Nine years ago today, Hope Elizabeth Stout closed her eyes to this world and opened them to a place so incredible we can only imagine. Little did her family know that this blue-eyed, freckled-face, giggly little redhead who loved kittens, cheerleading, and stuffed animals was hand-picked by God to do something amazing.
After complaining of persistent knee pain for several weeks, her mother took her to the doctor for a checkup. She was so active, her parents figured it was just growing pains. They soon heard the worst news possible; Hope had a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. She endured aggressive treatments including chemotherapy and radiation, yet the disease spread at an astonishing speed.
As Hope’s fight against cancer progressed, the local Make-A-Wish Foundation offered to grant her a wish. Hope could have asked for just about anything, but this extraordinary little girl instead asked about other kids. She was told that 155 kids were on a waiting list in North Carolina to have their wishes granted. That was all she needed to hear.
Hope shocked everyone by wishing that every kid on that list get their wishes—at a cost of more than a million dollars. Word of Hope’s wish spread and the entire community responded. Every penny of the money was raised in just 30 days. “This all comes from faith in God,” Hope explained. “None of this, not one part of this would be happening if we didn’t have God in our lives.”
Hope died knowing that her wish had been granted.
I got to meet Hope’s mom and dad, Shelby and Stuart, when they wrote their book, Hope’s Wish. They are truly remarkable people. Hope had a wish, but she also had a dream. She wanted to be famous. She just may get her chance. The Stouts are working with Hollywood writers and producers to make a movie about their daughter. Of course it takes money to make this happen. And you can help. Visit their kickstarter site and make a contribution. Believe me, every dollar counts.
“My little girl got to see the face of God,” Hope’s Mom once told me. “And He continues to heal my broken heart.” Imagine the mountains that were moved because of this angel’s brief time on earth. Imagine what we can all do when we put our trust in something greater than ourselves.
Thinking of you today, Hope; the girl I never met, but one who continues to impact my life.