Prayers From Maria Grows Cancer Research Awareness

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 of love 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 of recognition." 

"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