Prayers From Maria Currents Magazine
February 22nd, 2020
The awareness for childhood cancer research is growing, thanks to the efforts of the Prayers from Maria Foundation.
The foundation, headquartered in Rocky River, OH, is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure for childhood cancer. Its mission is to be a leading private, nonprofit seed-funding organization for childhood cancer research and clinical trails.
Founded in 2007 by parents Ed and Megan McNamara, the foundation was inspired by the life of their daughter Maria who they lost to a brain tumor at the age of seven. In her memory, the foundation is built out oflove and compassion for children who suffer, and have died, from the deadliest brain tumors.
Prayers from Maria Foundation honors childhood cancer patients with the attention they deserve by reversing the tragic lack of funding and advancing the most meaningful children's brain cancer research. Since its inception, the Prayers from Maria Foundation has been able to have a positive influence by funding key research studies across the United States that have led to new clinical trials and breakthroughs for these children.
"Maria's Field of Hope, our 35-acre sunflower field in Avon, OH along I-90, serves as a symbol of hope and helps raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer.
The field blooms annually and has become a destination visited by thousands of people, not only from across the country but around the world," Megan McNamara said. "The sunflower field has had a significant impact on our awareness and fundraising for childhood cancer research.
Our movement is growing!"
"The Prayers from Maria Foundation has always remained focused on its critical mission of alleviating the suffering of children diagnosed with cancer. We have expanded our reach significantly since our inception to include a satellite sunflower field at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH," she said. "This past September, we were featured on the 'Today Show with Willie Geist,' that brought our foundation to new heights ofrecognition."
"Our seed grants have elicited more than $6 million in follow-up funding from the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute. In May of2019, Prayers from Maria sponsored a think tank where 27 of the world's top pediatric brain tumor researchers convened to share data," McNamara noted. "At this meeting, a $500,000 grant was announced to inspire innovation in the field of pediatric cancer research through collaboration among multiple institutions. The ultimate goal is to develop high risk, high reward, cutting-edge projects that will advance research and lead to new and better treatments for children who suffer from cancer. That grant was just awarded in Jan., 2020 to researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Cincinnati Children's Hospital."
Because of support from Prayers from Maria, scientists now have detailed knowledge of the molecular makeup of different types of deadly brain tumors and, as a result, have been able to develop targeted treatments for children suffering from brain tumors.
Prayers from MariaFoundation is partnering with Cedar Point this year for its 150th anniversary. The foundation's annual fundraising events, the Sunflower Soiree and the Sunflower Wine Festival, will take place on July 10 and July 1 I. "Our marathon team, the Sunflower Striders, will be running in the Cleveland Marathon to promote awareness for childhood cancer research. Six local Jersey Mike's franchises will do their annual month of giving for Prayers from Maria in the month of March," McNamara added.
"Our volunteers are at the heart of Prayers from Maria Foundation. With more than 500 active volunteers and growing, much of what we do we owe to the people who give generously of their time, talents and resources. Our team of volunteers is devotedly committed and instrumental to the success of our events and operations," she said. - Cynthia Schuster Eakin
Febuary 2020 Currents