For many people, the color yellow symbolizes optimism, positivity, and hope. This was exactly the message that Megan and Ed McNamara wanted to focus on when they started Prayers from Maria, an organization that brings hope to children with cancer. Ed and Megan’s daughter, Maria McNamara, was just six years old when she was diagnosed with a diffused intrinsic pontine glioma, a terminal brain tumor. During her battle with cancer, Maria chose to pray for all children suffering from cancer and their families. Since Maria’s passing in 2007, Megan and Ed McNamara have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and money to fund childhood cancer research. Their mission features the sunflower as a symbol of strength and hope, characteristics that Maria embodied every day.
In 2013, Maria’s Field of Hope started to bloom in Avon. In need of another home for hope to grow, Cedar Point partnered with the foundation in 2019.
Maria’s Field of Hope at Cedar Point is located next to Cedar Point’s Express Hotel on Cedar Point Drive. More than 160,000 sunflower seeds were planted on the eight-acre field. Today, the sunflowers are officially in full bloom and the field is ready to welcome guests once again.
According to Megan McNamara, “The field creates awareness of the dire need to fund childhood cancer research, but radiates a message of love and hope - that we will overcome this challenge. The field celebrates these beautiful children and the great gift their lives are to all of us.”
McNamara also expressed that Prayers from Maria is excited to provide this opportunity for hope and awareness for a second year:
“Partnering with Cedar Point has allowed us to spread this message of hope far and wide, especially this year - in a time that needs that message. People's reaction to the field has been wonderful and very receptive! People are friendly, reflective, celebratory, peaceful, happy. The field holds significance to many people for many different reasons. That is another gift of this special place. The community has been extremely supportive, even declaring the official flower of Sandusky the Sunflower.”
The field is the best picture-taking spot – you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop! Plus, with thousands of sunflowers, you’re guaranteed to find the picture-perfect one.
Although the field is a great picture spot, it’s important to remember the meaning behind it and what it symbolizes. When walking through the field, you’ll encounter photos of children who have lost their fight to cancer over the years. Prayers from Maria is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for gliomas.
There are multiple ways that you can donate to the Prayers from Maria mission. You can donate in-person when you visit the field or online through the donation page on their website. You can also donate by dedicating a flower, which can be done in-person at the field or online. You’ll notice many flowers in the Field of Hope that have already been dedicated to someone. Dedications are often made in memory of someone who has passed away, in honor of a special person or in honor of a special occasion, but you can create any special intention, prayer, or dedication that you like.
Maria’s Shop is open daily next to the field right now from 10am-1pm and 4pm-8pm, or 10am-8pm on the weekend. They offer apparel such as shirts and sweatshirts, as well as accessories like tote bags and jewelry. You can even pick up a pack of sunflower seeds so that you begin planting your own field! You can also shop the full online store here.
The sunflowers are only in bloom for a limited time, so make sure to stop by Maria’s Field of Hope at Cedar Point soon to experience the beauty for yourself. 🌻💛
To learn more about the mission and how you can help, please visit https://prayersfrommaria.org/Get-Involved