Maria McNamara was diagnosed with a diffused intrinsic pontine glioma when she was only 6 years old. Her battle continued for 14 months before cancer ended her life in 2007. Glioma is the second highest cause of childhood cancer deaths.
Her parents began Prayers From Maria, Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation to help raise raise awareness and also money for research to combat childhood brain tumors. The Foundation has already raised $500,000. The Planting Hope Sunflower Garden helps accomplish this in a beautiful and effective way.
Along 90 westbound in Avon, Ohio there is a mile of 2 million sunflowers in honor of Maria. People are flocking to this gorgeous and breathtaking view. The sunflowers not only bring people joy, they are helping raise funds for glioma research. People are donating and like Babbette’s Seeds of Hope, the seeds will be sold. Last year, the seeds sold out in 2 hours.
During her illness, Maria had concern and compassion for other children suffering from the same plight. Her dad spoke to Cleveland.com about Maria’s thoughtfulness and how this spurred them into action to help other children.
“While she was at St. Jude Cancer Center, all she did was pray for the other kids. She was amazing,” Maria’s dad, Ed McNamara, says during his nightly vigil at the sunflower patch. “She doesn’t need our prayers now, she is in Heaven. So we are trying to help answer her prayers to save other children.”
“Sunflowers are beautiful, they make everyone smile and laugh and cheer for awhile and then they’re gone,” Ed says as he watches the crowd grow after the Browns home opener ended in a win. “Just like children with cancer.” He shakes his head and looks out over the field. “Amazing.”
The sunflower field is much larger this year. It is drawing larger crowds and should bring in more donations with the sale of seeds.
Share this amazing story of love on your Facebook page.
What is your favorite type of fundraiser? Please join the discussion.