Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 Success!!!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

May 23, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. Mattie was having a visit to the clinic and in typical Mattie fashion was full of antics. In fact, he and Jessie (his art therapist) were having wheel chair races in the middle of the clinic. This was the beauty of Mattie Brown. Even dealing with cancer, he had a life about him which caused people to gravitate to him. 

Quote of the day: Grief is learning that it’s possible for a part of you to die while you are still living. ~ Uma Girish

Tonight's Walk photos, capture the actual Walk.......................................

Before the walk actually began, Peter and I both greeted our participants. Peter gave a wonderful update about the Foundation's activities, and I shared Walk facts such as our fundraising totals, our top fundraising individuals and teams. I also acknowledged that we had four children with cancer in attendance and wanted to commend their courage and strength. In particular, I wanted to remind everyone that we walk for these children and children like them. I then explained that everyone would be walking passed 90 hurdles with posters on them along the track. I mentioned that if each hurdle represented a child with cancer, then these 90 hurdles would illustrate the number of children diagnosed with cancer EVERY two days in the United States. In addition, these 90 hurdles would also reflect the number of children who die in the USA in less than one month's time. 

Top Individual Fundraising Awards

Adult: Peggy Elkind ($7,104)
Teen: Abbie Henshaw ($837)

Top Team Awards

Fundraising: RCC and Friends ($10,574)
Most participants by May 15th: Blessed Sacrament Bullfrogs (45 members)
Spirit: Team SAINTS (for hosting weekly bake sales at school, to raise funds and to register students for the Walk & Family Festival)

Meanwhile, behind us on the track is Herman, our photographer. He was standing on a ten foot ladder so he could capture the extent of the crowd!

The crowd, as seen from atop of the ladder.

A close up of the crowd. You may notice a large robot on the right hand side. This robot was brought to us by a local high school robotics club who participated at the Walk. 

After photos are taken, the Walk begins. Literally people have to walk around Herman on the ladder without knocking him over!!!

Holding the banner from left to right are:

Dr. Aziza Shad (one of Mattie's oncologists, and the doctor we will be supporting at Children's Hospital at Sinai), my Mom, Eugene and Ronee (close family friends), and Peggy (our top fundraiser).

The lady you see waving and pushing a baby carriage, is a mom with a daughter in active treatment. This woman's husband is behind her and the little girl is on his shoulders. We are so happy they could join us!
Friends and family waving! The couple in the front are my cousins Maria and Peter. They came all the way from Michigan to attend the Walk. So this Walk was like a mini family reunion for us. 
Do you see the two ladies... one in a wheelchair and the other using a walker? Well this is my friend Margy and my friend in cancer, Patti. Margy is now courageously dealing with her own cancer battle, this is after she has helped hundreds of children cope with cancer through her role as a play therapist at a local hospital and then as a  cancer foundation leader. Patti is a friend of Margy's and believe it or not, Patti lost both of her children to cancer. So Patti and I see eye to eye, as we are now both childless. This is the second year in a row that Margy has captained Team Kimber. In memory of her friend and colleague, Kimber (who was Patti's daughter), who was a pediatric oncology nurse. 

This track is huge which makes our crowd of 400 people look small!
Pictured in yellow is Leslie. Leslie was Mattie's kindergarten teacher. Next to Leslie is Jaylene. Jaylene is the new head of the lower school, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time.
This was participants walking passed our Forever Family posters. This poster series was NEW this year. The point of the series is to illustrate that childhood cancer is a family disease, and the disease impacts families at every stage of the journey from diagnosis, throughout treatment, into survivorship or end of life and bereavement. 

On the posters are photos of families whose child has been diagnosed with cancer. In addition, the poster highlights the five words that each family members gave us to describe the impact of cancer on their lives. In all cases, the five words highlight psychosocial issues and concerns and NOT the medicine. No surprise to Mattie Miracle, as we firmly believe that childhood cancer is NOT JUST ABOUT THE MEDICINE. 

May 22, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 -- Mattie died 453 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. My friend Christine, held Mattie's 7th birthday party at her house and she arranged for Reptiles Alive to perform for the children. This was right up Mattie's alley since he LOVED snakes and basically anything that creeped me out. 

I think it is quite special that now ten years later, Reptiles Alive came to our 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival to entertain our participants. They hosted a 30 minute show, followed by a 30 minute meet and greet with exotic animals. It seems like we have come full circle now. 

Quote of the day: Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.  ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Tonight's feature photos from the Walk were taken during the Reptiles Alive show!

This is Rachel. She is the educator from Reptiles Alive who spent time with us at the Mattie Miracle Walk. As you can see she brought all sorts of snakes to the event!
Kids and parents of all ages were fascinated! Look at these expressions. 
Rachel told me that the kids were very animated, bright, and inquisitive! So she loved her audience and her audience seemed very engaged with her show. 
Look at the focus and concentration!!!
A show that appealed to big and smaller children. Given that this was our first year having a Reptiles Alive show, I wasn't sure what to expect! But I am so happy it was a hit. 

I took this photo of Rachel with Peter and my mother in law, Barbara. I think it is a priceless shot and I know Mattie would have been proud!

This snake's name is Sunglow. Believe it or not, I even touched Sunglow. Can't say I loved it but I did not freak out as I usually do around snake. With that said, I think I was brave because Rachel was holding this fellow. If I saw this thing out in the real world, I most certainly would have bolted the other way. 

May 21, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie surprised me with a gift for Mother's Day. A gift that he worked with his art therapists to create. They made paper tissue flowers, but what you can't see was Mattie made a red clay vase for me in clinic. This vase holding the paper tissue flowers remains in our living room today. 

Quote of the day: Grief is love with no where to go. ~ Uma Girish

Over the next week or more, I will be highlighting photos from our Walk & Family Festival that was held on Sunday! Here are three top Walk facts:

1) There were over 400 people in attendance
2) The event raised over $97,000 (exceeding our goal by over $12,000)
3) Our 19 teams raised $41,232

Last year, Mattie Miracle did a Facebook campaign. We invited families to submit photos of their child who died from cancer. In addition, we asked parents to supply their child's name, age, diagnosis type, and five words that describe their child. These posters became our "Forever Heroes" series. It is a very haunting and meaningful visual at the Walk. This year, I explained to attendees that if the hurdles around the track represented a child with cancer, then this would illustrate the vast number of children who die in less than one month's time in the US. It is a very sobering visual, in which children lose their battle with cancer daily. In fact, four children a day in the US, die from cancer. This is tragic for parents, but what is even more tragic is when people forget about the lives of these children. As tonight's quote points out.... grief is love with no place to go. It is our hope that the posters provide a place for that love and also the faces and lives of these children are never to be forgotten, but instead shared with others in the community. 

A close up of our challenge wall and gold pinwheels. As gold is the official color for childhood cancer. Those of you not familiar with our walk, maybe saying, what's with the cups?! The cups help track the number of laps our teams walk around the track. So a cup a lap! 

We did a second Facebook campaign this year. This campaign generated our "Forever Family" poster series. The point was to emphasize that childhood cancer is a family disease and every one in the family is affected. In addition, we encouraged our participants to read the five word description, these families provided, of how cancer has impacted their lives. The words they used were purely psychosocial in nature, with no mention of the medicine. As families know from personal experience, childhood cancer is NOT just about the medicine. 

Families play a vital role in the health and wellness of their children and must be included as part of the cancer treatment team for the medicine to be effected. We wanted to illustrate the importance of family and also the simple fact that some things are bigger than cancer, such as family. Family lasts forever, regardless of diagnosis, treatment, survivorship or grief and loss.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie was home in between treatments and was sitting on the couch surrounded by his blankets, toys, and his stuffed animal cat. Mattie received this stuffed animal as a reward from his child life specialist. Mattie did a good job complying with a procedure, and as a reward he got to pick out something from the hospital gift shop. Mattie wanted the cat!

Quote of the day: When people make donations to non profits, they want to know that their money goes to good use.Sam Simon

Our grand total for this year's Walk is $96,188! Totally amazing. I am EXHAUSTED, so I am sharing some highlights from the day. 

My mom and me.
 The Walk beginning!
Peter and me with my cousins Maria and Peter, who now live in Michigan. Maria and I met as children in Italy. Ironically we got reconnected a few years ago and we are honored she came to the Walk. 
My mom and me with our friends Ronee and Eugene. They live in New York and came to DC to attend our Walk. 
The man in blue is Dylan, our caricaturist! He was wonderful. In front of him was little Liz and her family. Liz is currently undergoing treatment. 
This cutie is Emma. Emma is also enduring cancer treatment. She LOVED to build.
We were visited by the Dunkin Donuts Community Cruiser! Can you see Marti peeking her head into the photo from behind the truck's window. Peter and I met Marti a few weeks ago in Foggy Bottom and literally we just went up to talk to her to get more information about the truck. When we were done, we suggested she come to the Walk and she loved the idea. The rest is history. 
Me with Tricia, Mattie's favorite nurse. Tricia made this beautiful Mattie Miracle theme colored wreath for me. It is just charming with butterflies and a hummingbird. Tricia was there for Peter and I every step of the way when Mattie was sick. We will never forget her and she will always be a special part of our lives. 

Peter and his mom, with Rachel from Reptiles Alive and Sunglow.... a boa constrictor! Sunglow was featured at the Reptiles Alive show at the Walk.

I end tonight's blog with a photo of myself with my dad and my lifetime friend, Karen. 

May 19, 2018

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. On either side of Mattie were his close kindergarten friends.... Charlotte and Campbell. Though Mattie is no longer alive, these children are still involved in the Foundation's life and their families are loyal supporters of Mattie Miracle. As tomorrow is the Foundation's Walk, I always reflect on this moment in time! 

Quote of the day: I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

$86,999! Is today's fundraising total! Tomorrow is the 9th Annual Mattie Miracle Walk & Family Festival. If you are looking to get outside and to actually see the SUN, come out to Alexandria, VA from 10am to 2pm. We are located at 1000 St. Stephen's Road, Alexandria, VA! We love to personally thank our supporters for making the Mattie Miracles happen. 

May 18, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. When Mattie attended the Mattie March held by his support community in his honor, Mattie's art therapists made him an adorable super hero cape for him to wear. I introduce you to SUPER MATTIE. I thought this was just priceless. 

Quote of the day: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

It's been another full day, and we are on day 6 of rain. I can only hope everyone is doing their sun dance for Sunday's Mattie Miracle Walk! I am proud to say that we have surpassed our goal today and our thermometer reads.....$86,198! We thank all of our sponsors and supporters for making this happen! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009 at the Mattie March. Pictured next to Mattie is Zachary. Mattie and Zachary met the first day of preschool, and became inseparable buddies from day one. Mattie and Zachary had a very physically active friendship, yet when Mattie was diagnosed with cancer, his ability to run and play changed. That could have impacted their friendship but it didn't. It didn't because Zachary found a way to make it work! In fact, on the day of the Mattie March, Zachary stayed close to his buddy for the entire event. What this photo proves to me is that some things are more powerful than cancer.

Quote of the day: I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I cant change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.Charles de Lint

It's 1am, and we are still up and working. But wanted to report today's Walk total.... $84,885!
My entire first floor is covered with Walk materials! Pop up tents and a first aid kit.... Get the picture?!
Posters and signage about childhood cancer and the Foundation! Corn hole boards too!
These boxes contain over 5,000 colorful plastic cups! Cups are earned by walkers. Each lap, you get a cup! The cups are then placed in our challenge wall (a chain link fence) and it makes a wonderful visual of unity. Walking together to raise money for childhood cancer. 
Posters and a giant connect four lawn game! 
This photo takes the cake!!! Sunny has had it with all the work and change going on in our home. He doesn't like the fact that his dog bed has been moved and replaced with a cart.