jamil, Made in Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh, Danny O’Donoghue from The Script, and Apprentice star Baroness Karren Brady.

The awards, in its ninth year, will be hosted by Fearne Cotton at London’s glamourous One Mayfair venue on December 3.

Cotton, who is a returning host, said: “Every year, I’m amazed by the incredible women we are able to pay tribute to and what they have achieved.”

Image courtesy of Variety Children’s Charity via YouTube, with thanks.

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