Prayers From Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation is ready to entertain and inform visitors at its Maria’s Field of Hope in Avon, which is where earlier this summer more than one million sunflower seeds were planted. The 35-acre field will be visible again from Interstate 90, between Jaycox Rd. and State Route 83. Visitor parking will be accessible from Chester Rd. The expectation of the foundation’s leaders is the field will bloom by mid-September, weather abiding.
“These sunflowers celebrate lives lost too soon because a cure for a highly fatal childhood brain cancer has yet to be funded,” said Megan McNamara, co-founder and Maria’s mom. “Visitors to our field are helping drive awareness for the need to fund research that can change outcomes for these children and provide hope for their loved ones.”
The arrival of these sunflowers will mark the fourth year for Maria’s Field of Hope. Last year’s field inspired donations of more than $100,000 in support of the foundation’s mission to fund cutting edge childhood brain cancer research.
The foundation is now in the process of distributing $600,000 to researchers, which means it will soon surpass $1 million in funded research since it began grantmaking in 2010. Collectively, these grants have inspired more than $5 million in follow-on funding from the National Institutes for Health and others into research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and elsewhere.
“A grave funding gap exists for research into children’s cancers,” said Ed McNamara, co-founder and Maria’s dad, “as the vast majority of cancer research dollars go toward fighting adult diseases.” According to the National Cancer Institute’s annual $5 billion budget, only 4 percent on average is spent on projects specifically aimed at combating childhood diseases and considerably less for childhood brain cancers.
“It was Maria’s prayers and is our mission to inspire researchers to keep investigating childhood brain tumors and to bring about meaningful change for these kids,” said Megan McNamara. “The generosity of visitors to Maria’s Field of Hope, as well as many other donors throughout the years is allowing us to seed-fund innovative studies that are inspiring follow-on grants that are starting to bridge this gap.”
In recognition of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Maria’s Shop will open this Labor Day weekend at the field’s entrance, near its parking lot. It will offer sunflower-inspired t-shirts, merchandise, and other keepsakes 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily throughout the month. Likewise, many visitor events are scheduled, such as:
- Super Hero Sunday: September 10th from 1 – 4 pm
- Sports Saturday: September 16th from 1 – 4 pm
- Picture Perfect Sunday: September 17 from 7 – 9 am and 6 – 8 pm
- Scout Week: September 20-21
- Marco’s Pizza and Race Day Sign Up: September 23rd from 11 am – 1 pm
- Blooming Celebration Of Life: September 23rd from 4 – 10 pm with Fireworks
- Senior Sunday: September 24th from 1 – 4 pm
- Family Fun Day: Oct. 1st from 1 – 4 pm
Learn more about Maria’s Field of Hope and get latest event details at www.prayersfrommaria.org
Prayers From Maria remains inspired by the prayers of seven-year-old Maria McNamara whose battle against a brain stem glioma ended in 2007. While receiving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Maria prayed for the sick children she met, wanting the doctors to find a way to help them. Our research foundation, founded by Maria’s parents Megan and Ed McNamara of Avon Lake, Ohio, is dedicated to answering Maria’s prayers through the funding of meaningful global research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for children’s gliomas.
For more information about Prayers From Maria, its Field of Hope, and its impact on childhood brain tumor research, visit www.PrayersFromMaria.org.