Planting Hope: Sunflower Field Draws Attention to Children’s Cancer



Prayers from MariaA half-mile strip of stunning sunflowers along the I-90 corridor in Avon has brought tons of attention to the issue of Children’s Cancer the past few weeks.

The Sunflower field is the work of Ed and Megan McNamara, who founded ‘Prayers from Maria,’ in honor of their daughter who died of brain cancer in 2007 at age 7.

The work of their foundation is to raise money and awareness in the fight against glioma, a form of brain cancer that claimed their daughter. The Prayers From Maria Glioma Cancer Foundation was assisted by a farmer,  John Betzel, who planted the  25,000 sunflower seeds donated by the Zurich Company of Independence on land held by The Richard E. Jacobs Real Estate Group.

A billboard – Planting Hope –  marked the locale over the nondescript field for most of the summer. Then, in August, the sunflowers started blooming. First, a few. Then thousands turned their faces to the skies, resulting in a breathtaking attraction that captivated motorists and also brought visitors by the hundreds to the location just off the Chester-Jaycox Roads intersection in Avon. It was the photo opp of the year for families and children, photographers of all ages and those who just can’t resist the compelling draw of countless sunflowers in bloom.

In the end, it was a stirring campaign that saw the blooms time perfectly with September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

You can help their cause. Donate to Prayers from Maria and help  bring more targeted, lifesaving treatments to children battling glioma brain tumors. Every dollar you donate brings us one step closer to a cure. Please visit

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