It was 10 years ago that Hope Stout, one of Charlotte’s most beloved young philanthropists, lost her battle with cancer at age 12. Hope became famous when she put other ill children before herself by declining an opportunity to have the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant her a wish. Instead, she decided her wish was to raise enough money to grant the wishes of 155 other Wish Kids in the Charlotte area.
After Hope’s death, her parents, Shelby and Stuart Stout, established the March Forth with Hope Foundation in memory of their daughter. It provides financial support to families battling cancer or other life-threatening diseases.
The foundation hosted its 12th annual gala recently at Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. The evening had a 007 James Bond theme. Kevin Donnalley, the former Carolina Panthers player who had a special bond with Hope and her family, was the gala chair and Special Agent 0065 in honor of his Panthers jersey number. He’s hosted the gala every year since it began. Radio personality Mick Mixon, the “voice of the Carolina Panthers,” was there with his wife, Dawn. Some of the top live auction items were Carolina Panthers-related: A stadium tour by Luke Kuechly and a game-day experience with Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera. Also adding to the evening’s sports flair: NASCAR’s Kyle Petty.