Health & Wellness

Fields of Sunflowers Raise Funds for Childhood Cancer

Two astounding gardens in northern Ohio are something visitors call a must-see.

If you drive on Interstate 90 past the town of Avon, OH this time of year, you'll see something that'll make you stop the car: a huge field of glowing, yellow sunflowers. This beauty isn't there by accident: it's Maria's Field of Hope, established by the Prayers from Maria Foundation, inspired by the memory and spirit of 7-year old Maria McNamara who died of a glioma brain tumor in 2007.

As The Villager newspaper reports,the 26-acre Avon sunflower field, about 20 miles west of Cleveland, is in full bloom right now, just in time for September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A second 8-acre sunflower field was planted this year in Sandusky. OH, near the Cedar Point Amusement Park It's also blooming - as you can see from the park's video:

Both gardens are a photographer's paradise, but with a deeper meaning. The Prayers from Maria Foundation was founded by Maria's parents to raise funding for glioma research, treatment and prevention. The sunflower fields are meant to call attention to the disease, give hope to the children who are fighting glioma tumors, and pay tribute to those who have lost their battles.

The foundation says glioma tumors account for almost 45% of tumors in children, and the second highest cause of cancer deaths among young people. Yet, they say the cure rate for most childhood brain tumors is significantly lower than that for many other types of cancer, and glioma research is "grossly underfunded."

You can support their efforts by visiting the Field of Hope in Avon (click here for specifics on location) or Field of Hope Cedar Point (click here) . If you're not in the area you can still donate to the foundation (click here) or purchase sunflower t-shirts, bouquets and other sunflower items by clicking here.

(Images: Tammy Cabot, Joy Brown, Dana Mannillo-Machuca, Dawn Mullins, and Bridget Boggs on Prayers from Maria Sunflower Field of Hope Facebook page )

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