Devoted dad is still fundraising

Kirsty McDonald
Kirsty McDonald

A devoted dad who lost his daughter aged 16 is holding a fundraising event in her memory.

Tom McDonald lost his daughter Kirsty to a heart attack back in 2002 and he has fundraised for the hospitals that helped care for her ever since.

The latest event will celebrate Tom’s birthday, his wife’s birthday and the couple’s wedding anniversary whilst raising money for the Kirsty Fund at the same time.

Tom said: “I thought it would be a great opportunity to raise some money again.

“There’s a lot going on in April so we thought why not have a party.”

Kirsty was a vivacious youngster until she fell ill at the age of 14 and was found to be suffering from a mystery virus attacking her heart muscles.

Without a transplant, she had only days to live but at the 11th hour, a suitable heart came up, belonging to a 21-year-old man who had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Just six months after the operation, Kirsty competed in the ball-throwing and obstacle events at the British Transplant Games in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

But six months later, she suffered a stroke caused by a blood clot in her new heart.

This left her speech slurred, she lost the use of the right side of her body and she could not walk properly.

She had to learn how to write and even how to dress herself all over again.

With typical determination, she got through her rehabilitation and was accepted for a college course in art and design.

However not long after she had to be rushed to Southampton General Hospital because she could not breathe properly.

Just a few hours later she died after a massive convulsion.

More than 150 family members and friends attended Kirsty’s funeral and her coffin was a Dulux Sexy pink colour, of which she would have approved.

The Kirsty Fund was kicked off by a donation her class mates brought along to the funeral.

“They had a collection and brought it along,” said Tom.

“We put that money with what was in her bank account and that started it off.”

The 64-year-old said he would never get over losing his daughter.

“It’s not as raw as it was,” he said. “It never goes away and I’m not sure I would want it to. It’s been 14 years and I’ve have come to terms with the fact that she is not around anymore.

“But my eyes still fill up when I see her on video.”

Tom, who lives in Robin Bailey Way, Hucknall, named a rose after his daughter at the World Of Roses to boost the Kirsty Fund.

To order a Kirsty rose and donate to the fund, visit www.worldofroses.com/product/125/kirsty-rose or call 08452 606888.