After getting up at 4 am Wednesday morning and spending most of my day in airports I arrived in Cleveland sound 2:30. Exhausted. I mean I was ready to jump in bed by 6 o'clock. But that really wasn't an option. Holli had been anxiously awaiting my arrival for days and I needed to be in YaYa mode! We decided to run pick up dinner and while we were out Caitlin asked if I would like to go to Maria's Field of Hope. Of course I wanted to visit this sunflower patch that I had only heard about and missed viewing last summer. However, I was not quite prepared for the emotional impact this field would have on me.
In April 2006, 6 year old Maria McNamara was diagnosed with a diffused intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a terminal brain tumor that would take her life in the course of 14 months. Maria's parents founded www.prayersfrommaria that has awarded hundreds of thousand of dollars in research grants to fund the most promising childhood brain cancer studies. Maria's Field of Hope, was planted in 2014 to draw attention to the lack of funding for childhood cancer. The field was inspired by the spirit and memory of Maria McNamara, planted as a way to love and honor the courageous children who are battling cancer and those who were lost.
4.5 acres of both Russian Mammoth and Thunderbird sunflowers cover Maria's Field of Hope.
Throughout the field notes could be found tied to the sunflowers. Notes from family members in memory of children whose lives had been lost to cancer and also prayers for children suffering from this terrible disease. I was totally in awe at the number of notes I saw there. It broke my heart for all of those children battling cancer and for their families who were praying for their healing. And for those lost. As I turned around and around I saw so many notes. That represented so many children. My heart was heavy. I told Holli that these were for the sick children who were in the hospital and not able to get outside and play. We talked about how she needed to pray for them when she said her prayers each night. We continued to walk through the field and take some photos.
In August 2016 the city of Avon declared the Sunflower to be the Official Flower of the city in honor of Maria McNamara and the Sunflower Field she inspired.
If you would like to make a donation, go to www.PrayersFromMaria.org or text