"" Writer's Wanderings: Maria's Field Of Hope

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Maria's Field Of Hope

It had rained for several days so when the first day that promised to be sunny and pleasant came along, we decided to do something I've wanted to do for a long time--see the field of sunflowers that borders Interstate 90 in Avon, Ohio. The field of sunflowers was begun in 2014 by the Prayers from Maria Foundation as a way to gracefully draw attention to the lack of funding for childhood cancer.

Maria McNamara was a six year old girl who in 2006 was given the awful diagnosis of an aggressive and fatal brain tumor. Like many families who stand up and try to fight against the odds, they researched and exhausted all the avenues they could find to give them hope. In the end, they discovered that there was a lack of funding for this type of cancerous tumor called a glioma that strikes youngsters and takes their lives much too soon. Their beautiful Maria suffered through 14 months before she died. Her full story can be found at the Foundation website.

The foundation the family established is called Prayers From Maria because though she was so very ill, she still wanted to pray for other children who were suffering as well. The foundation is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for childhood brain tumors known as gliomas. The family is dedicated to raising public awareness and funds to give as grants for research to bring hope to those families who are or will be affected by this awful disease.

The 25 acre field bloomed a little early this year. Each year it is planted in June and the blossoms usually emerge early September. The media each year covers the news of the blooms and this year reported that new construction in the area may be the end of the field of hope if a new location cannot be found. I think many would be sad to see that happen. Hopefully someone will step up with a solution.

We couldn't walk through the field as the pathway was a mud pit from all the rain we'd had that week. Volunteers were putting down a mulch so that you could at least get closer to the field up front. There were signs we could see off in the distance along the path but we couldn't read them from our vantage point. Some sunflowers had dedications attached to them (tags were available at the gift shop).

It was an awesome experience. The sunflowers were stunning. The message deep. There is always hope.

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