Maria’s Field of Hope, Sunflowers and Prayer

dsc_9688-7Maria’s Field of Hope has been buzzing for over two weeks now, ever since the thousands of sunflowers that stand on 54 acres at the corner of Jaycox and Chester Road hit full bloom.

Just like last year, the late-summer splendor is an irresistible attraction to hundreds and even thousands of visitors each day.

Cameras are commonplace – plenty of amateur as well as pro photographers can be seen clicking away under the bright blue skies of September.

Ed and Megan McNamara, founders of the Prayers from Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation, also introduced a few new ideas this year.

A Celebration of Life, complete with live music and fireworks, took place at the site on Sunday, Sept. 4. Then, last Sunday, kids were welcomed to come meet their favorite cartoon character on Superhero Day.

The mission of the McNamara’s is to find a cure for childhood glioma brain cancer – the disease that took the life of their daughter in 2007. Her only prayer, said the McNamaras, was to find a cure for cancer so other children would not suffer. Hence, the Foundation name – Prayers from Maria.

This year, the McNamaras also introduced another element to the Field of Hope picture. They placed prayer cards at the entrance to the field. It was a chance for visitors to place a card of remembrance on a sunflower during their visit.

Little did they know that all 1000 cards would be used during the first week of the 2016 crop of blooms.

By last Sunday’s Superhero Day, 2000 cards had been placed throughout the fields in moving testimony of cancer’s impact on the lives and families of our community.