Sunflower Wine Festival Packs Old River Shopping Area

750_2775-16It was the party of the summer as an estimated 8,000 guests jammed the Old River Shopping Area for the annual Sunflower Wine Festival Saturday, July 9.

The Festival is hosted by the Prayers from Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation, founded by Avon Lake residents Ed and Meghan McNamara. The Foundation was started in honor of their daughter, Maria, who died of the rare form of cancer in 2007 at age 7.

The McNamaras have since dedicated their lives to raising research dollars to help find a cure for this disease.

“It is research dollars that are needed to fight this disease and find a cure,” said Meghan at the Festival. She estimated the Foundation has raised over $1 million over the years. The monies are used to create much-needed research grants in the mission to find a cure for the tragedy of children’s glioma cancer.

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Nine years ago today, July 14, beautiful Maria was taken too soon by a vicious brain tumor known as DIPG. Her journey inspired a movement to help all of the other children battling this deadly disease by finding treatments and one day, a cure. It is our mission to answer Maria’s prayers by funding research and giving HOPE to these children. ‪#‎GrowTheMovement‬

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The McNamara’s motive is founded in the spirit of their late daughter, who – despite her young age – thought of others in the midst of her own struggle.

“Maria never thought of herself. Instead she chose to pray for all children suffering from cancer and their families. She prayed that the doctors would find a way to help them,” recall the McNamaras of their daughter’s struggle. Her selflessness stirred the genesis of the foundation and its name, “Prayers from Maria.”

Their organization is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for the deadliest childhood brain tumors known as gliomas.

The Prayers from Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation is also recognized for the famed Sunflower Field along I-90 near Jaycox Road in Avon. The field is planted again this summer, with blooms expected to arrive in September.

“Thank you to all who came to the Sunflower Wine Festival! Special thanks also to the many volunteers who helped us pull together this awesome event for childhood cancer,” said the McNamaras after last weekend’s stellar event.

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