New Year honour for vinspired National Award winner Kirsty
At vinspired we celebrate young people. We show the world the amazing difference that young people make in their communities – their creativity, their energy and their determination to do good.
The vinspired National Awards are at the heart of this mission. They are an opportunity, for one night, to put the spotlight on the young people whose courage, dedication and generosity inspire us all year round.
So it was a great pleasure to see one of our former winners’ names on the New Year honours list this year. Kirsty Ashton won the Spirit award at the vinspired National Awards 2011 for her work with When You Wish Upon a Star and has now been named an MBE for services to charity. She has raised almost £95,000 to help the charity provide ‘wishes’ for seriously ill children and is working to a new target of £100,000, which will send 43 terminally ill children and their families on holiday.
Her achievements are all the more remarkable because she has suffered a painful condition, neurofibromatosis, since birth. In fact, it was a trip organised by the charity for her own family that prompted her fundraising mission. At the age of 11, her brother wrote to When You Wish Upon a Star asking them to fulfil Kirsty’s wish to visit Lapland.
During the trip she met another girl, who died from cancer shortly after they returned to England. The realisation that the girl would not have been able to experience the trip without When You Wish Upon a Star inspired what has become Kirsty’s personal calling.
In spite of crippling pain, countless surgeries and reliance on crutches to move around, Kirsty has thrown herself into organising balls, rugby matches, sponsored challenges and charity sales to raise money for ill children.
It is a great honour for us at vinspired to be able to celebrate remarkable young people like Kirsty. And it will be a great pleasure to see her recognised with one of the greatest honours this country can give.