Monday, September 24, 2007

Update as of September 24, 2007

"Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your Spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thee."
-Mother Teresa

Hello Everyone,

In this world there are so many beautiful and wonderful people. I've heard it said that when you go through an experience like this God is closer to you than ever. This was clearly true for me as I looked out and saw His presence everywhere. When I looked down from Maria's bedroom window on the night after she died to see so many candles lit and to hear the rosary being said I thought what a beautiful way to honor Maria and her story—by honoring Christ and His Mother. For certain They and Maria were there in our midst. On the following nights, to see the beautiful luminaries lit up in the neighborhoods and then to see the numbers of people who lined the streets after Maria’s funeral was inspiring. I knew God was taking care of us all. Thank you. Thank you to all of you.

Please continue to keep Maria and her story alive in your hearts. For a little girl, she had such a great impact, and I believe that is because she was always open to God's love and graces. Through her, He was able to share them with all of us. Keeping that candle glowing in our lives is the greatest tribute we can give to her and to Christ.

Many have asked us to post Fr. Tim's homily from Maria's mass. It is below.

Please remember all children who suffer from cancer and their families in your prayers.

God bless,
Ed and Megan

Fr. Tim Gareau’s Homily
Funeral Mass for Maria McNamara
St. Raphael Church
July 18, 2007

Mass of the Resurrection for Maria

I would like to open the homily today
with all of us gathered here this morning
together let us express a sign of our love and support
to Megan and Ed, Eddie, Aidan and Blake.

My dear friends in Christ,
our dear Maria’s struggle is ended.
There is no more sickness and suffering,
doctors or chemotherapy.
She is complete and whole once again
as our Lord Jesus Christ has called her home.

She has fought the good fight.
She has run the race.
She has kept the faith
and a merited crown awaits her –
the crown of glory in Jesus Christ our Lord.
She now sings and dances,
runs and laughs,
and maybe even jumps rope or plays duck duck goose
with all the angels and saints in heaven.

The movie that was produced early in Maria’s illness
called Miracles for Maria was just beautiful.
We all looked and prayed and hoped for a miracle – didn’t we?
As we put our focus in that direction,
I hope that we didn’t miss something extremely important:

Maria WAS the miracle through her response to Jesus
and His response to her.

A seven year old girl was called home
in the seventh month of the year 0-7.
Maria was and always will be a special expression
of God’s love and presence to all of us.

Maria WAS the miracle!
Our Lord is calling all of us today
to look to the miracle OF Maria.
Look to the hand of God in her life
and experience His grace shining through it!

Maria knew, loved, and embraced the cross.
She was given a tremendous cross
that literally took the breadth away from
her family, parish, community, and well beyond
what our minds could possibly imagine.

Maria had a small cross –
the one that was in her casket
and is now on her casket.

When she was most in pain,
excruciating pain, I might add,
Maria took those precious little hands of hers
and wrapped them around her cross
and held on as tightly as she possibly could
so as to gather as much strength that she needed
to endure another bout of pain.

The suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross
and the suffering of Maria were joined as one.
Maria knew the cross and now she knows the glory.

My dear friends,
hold on to the cross through your suffering.
Let it give you strength and endurance
as it did for Maria.

This gift of our salvation,
The cross of Jesus Christ,
has brought us to our ultimate destiny –
the resurrection, eternal life, eternal happiness and peace.

We see the Miracle of the cross in Maria’s life,
how it gave her what she needed
to endure her illness to the end.

Another miracle was her relationship with Jesus.

Maria never left Jesus
and Jesus never left Maria.
She was steadfast in her relationship with God.
Maria never wavered in her love for God.
“Would you like Holy Communion, Maria?” I would ask.
With those beautiful eyes, headband in her hair,
and rounded cheeks,
in her gentle spirit she would respond:
“Oh, yes, Father!”

“Would you like to be anointed with the holy oil and prayed over?”
“Oh, yes, Father!”

And then we would pray and peace would always enter in
as Our Lord Jesus was giving our precious Maria
another sacramental hug!
His grace was consuming her soul!

Maria loved Jesus and Jesus loved Maria.
The miracle of their relationship was bigger than life
and was wrapped in eternal love.

I’ve heard it said:
“I’m done with God!”
“What kind of God would do this?”
“Why, why, why?”
The pain and heartache that we experience
is so consuming, so penetrating
that we don’t know how to handle it,
so we lash out at God.
We blame God for this.

The Lord will help us in our anger.
The Lord will help us in our heartache.
He will help us in our pain.

God did not will this for Maria,
He carried her through it.
He lifted her up and gave her strength.
Jesus held Maria in His loving arms
and walked with her the journey that she endured.

So many prayers went up for healing (mine included).
We prayed hard.
We prayed long.
We prayed rosary after rosary.
We prayed often.

God did not abandon our prayer.
God did not abandon Maria.
He guided us along Maria’s path of holiness.
He guided us along Maria’s path to heaven.
He was with her and us every step of the way.

My dear friends,
look to the miracle – look to Maria.
She never left Jesus
and Jesus never left her.
My precious, precious child, Jesus promises,
there are one set of footprints
given to all those who are faithful.

A third miracle is the miracle of the saints.
Just prior to her death, Maria asked how to [spell
the name] of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
Blessed Kateri is always pictured holding the cross.
Maria was called home by God on Kateri’s feast day
and Maria’s cross was on her pillow next to her precious face.
Kateri means Catherine in her native Mohawk tongue.
Several months ago, after waking up one morning,
Maria asked Megan [if she knew] St. Catherine of Laboure
because she had a dream about her.
In the dream, Maria saw a beautiful stained glass window
of St. Catherine’s image [and next to her was an Indian girl].

Megan asked Maria how she knew it was St. Catherine.
Maria said it was the person standing behind her
in her dream that told her the name.
Catherine Laboure started the Miraculous Medal
because of her love of the Blessed Mother.

We prayed to Blessed Mother Teresa
throughout Maria’s illness.
Megan worked with Blessed Mother Teresa
prior to meeting Ed and taking his hand in marriage
and having a family with him.

What did Blessed Mother Teresa give to Megan?
A miraculous medal!
The very medal that Maria wore throughout her illness.

What young child knows such names as
St. Catherine Laboure or Kateri Tekakwitha?
It all connects to the communion of saints
and another miracle of Maria.
My friends, look to the miracle,
look to Maria.
A final miracle, amidst many more,
is the miracle of family and community.

Megan and Ed,
your constant and faithful love for Maria
touched all of our hearts.
You did all that you could possibly do
and much more besides.
Hold on to that.
Believe in it
and never waver from it.
You shared your story openly with the larger community
and throughout the world.
So many lives have been touched by you and Maria.

Jesus established family and community.
This was his mission and primary purpose.

Thank you for drawing us in
and sharing your story with us.
Maria’s parish community, school community,
neighborhood, city, and well beyond, know that precious smile
and gift of faith that has carried you through this difficult time.

We will continue to walk with you.
We will continue to do what we can in Maria’s memory.

God has given us a precious miracle in Maria McNamara.
We will not lose sight of Maria’s ability to hold fast to the cross.
To remain close to Jesus as He remains close.
To know that we are an important part
of the community of saints as they help us still.
And, through family and community,
we can find the strength that we need
to endure some very difficult challenges that come our way.

We thank God for the miracle of Maria.
As our prayers move from prayers FOR Maria
to prayers FROM Maria may we find strength and hope
that God has blessed us with the miracle of her life
and, perhaps, with miracles yet to come.

God Bless you!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Update as of Saturday July 14, 2007

Here are the services:

Monday July 16, 2007 -- 5 PM to 8 PM
Tuesday July 17, 2007 -- 2PM to 4 PM and 6PM to 8PM
Chambers Funeral Home
29150 Lorain Road
North Olmsted, OH
(Corner of Stearns and Lorain -- North Side)

Mass of Wednesday July 18, 2007 --10:30AM
St. Raphael's Church
525 Dover Center Road
Bay Village, Ohio 44140

Update as of Saturday July 14, 2007

God came today and picked his little sunflower Maria.

She became a Saint in Heaven at 1:30 in the morning.

No words can describe the impact she has left on so many lives.

Maria's brothers, Eddie, Aidan, and Blake and Mom and Dad were with her at home.

Please ask God to give us the strength we need.

We love you Maria. You will be with us everyday.

Love Mom and Dad

Friday, June 15, 2007

Update for Friday June 15, 2007

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for being patient as our updates come less frequently. Thank you for caring. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you seems never to be an adequate word, but, as we have said before, there really are no words to describe what we feel in our hearts.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who have donated to our personal fund on this site. It has helped us quite a bit with many extra expenses we are dealing with now. It has also helped us in getting our foundation up and running, and in other ways more than many of you will know. Thank you to the wonderful Moms from Eddie’s preschool class who just blow me away with their thoughtfulness and support. Miss Teece from the Nature Center—what can I say to you? You are selfless. Thank you for the love you have for our children. Your help and support can not be measured. People line up to register for your class and there is no wonder why. You are an amazing and caring person. To the Cutter Family—From the Dalmatians and beyond—thank you for always praying for us and supporting us. To April-I don’t know where you came from, but you have eased our burden. We love you. To all the schools, students and their families who have followed our story and created beautiful gifts of love from it. All of you have been such positive support for us and your hope and prayers for the best have lifted us and helped us to stay strong and upbeat and to keep believing! Thank you.

Update on Maria--
One of the most difficult things about our situation is not knowing where we are headed. Many people I see ask me how Maria is doing. I find it difficult to answer this question as each day is different. I think to myself that is how God tells us to appreciate today and not to always look ahead. The phrase “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” comes to mind often for me. God gently reminds us each day that He is at the wheel. Hand it all over to Him.

Maria’s Paschal Pal in eighth grade was chosen to crown Mary at St. Raphael’s May Crowning. Therefore Maria also went up with her. She was very excited about it. She held three sunflowers to give to Mary. It was such a special and beautiful ceremony. Something in my heart felt that Mary was smiling down on Maria. I know she is loved in heaven. Somehow, without really knowing it, Maria has radiated a little bit of that heaven to all of us.

The first graders just celebrated Jesus Day. The parents were invited to attend a prayer service the students put on in the Church. Afterward, we shared a picnic lunch outside. The students had a banner put together with all of the things they had learned that year. My eye kept being drawn to the center of the banner where there was a picture of a heart that seemed to be radiating outward. Underneath it was the word “hope”. By chance I happened to mention to Maria’s teacher after the picnic lunch that I really liked the banner, especially the heart in the center with the word “hope” underneath it. Mrs. Kascak told me that was funny because Maria made that heart. I’ve never seen Maria make a heart like that, but I thought how appropriate it was because, to me, she is like that heart in the center radiating God’s love to everyone around her.

Memorial Day was a great day for us. Ed and I noted how Maria’s spirits were wonderful. She was joking around and happy. She said she wanted to go swimming. So off we went as a family to go swimming and eat dinner together. We had such a wonderful time. It was a beautiful day.

Two days later Maria started to take a difficult turn. She was in school and seemed to be doing well on Tuesday. It came suddenly. She started experiencing intense headaches.

This is very much a test of faith. Words are not enough anymore. You have to live it. I asked Jesus, “Where are you? You are silent. We need You. Help us.” It occurred to me when I looked at Maria’s suffering face and how she was quietly accepting the pain without complaint that I had found Him. There He was. He was in her eyes.

Father Tim came over Thursday evening to give Maria the Sacrament of the Sick (as he has done for us in the past). I knew she was in quite a bit of pain but she managed to sit up and give Father a couple of smiles. It was hard not to. Father was like a breath of fresh air. He was upbeat, happy and positive. It felt good to all of us. We were so tired. Maria really loves Father Tim so it was a nice visit.

The next morning Maria woke up and asked to go downstairs to eat. Since then she has recovered a little more each day. It is an emotional roller coaster ride, but that is ok. I praise God for her recovery. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it”. Only God knows what will come of tomorrow. Again He gently reminded me to appreciate the here and now. I’ll keep trying. I know He is walking with us.

I ask that all of you remain positive. Pray for Maria’s symptoms to ease and for her strength to build. Please join us in thanking God for all of the blessings and graces that He has shared with us through an unassuming and special little girl.

Thank you God for today. Please send us an even better tomorrow.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for Maria.

Ed and Megan
I just love this photo so much I had to post it again. We also wanted to include this Song of Love for Maria for all of you to enjoy. We get the biggest kick out of it.

01 Track 1 - Twango

Monday, April 23, 2007

Update as of Saturday April 21, 2007

Hello Everyone,

Today is such a beautiful day. I hope everyone is outside enjoying it!

We have posted a lot less frequently in the past months. A friend of mine said, “You need to post so we can keep those prayers coming!” I am grateful to have this site to come to and post when I feel I need to talk or have something to say. It has been very healing for me to be able to do that. I don’t ever like to force the words, and I’m not one to detail each day. There is so little time in the day for us it seems. Maria has needed us greatly in the past couple months and we are trying to spend every moment we can with her and together as a family. Please understand how appreciative we are to all of you for your concern and prayers. You have all been so wonderful to us! We know how much you love Maria and we will try to post when we can. I ask that you continue to pray for Maria always- even without a post. Prayers are always needed here. Now, more than ever.

The week after Easter we all caught the rotavirus. This was hard on Maria as she could not keep anything down. Dehydration is never good with a brain tumor. We have been focusing on strengthening her and getting her better. The virus took a toll on her and increased the number of symptoms we have been seeing. It has been slow moving but she has shown signs of improvement. We are concerned for her. We do, however, remain as upbeat and joyful as possible, trying not to despair because it will bring no good and we know God wants us to put our trust in Him. Whatever happens will be God’s will and we want to work with Him, not against Him. We are hopeful. I continue to ask God for complete healing. I look to Him to show me the way. We have turned it over to Him. I know she is in the loving hands of Someone who loves her more than we could ever imagine. I always hope that He will allow her to remain with us. No one knows, but Him.

Thank you for your continued prayers for Maria always.

Ed and Megan

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Update as of April 10, 2007

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick but important message that we wanted to get out to everyone. I had the opportunity to meet with Robert Indian of the State of Ohio Health Department. He is the one heading up the Leukemia study for Avon Lake. He has been working in the past year and a half and has gathered a lot of data in regards to Avon Lake and childhood cancer. He is going to have a report out in July with all the details.

As a separate study, he is taking a closer look into all the children’s cancer in Avon Lake. He wants to reach out and talk with every family whose lives have been affected by childhood cancer. So here is what you can do to help. He is going to do a detailed study of every child (15 years or younger at the time of diagnosis) who has had cancer diagnosed while living in Avon Lake from 1994 up through April 15, 2007. He will meet and talk with all of them if they so desire. The only catch is he has to know about them in order to include them in the study. He needs to know who these children are in order to get a better understanding of the numbers. So, we need to help Robert Indian and get him the following information no later than April 15, 2007. We only have 5 days. Please email the foundation with as many children's information as possible. Send the following information to :

Name of Child
Type of cancer
Date of Diagnosis
Phone number

No family has to participate. Robert Indian will contact them to discuss details and ALL information will be kept confidential. He would still like the basic information so that he knows about all the cancers, but you don't have to participate. If you don't want to email this information to the foundation, you can call him directly. Email us for the phone number so that not just anyone will call.

Please send this information ASAP. Even if you don't know all the information, please send us what you do know. You don't have to be living in Avon Lake today, just on the date of diagnosis.

Please call, email and talk with everyone you know in Avon Lake today. We need this information to make sure that the information is accurate.

God Bless,
Ed and Megan

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Update as of Sunday April 1, 2007

Hello Everyone,

Thank you to all of you who are checking in with us on our one-year anniversary since diagnosis. Palm Sunday. It is a special day for us and we thank God for the time He has given us with Maria. We are celebrating life today, and we hope that you do too.

Maria’s attitude and the love that she shares are better and stronger than ever. She continues to draw the most beautiful pictures for us and she laughs a lot. We love hearing that laugh. Marc Quayle, Sophie’s dad, was over the other night for dinner and when he got here he asked where Maria was and I told him she was outside playing. We both smiled and he pointed out what a beautiful thing that is, and he is right. We are so grateful to God for each day and every little thing that comes with it. Maria is outside playing right now as I write this post. She just stepped in to get a grocery bag because she is going on a “nature walk” with her friend next door. My smile is from ear to ear.

We continue to prepare for whatever may come our way. A couple of Maria’s symptoms have gotten slightly worse, but we remain joyful, hopeful and positive. It is important to us that the atmosphere surrounding us stays upbeat. No, it isn’t always easy. I struggled a bit at Church this morning, but my good friend said to me, “Believe, Megan. Just believe.” And that is right. If we believe, things will be ok, no matter what the circumstances.

So there may be a few more of those cold winter days left, but we’re looking forward to the Spring.

God bless all of you and thank you for your continued prayers for Maria.

Ed and Megan

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rosary at St. Raphael's for Maria and Sophie

Please join us in saying the Rosary on Friday, March 16th at 12:00 p.m at St. Raphael's Parish in Bay Village.

The Rosary will be held for the healing and protection of Sophie Quayle and Maria McNamara. Maria McNamara, a first grader at St. Raphael's, and Sophie Quayle, an Avon Lake resident, both suffer from a very serious brain tumor.

If you can't make it to the church then please say a rosary or prayer for the girls on Friday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Update as of Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Hello Everyone,

I know there are quite a few of you out there that have heard by now and, yes, the news is true. There is a beautiful little 3 ½ year old girl named Sophie who was just diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 21st). We knew she lived out in our neck of the woods but did not realize until Ed and her father, Marc, spoke that we live within yards of each other. A short cut-through our neighbor’s backyard. It is shocking to us that such a rare brain tumor (150-200 diagnosed/yr.) could be diagnosed so close to another. It certainly raises questions in everyone’s mind, especially with Avon Lake’s cancer history. We must be diligent and look into this, but there should be no panic.

We have had the pleasure of meeting with Sophie, her little sister and Mom and Dad to help them in any way that we can. They are wonderful people and I instantly felt that we would be friends for life. You can visit Sophie’s site at They left for St. Jude’s last Monday. Sophie starts her radiation treatment this week. Please keep them in your prayers during this extremely difficult time.

The foundation we have started is so important. I cannot stress this enough. There is very little being done to fund a cure for pediatric gliomas. Any doctor you talk to about Maria’s type of tumor is stumped. They just don’t know much of anything about this tumor at all. As I watch Sophie and her family begin their journey, I can’t stand the helplessness of it all. Something has to be done. Please consider donating to our foundation or sponsoring a fundraiser. We are going to see that something IS done about this.

I don’t know why all of this is happening. I don’t know why we are where we are. I just don’t understand the big picture. I think about it often and I am overwhelmed. I have to keep going back to my faith in God or I would be despondent. Seeing Sophie and her family brought back the reality of it all. When I look at Maria, her symptoms, though mild, are there. She is having slight double vision out of her right eye and an ever so slight droop of the mouth on that side. Her laugh and hugs, though, are still the best in the world. Thank God.

When we say our prayers at night at the end I always ask, “What do you want to thank Jesus for?” and Maria, without hesitation, says “my tumor” every time. She is such a beautiful thinker. Way beyond my years. I am stunned that she thanks God for her tumor. Then I ask, “What do you want to ask Jesus for?” And she says, “I’d like to ask Jesus to take my tumor away.” Thank goodness. Please hear our prayers, Lord.

We do love St. Jude’s, but as most of you know they’ve been doing a major advertising campaign on TV showing personal stories. It is for such a great cause. The only thing that went wrong, though, is Maria was watching TV and for some reason Ed and I were both out of the room for a second and Maria flipped on one of their specials and a child was dying from a brain tumor. What are the odds? I heard the boys come into the room and Maria scolded them saying, “You need to get out of here. This is too scary for you to watch.” I called out to Maria and I asked her what she was watching and she came into the room crying, saying, “Mom there was a boy at St. Jude’s with a tumor and he was dying! Am I going to die?! I’m too young to die! I don’t want to die!”. I was so caught off guard but instantly reassured her. You’re ok right now aren’t you Maria? You have gotten better. Don’t worry about things like that. Jesus is always with us and as long as we know He is with us we are going to be just fine. She eventually recovered, but only with some permanent wounds. Even still, she thanks God for that tumor.

I feel like the luckiest Mom in the world because God gave Maria to me to care for and to love. He must love me so much to have put such a beautiful flower in my life. She brings me so much joy and happiness. Maria often stops and tells me for no particular reason, “I love you Mom” “You’re the best Mom in the whole world.” I just don’t feel worthy, but it makes me feel so good inside. There is no better treasure. No better gift. I can’t bear the thought of living without this or living without her. So I beg God to please show mercy. Touch her and heal her. She has so many beautiful and wonderful gifts to share.

I have to believe. I have to pray. I have to hope. For me, there is no alternative. I will not give up. I am Maria’s mother and she can draw her strength from me. I will never give up on God’s ability to deliver us from this painful ordeal. When Jesus and His apostles are in the boat and a storm kicks up and winds are thrashing the boat about, the apostles become frightened and they wake Jesus. He calms the storm and asks them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Fr. Tim says instead of focusing on the hurt and the pain, focus on Christ. That is where I will rest my eyes—on Him. I will cling to Him. I will put my trust in Him. But, He is a merciful God and wants us to bring our requests to Him, so I will ask God: Please, let her be with us for years to come. Let her get on the school bus with her brother in the fall. The two of them are so looking forward to it. Let us always be able to hear her funny laugh and her silly jokes. I need to hear these. I need to color and play Polly’s with her. I need our talks and our special times. I need her little arms wrapped around my neck. I need to watch her grow. I need her here. You don’t want me to despair Lord, but to put my faith and trust in you. That is what I am doing, but not without asking You to please show mercy. Know that I not only trust in Your will but also in your never-ending mercy.

Now, during Lent, during this special time of the year when God’s graces are so abundant, I ask each of you to pray as hard as you can for Maria. Lift her up. Ask God to place His healing hands upon her and show His never-ending mercy. Ask Him to pull the bad cells right out of her head. Envision it. Believe in His power to do this. Please ask Him for this, and don’t ever give up. We must always be hopeful, and wait for God to show us the way.

Thank you to so many of you for being such an inspiration to me. When I think about how many of you have chosen to reach out or to take action to help us and others I am humbled and I learn from you. John Gentry (aka Trucker), you are an amazing man and I thank you for the work you are doing for our foundation. The event you have planned for June 16th is really something. We will be posting more details on our foundation’s site to come so everyone please check it out.

God bless all of you and thank you for your continued prayers for Maria.

Ed and Megan

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Update as of Thursday February 1 2007

Update as of Thursday February 1, 2007

Hello Everyone,

Time just keeps flying by.

Maria is still doing well. It has been 2 months since we received very bad news that our time is limited with Maria. As we told you, we were not supposed to have a great Christmas or January. Well, Maria is still dancing, singing, laughing, telling jokes and playing with her brothers, everyday. We cherish every second of it and we thank God for it. Thank you for your continued prayers.

I don’t know if it is her age, or her life experiences, but Maria is a comedian. She tells more jokes than I do at a bad alcohol induced Christmas party, AND she is funny! Just yesterday, she interviewed her best friend at the bus stop because it was the first time Morgan was at the bus stop before any of her sisters. Megan kept saying I can't believe Morgan made it to the stop first today. Well, Maria wanted more information and used her reporting skills. So, like a good reporter (or comic) Maria asked the tough question with her thumb microphone in hand, “So, how does it feel Morgan?” No comment from the bus stop star.

Maria is the best little 7 year old girl in the world. This picture is Maria in the Nine West store with mommy trying on hats. She did not buy this one, but I wanted her to.

Quick story time. Last week, Maria and her brothers made mommy and daddy breakfast. It was soooo cute. We closed our eyes and were guided into the kitchen for the great surprise of homemade, gourmet, Cheerios! With milk! We ate like royalty and Daddy had to clean up afterwards. I don’t know how I got that job, but it was worth it.

On a more serious note...Today we ask for your prayers for a very nice family who just lost their beautiful little girl, Kate, (January 27, 2007) to this horrible tumor. If you remember one of our previous posts, Kate is the only other child we have actually met in person with Maria’s diagnosis. We met her and her mother Colleen at St. Jude. Please pray for sweet Kate, her Mom and Dad and twin brother Erik.

Just_before posting today, we learned about another child we lost. John J Lipski (January 31, 2007) JJ’s family has been a great resource for us in following many other children and their progress. They have also been a pillar of strength, love and prayer. Please pray for JJ and his family.

Foundation update –

Thank you to everyone for supporting our new foundation! The response has been incredible and we are very excited about the future. We are so grateful to the numbers of you that are willing to donate your time and talents. We will be contacting all the volunteers accordingly.

We have added a “wish list” of some top items that we are looking for. Check out our GetInvolved link to see how you may be able to help.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and love.

God Bless,
Ed and Megan

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Update as of Thursday 11, 2007

Hello Everyone,

Today is Maria’s 7th birthday and we thought the perfect day to announce the establishment of our new nonprofit organization, the Prayers From Maria Foundation (see: ).

There aren’t many people who realize that pediatric gliomas are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in young people and 85-95% of these children die within the first five years of diagnosis. I had never even heard the word “glioma” before Maria.

After Maria’s diagnosis, Ed and I frantically searched medical journals, books, articles and the Internet for any sign of hope that we could cling to that might possibly save our daughter’s life. What we uncovered was that childhood glioma (brain tumor) research was grossly underfunded, and there was no organization acting as a clearinghouse or translator of the state of research for newly diagnosed families. There is simply not enough being done to find a cure. It is unacceptable for a child who is perfectly healthy one day to be told that she has months to live the next.

As a mother I can’t rest in my heart knowing this information and knowing that I have the ability to do something about it. Ed and I have continuously thought about our role in the midst of this. We have tried to open ourselves to God’s plan and how we are to participate in it. I believe many successes have come about in medicine for the betterment of all because those who have been personally touched by an illness have decided not to sit on the sidelines, but to do more.

The Prayers from Maria Foundation is charged with funding research into a cure for childhood gliomas, and to advocate for families with such conditions. Initially, it is our goal to gather enough funding to provide grants to research institutions that can demonstrate how they plan to best use the money to find a cure for this child-killing disease. Eight of the very best doctors and biomedical researchers in this area have agreed to be on the foundation’s advisory board. Based on their knowledge and the research that the foundation will fund, we plan to create a destination for newly diagnosed parents to access the most up-to-date information regarding glioma research and options for treatment. Eventually, it is our goal to offer financial assistance to parents without the means to get the best treatment available for their child.

With these ambitious goals, fundraising will be a major concern. So many of you have generously reached out to us personally and for that we are so grateful. Ed and I will be transferring the balance of our Prayers for Maria fund to the foundation. We did not actively seek any funding in the past, but we now begin to do so for the foundation. While individual donations will be greatly appreciated, we will focus predominantly on two areas for fundraising, and can use your help: (1) corporate donations and (2) events.

First, we would appreciate any help in securing corporate donations. The Prayers from Maria Foundation is now established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and we have an experienced governance board, as well as a top-notch advisory board in place. We have also established a grant proposal review process (modeled after the National Institute of Health) to make sure we fund only promising research that focuses specifically on childhood tumors.

Secondly, we have witnessed the power of the various events that were held in Maria’s name - from children holding bake sales to bikers riding in poker runs – and we plan to carry on with this type of activity to fund research. We will keep you posted about our upcoming “Kids Curing Kids” campaign, and we encourage you to help us think of events, hold such events, and perhaps volunteer your time.

If you are interested in volunteering, making a donation, or finding out more please visit

On our website, we post various children affected by some form of glioma. These are beautiful children you’d see next door. As we worked on the site we had to keep updating that section as children continued to pass away on a regular basis. This is the harsh reality of gliomas. We have to stop this from happening.

Thank you again and again for all of your love and support.

Love,Ed and Megan

Monday, January 08, 2007

Update as of Monday, January 8, 2007

Hello Everyone,

We want to thank all of you for being so wonderful to us. I am glad that we have a comments section on the site so each of you can witness how much kindness and love comes to our family from so many different people in so many different places. I wish I could share with all of you what I receive from people on a daily basis—kind beautiful letters, cards and phone calls, support and encouragement from those that just want to help in any way they can, meals for our family, thoughtful gifts, loving words from people we know and people we don’t, so many children from toddler to teenager praying for Maria and reaching out to her with so much love in their hearts. Numbers of people who tell us how their lives have been personally touched by Maria’s story. Not a day goes by where we are not the recipient of some act of kindness. I personally have never felt such an outpouring of tremendous love like this before and I want all of you to share in it because it is truly something miraculous in and of itself. I see God at work here and I feel so blessed and lucky to see Him so close up through so many of you. In the midst of the chaos that we often see in this world—there is so much HOPE.

As you know, our last trip to St. Jude was filled with devastating news. Each trip to a hospital brings so much anxiety. We live our life at home from day to day maintaining as much normalcy as we can. We get into our swing and then it’s time to go back to the hospital where talking about the reality of a very deadly disease and our daughter seems to surround us and squeeze out every bit of happiness that we have. Trying to stay above the fray can be very challenging as you sit in an examination room surrounded by the walls of a hospital. Sitting in the exam room waiting for the results of the MRI can be nerve wracking. We sit and joke around with Maria and keep the conversation happy and upbeat as best we can. When the nurse came in and asked Maria if she wanted to go into the other room to color, my heart sank and I knew that it couldn’t be good. Dr. Gajjar soon walked in and confirmed “it isn’t good.” He then went on to tell us that the tumor had grown and Maria would not be here next year. He estimated that she had maybe two to three months left. Current relapse treatments are far from promising. He did not mix words. He is a good man and offered us any help or assistance he could provide. My initial reaction was what do we need to do next to safeguard her, to protect her. We have to do something. My insides hurt. Dr. Gajjar took us to view the MRI and I wasn’t able to hold back my tears any longer. I just wanted to go and be with Maria. To hug her and to kiss her and never let her take one step away from me—ever. I got myself together mentally as I went back to see her. She was sitting at a table chatting away with Dr. Gajjar’s nurse, Valerie, and a Child Life Specialist. She was entertaining them, and me, as I listened to her funny story about her brothers. Always so smiling and unaffected. I could see touched hearts in the faces sitting with Maria. They knew. Their jobs must be so difficult, but how lucky they are to work with the warriors they meet at St. Jude.

Out of any of our trips to St. Jude, this one should’ve been the one that broke me, but instead I looked at Maria and I knew I was not going to give up hope. I’ve written to all of you about struggling for an inner peace and I believe in my heart and soul that it was God who gave it to me that day. For the first time ever I felt true peace. I was comforted and filled with more hope than ever before. As I have told many of you, if Maria was given full knowledge of her prognosis I know she would look at me and say “Mom, don’t you ever give up on me.” And I never will. God tells us not to despair and so I remain hopeful. You can NEVER give up hope.

I hope that by knowing our experience we are giving back to all of you in some small way for your never-ending prayers for Maria. When Maria was first diagnosed I immediately knew Prayers for Maria are what we needed right away, because I very much believe in the power of prayer and what it can do. All of your prayers have made such a difference in our lives and I really believe they are helping Maria.

Maria is back in school now and happier and more energetic than I’ve ever seen her. She is going to celebrate her 7th birthday on Thursday the 11th of January. All this at a time when they thought she’d be in a hospice state. I can’t say what tomorrow is going to bring, but we are very happy today and I will never stop believing in hope and the power of prayer.

I am so grateful to all of you for your prayers. Your prayers have spread like wildfire from one person to the next and I know it has done so much for my daughter. How do we thank you for something like this? Our gratitude could never be measured. It is so deep.

I am attaching a song we’d like to share with you that WGAR in Cleveland put together after they interviewed us for their annual St. Jude radiothon back in early November. What a great place St. Jude is. Please keep all of the children and families there in your prayers and all children and families who suffer from lives touched by cancer.

I’d like to close with my favorite prayer from Mother Teresa that I try to say every day. All of you are such an example of what it is to radiate Christ. Thank you.

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance
everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit
and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being
so utterly that all my life may only be
a radiance of Thee.

God bless all of you for making such a difference in our lives.

Ed and Megan