Not long after doctors diagnosed 12-year-old Hope Stout with a rare form of bone cancer, the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted the seventh-grade all-star basketball player and cheerleader from Weddington, North Carolina. She said she’d always wanted to be on TV or model. But faced with the choice, she decided what she really wanted was for the other children on the local Make-A-Wish waiting list — all 155 of them — to get their wishes first.
“We couldn’t tell her no,” said Amy Laws, a director of the local chapter. Charlotte’s residents rallied to raise over $1 million. One child made $1,100 selling hot chocolate. The Super Bowl-bound Carolina Panthers helped with a gala to do their part.
Hope died on January 4, 2004, just 12 days before her helpers reached their financial goal, though wish-granting had already begun. There was 15-year-old Amber and her family, who boarded the Majesty of the Seas Royal Caribbean cruise ship in December, headed for the Bahamas and Key West. Lindsay, 9, joined Cinderella at her Royal Table in Disney World. And 5-year-old Sammy received his very own horse, a beauty he calls Heaven.
Says Laws, “Hope accomplished more in 12 years of living than most of us will if we live to be 100 years old.”