After their daughter, Maria, was diagnosed with a deadly brain cancer in 2006, Ed and Megan McNamara started on a mission that tragically couldn’t save their child but will alleviate the suffering of others with childhood cancers. Through their Prayers from Maria Foundation, more than $12 million has been raised for research, predominantly focused on brain cancer.
“We couldn’t just sit back and not fight to do anything we could to save her,” says Megan McNamara, co-founder of Prayers from Maria, which is best known for its sunflower fields in Avon and Cedar Point. “The sunflower was Maria’s favorite flower and it’s a flower of hope that speaks to the beauty of a child and the radiance of a child.”
The foundation hosts two large fundraisers every year: the Sunflower Soiree, which is a VIP event with about 600 of its closest supporters; and the Sunflower Wine Festival, which is a large-scale fundraiser designed to build awareness about the cause and the mission.
“We really feel like we have a front row seat to seeing the goodness of others in the world,” says McNamara, who offers these suggestions for getting involved.
• Doing something as simple as posting on social media when you visit the Prayers from Maria sunflower field is impactful and makes a difference.
• Attending events and even volunteering helps support the foundation’s mission. “I see the volunteers really happy and excited about what they do. They walk away with a lot more than they thought,” McNamara says.
20226 Detroit Road, Rocky River, 216-727-3511, prayersfrommaria.org