Celebration of Hope named for local girl who lost battle to cancer 10 years ago at age 12
It wasn’t a hard call for Paula Davis, owner of the local Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care franchise located here in Charlotte to take. Four years ago, she was asked to help support a fundraiser in memory of a local girl who had lost her battle with cancer at age 12.
The story goes back more than ten years ago, when Hope Stout, suffering from incurable cancer, was chosen by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to have her wish granted. But rather than take a gift or trip for herself, the young hero said her wish was to raise enough money – more than $10,000 — to grant wishes to the 155 other Make-A-Wish kids in the Charlotte area. Hope’s selfless wish caught the attention of people in Charlotte and beyond, and $1.1 million was raised for Make-A-Wish.
After Hope succumbed to cancer later that year, her parents formed the March Forth With Hope Foundation in her honor, to provide financial support to families battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Every year, the foundation holds a series of fundraisers and when Paula Davis got a call to help, she immediately said yes.
For the past four years, Cottman of Charlotte has helped by sponsoring a table at the annual gala. They also sponsor a hole at the foundation’s golf outing and they donate a $1,500 gift certificate for a transmission repair or replacement for the foundation’s silent auction.
“Local businesses like Cottman are our lifeblood,” said Stuart Stout, Hope’s father and March Forth With Hope Board Chairman. “Without help from Cottman and others in the Charlotte business community, we would be nowhere.” The Celebration of Hope gala this year brought in more than $162,000, he said.
“What little Hope did ten years ago was an outstanding example of bravery and selflessness,” said Paula Davis. “We are honored as a business and as members of the Charlotte community to do whatever we can to help the March Forth With Hope Foundation bring some happiness and comfort to families in the area who are going through a battle with serious illness.”
Davis has owned the Cottman center at 501 E Sugar Creek Rd. in Charlotte for 24 years. Her daughter Sheri manages the business. They can be reached at www.cottmanofcharlotte.com.