The March Forth With Hope Foundation provides financial assistance to families battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases. The Foundation was established by Stuart and Shelby Stout in memory of their daughter, Hope Stout, shortly after she lost her courageous fight with cancer.
The story of Hope's battle, and the compassion and caring she showed towards others until her death, sparked an unprecedented outpouring of support from her community. When given the opportunity to have almost any wish fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Hope's wish was that the other 155 Wish kids would be granted their wishes. The story of Hope's life and her wish captured the Charlotte-areas hearts and souls and the legacy of her wish continues still today.
Based in Matthews, North Carolina, the March Forth With Hope Foundation is a fully accredited 501(C)3 trust and is fully compliant with all IRS regulations governing non-profit organizations.
"We now know that God wants us all to have the childlike faith Hope possessed, a faith that refuses to be overcome by doubt or fear. This is the confidence that God is there with us and will take care of us," wrote the Stouts in their book, A Legacy of Hope: The Wisdom of a Childlike Faith.
"If this lesson is learned before a storm hits (and in this human pilgrimage rest assured that trials and tribulations will come in some form), you will be prepared to weather the storm and come out blessed because of it," they say.
When Hope was interviewed by Charlotte, NC radio personality Keith Larson about her wish, she matter-of-factly said, "We're just giving it to God, and He's gonna take care of it. Have a 100 percent faith in God, and anything is possible."
Hope's wish to fulfill the wishes of the 155 children in North Carolina who suffered from life-threatening illnesses or injuries was realized on January 16, 2004, less than three weeks after her sad passing.
The vast majority of the one million dollars was raised in the month between December 19, when Keith Larson and other media began to tell Hope's story, and January 16, which was the first Celebration of Hope, a gala event to raise donations to Make a Wish. And her faith in God, and in people, made this happen.
"The Bible tells us that 'a little child will lead them.' We found that Hope's voice as a twelve year old led us in our struggles and prompted the entire city of Charlotte to fulfill the wishes of these children," write the Stouts.
Michael Yaconelli says in his book, Dangerous Wonder, "Deep within all of us, there is a voice. It speaks to us continuously, knocking on the door of our consciousness. When we are children the voice is loud. Its loudness is not like a train or jet engine. It shouts to us with a whisper. This voice of our childhood is the voice of wonder and amazement, the voice of God, which has always been there speaking to us, even before we were born."
Yet as adults, we try to control life and the voice becomes much softer because we think we know best. We grow up and healthy doses of life's realities bog us down. We forget that childlike faith.
"We hope that this book will help anyone who reads it to regain a childlike faith. That's what we learned from Hope Elizabeth Stout in her twelve short years," say the Stouts.
Stuart and Shelby's book, A Legacy of Hope: The Wisdom of a Childlike Faith is
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.