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

November 16, 2017

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. Mattie was three years old and lying on our bed. This wasn't unusual for Mattie. He loved spending time on our bed. Whether it was jumping on it, reading books, watching Scooby Doo or the list goes on. I remember on the weekends, Mattie would wake up, and come flying into our room. To let us know it was time to GET UP! Mattie would typically scurry over to my side of the bed and start poking at me. Mattie was like Peter, as they both are morning people! They just wake up ready to go.

Quote of the day: Find a need and fill it. ~ Ruth Stafford Peale

This morning I headed to Falls Church, VA to make a candy drop at the Virginia Ronald McDonald House. Pictured from left to right are Julie (director of marketing), our friend Tim, and Doug (the house manager). It is amazing how much candy can come out of my trunk!
After that delivery, I headed to Pediatric Specialists of Virginia (PSV). PSV became a new recipient of our candy drive this year. The clinic sent me this photo this afternoon, and if you look closely you can see our candy featured on their table. 
Candy was also delivered to MedStar Georgetown University today. Featured in this photo is Jessica, a child life specialist at the Hospital. 

Mattie Miracle is proud to fund and stock our Snack and Item Cart at the Hospital. This Cart is offered FREE to families caring for children in the Hospital and contains candy, nutritious snacks, drinks, and toiletry items. Families LOVE the Cart and we thank all our supporters for making these sweet treats possible.

Tomorrow is our last VERY big delivery. We are renting another U-Haul to manage about thirty bins. Unfortunately we will receive more candy after Thanksgiving, about ten more bins. I have been working hard this week to find homes for this candy, and have identified two shelters (one in Alexandria, VA and one in Rockville, MD) thankfully! I truly hoped that tomorrow would be it for the candy, but I will make it work. 

Meanwhile, we have a neighbor who was in an accident about a week ago. She is in her 70's, and was at a store when someone in front of her in line quickly turned around and banged into her. This caused her to immediately fall and with that broke an arm and leg. What absolutely stuns me is that the hospital released her and frankly they did not assess how well she would be able to manage her own care at home. Which of course she can't! She has an arm and leg cast! This afternoon and evening, we visited her and assessed what she needed help with. We literally vacuumed, cleaned, did her laundry, helped to change her and her bed linens, did her laundry, went grocery shopping, cooked her dinner, and got her back into bed. I hadn't planned on this today, but as I said to Peter, doing the right thing isn't always the easiest thing. Our neighbor had friends that stopped by to visit her briefly tonight. While there they watched us put away groceries, serve her dinner, and remake her bed with the clean sheets. The comment was.... wow..... you guys look like you know what you are doing! Rather funny! I have taken intense care of Mattie and my friend Mary (who was in her 80s). So I can quickly assess a situation and determine what is needed! 

November 15, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. I happen to just love this photo! I took it of Mattie outside the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. I thought it was priceless how he decided to hug this ape. The beauty and wonders of Mattie..... as all our weekends were always an adventure. Mattie was very bright, which was a mixed blessing. He needed constant stimulation and challenges, which we tried to give him. Usually with success. After Mattie died, our weekends were truly problematic for Peter and me. We were absolutely lost and directionless, so much so that we hated weekends for the longest time. 

Quote of the day: If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. ~ Betty Reese

I am on day 3 of candy delivery, with two more days to go!!!

This morning I met up with Angela Ashman, the Program Director for Special Love. Special Love is a non-profit 
that helps children with cancer to “just be kids,” through camps, emergency financial assistance, college scholarships and community support.

If Mattie were alive, he would be besides himself with Special Love's mini van, as it looks like Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. Mattie was a HUGE Scooby Doo fan! Though Special Love isn't located around the corner, Angela and I always meet half way, as we are happy to support her organization. 

So I met Angela at Tyson's Corner, and then drove to Bethesda, MD. My second delivery today was at the Children's Inn at NIH. I am pictured with Laura King, the Senior Director of Volunteers & Community Outreach. The Children’s Inn at NIH is a residential “Place Like Home’’ for families with children participating in leading-edge research studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

When I arrived at the Inn, the staff at the front desk called me, "the Candy Queen." I joked with them that they promoted me from lady to queen! Needless to say, in order to get onto the campus of NIH, I have to get out of my car. My car has to be inspected and I have to go through a metal detector and show my ID. The security folks are always amazed by the candy. You should see how their faces go from all serious to smiling in seconds after seeing the candy! Isn't it funny the impact of candy on all age groups?

After driving to Bethesda, I then drove to Alexandria, VA! I felt like a shuttle service this morning..... DC to Tyson's, Tyson's to Bethesda, Bethesda to Alexandria, and Alexandria to DC.

In any case, I reloaded my car with nine bins worth of candy for tomorrow's delivery! Lifting one of these bags is more than enough, but a countless number of bags becomes taxing! 

November 14, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

 Tuesday, November 14, 2017 -- Mattie died 426 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on November 13, 2006. Mattie was four years old. In celebration of Peter's birthday, I snapped a photo of the boys together on the couch. Love their fall colors, and when you look at this photo, it is hard to believe that only two years later Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. 

Quote of the day: We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history. ~ Sonia Johnson

Today was day two of deliveries. I started the morning with a full trunk of candy that we packed the night before. It makes it easier to hit the ground running in the morning. 

My first stop was at HSC (Hospital for Sick Children) Pediatric Center, in Washington, DC. This is a small facility and in many cases, it falls off the radar in our community. But this hospital deals with children in great need of support, and when I walked in the door this morning, all the security people know me. I am "the candy lady." Apparently I made a name for myself! Pictured here with the two lovely security folks are the child life staff at the Hospital. I was told today that patients were asking when the candy was coming..... so I am happy I did not disappointment before Thanksgiving. 

After that delivery, I headed to the Ronald McDonald House in DC. Literally it is about five minutes from the Hospital. I am pictured with Tim Mooney and Leslie Burkhalter. Leslie is the House manager and Tim does development work for Ronald McDonald. But how do I know Tim? Well Tim used to be our development contact at Georgetown University Hospital. Though Tim never met Mattie, he spent a good deal of time getting to know us and our story. He continues to be supportive of the Foundation, comes to every walk, is known to wear an orange tie for five days around the anniversary of Mattie's death, and also created a memorial stone in Mattie's name outside the entrance to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. So as you can see, Tim is not your average development person. 

In comparison to yesterday's deliveries, today was much easier. I did not have to cover as much geographical territory. However, since it was only me delivering, I did a lot of lifting and carrying of bags. Candy is HEAVY. Then after my two deliveries I had to drive to Alexandria, and reload my car for tomorrow's donations! 

We rented a U-Haul on Monday and will rent another one on Friday. In between, I try to take at least nine bins full of candy a day and deliver it locally. The worst part of today was emptying the bins and carrying and loading the candy into my car. In addition to that, I am trying to clean up the garage as we go, which is another labor of love that entails re-stacking all the empty bins (bins which have already been emptied and the candy delivered). It is like a nesting doll challenge! 

November 13, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken on Peter's birthday in 2009. Mattie was in the Hospital recovering from limb salvaging surgery. Yet wanted to make something for Peter to celebrate his birthday. Ironically it was the last birthday they celebrated together. Mattie worked with his art therapists and created a wonderful card and special cake made out of model magic for Peter. This birthday gift was special then as it is special now. The cake still sits on the dresser in our bedroom. Whenever I see it, which is daily, I think of this exact moment in time. 

Quote of the day: As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Before delivering candy today... we called the police and fire departments!

Special thanks to Officer Dylan Lemley and the Alexandria City team who responded to help us! All are amazing people committed to helping the community!!

An older adult, who spoke no English, was wandering around the sidewalk and walking in the middle of street. She approached me. She tried talking to other people in the neighborhood who were jogging or walking a dog, but no one gave her the time of day. After interacting with her I deemed she had dementia (which wasn't easy since we couldn't verbally communicate). Peter got out Google translate on his cell phone and tried to figure out what language she spoke. He tried everything from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc! So I called the police! I was so impressed with how this was handled, that I wrote a letter of commendation to the Officer's superior. Here is my letter:

Dear Sargent Weinstein,

I have great respect for police, fire, and all first responders. My uncle was an officer in NYC, and I am always in amazement with how some people just have a calling and can walk right into harm's way, to bring law and order, and civility to our communities. Today I had a first hand experience working with your police department and felt the need to write to you personally and let you know that Dylan Lemley represents your Department beautifully. 

I am not an Alexandria City resident. I live in DC, but was visiting my friend who lives in the Seminary Ridge neighborhood. While I was loading things from her garage into our car, I noticed an older Asian woman wandering around on the sidewalk and in the middle of the street. People were walking their dogs and passed her, but no one stopped as she was frantically talking to them. When she saw me, she immediately approached. At first I wasn't sure whether she was mentally stable and had to assess her and the situation quickly. She spoke NO ENGLISH, which made this challenging. My husband pulled out his cell phone and he tried Google translate to see if he could communicate with her and help. But she did not respond to Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc. Given she seemed disoriented, I decided to call Alexandria City police. I have had other issues in Seminary Ridge which is why I have your number programmed into my cell phone. 

Within five minutes of calling and reporting the issue, Officer Lemley arrived. Typically we all have an expectation for the police when a crime is being committed, but there was no crime here. So I got to see Officer Lemley literally work a major problem out with us and in the process observed his kindness and compassion for the older woman who was lost and out in the cold. I could tell that the woman wanted to write down something and communicate to us, so I gave her paper and a pen before Officer Lemley arrived. She kept writing down four numbers. When Officer Lemley arrived, we brainstormed, he called your translator service, but despite best efforts they couldn't understand her nor could she understand them. So literally it was me, Officer Lemley, and my husband working this problem. Officer Lemley understood given her age and the cold that she needed a medic, so the fire department also responded. Once she was safely inside a truck and warming up, we literally started to use google map and find all addresses that started with 4*** (the number she wrote down). Your police officers (now at least two others responded to support Officer Lemley) drove to each of the houses with a 4*** address to see if a missing older adult was reported. Honestly watching your officers tackle this issue was very inspiring. 

I had to leave on an errand after being with this woman for 90 minutes. But I knew she was in good hands. Nonetheless, Officer Lemley is took it upon himself to call me on my cell phone to give me an update about this woman and to let me know she was returned safely home. This meant a great deal to me, and I frankly think this is a human interest story worth reporting. In closing, we strongly recommend Officer Lemley receive a commendation for going above and beyond his duties of being a police officer.

In addition to helping this woman, we also had to load the moving truck with thousands of pounds of candy! That is no small feat, that Peter and I accomplished together. Especially on Peter's birthday. 
Our first delivery was to the Hackerman Patz House. This is a House located on the campus of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. It is in essence like a hotel or guest house, except the cost is nominal and they provide meals and other amenities while caring for a sick loved one next door at the Hospital. Pictured with me is Amy, the house manager. An amazing woman who has devoted her life to service, not only oversees, and as a nurse, but in managing this house. 
Our next delivery was to our development contact, Geannie, at Sinai Hospital. All 15 bins of candy (and it weighed a ton) were temporarily stored in Geannie's office. Eventually these items will make it onto our Mattie Miracle Snack and Item cart at the Hospital. 
Our last stop in Baltimore today was at the Ronald McDonald House. This group of women truly energizes us as they were SO THRILLED to see us and the candy! They share my excitement about candy and decided to display the candy for the entire day like this so kids who enter the House could check out this scene! 
These ladies captured a photo of Peter and me with Ronald McDonald!

Needless to say, it was a long day that involved getting the truck, loading the truck, driving 90 minutes each way back and forth, unloading candy at each site and then coming back to Alexandria to load my car for tomorrow's deliveries, and then returning the rented truck. A WEEK long of deliveries..... OH MY!

November 12, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken on November 13, 2007. It was Peter's birthday and Mattie and I always baked Peter a cake to celebrate. Mattie loved the excitement around a special occasion. Peter loves lemon cake with vanilla frosting, so that was what we always surprised him with. As you can see there were three candles on the cake..... one to represent Peter, Mattie, and me. 

Quote of the day: Was it always to be like this? she wondered. A moment of joy followed by a new sorrow? ~ Soheir Khashoggi

It is hard to believe but today was a CANDY free day! It was thrilling. However, I can't get too comfortable, as the deliveries start tomorrow. We are renting a U-Haul truck tomorrow to drive 90 minutes to Baltimore. We are delivering to Sinai Hospital, the Hackerman Patz House, and the Ronald McDonald House. It will be a full day in the truck and once that candy is unloaded, we will return to the garage and load Tuesday's deliveries into our car. Not sure what is harder, the delivery or the sorting! Delivery requires a lot of carrying and lifting!

In light of the fact that tomorrow is Peter's birthday, we chose to go out to dinner tonight. As tomorrow will be exhausting after a full day of traveling and hauling candy.

Last year, I took Peter to the Hotel Lombardy in DC, and we are returning tonight. It is becoming an annual tradition. Years ago, my parents introduced me to the waiter that works in the cafe and he still remembers my parents and treats us as if we are special. This is an old world hotel with great traditional charm! A true Foggy Bottom gem!

This is the photo I snapped of Peter last year in the Hotel's cafe. As the waiter treated Peter to chocolate mousse to celebrate. If I left it up to Peter, we wouldn't celebrate his birthday. But as I always tell him..... Mattie would not have wanted it that way!

The interior of the cafe. It is small, quaint, wonderful food and service. I particularly love not feeling rushed or having a table of people right on top of me. I will share tonight's photo of Peter, tomorrow!

November 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old and we took him to a petting zoo in Virginia. As you can see Mattie was absolutely fascinated by the animals!

Quote of the day: Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. ~ Elizabeth Andrew

Mattie Miracle’s Candy Drive is now closed! We thank all of our supporters for making this Drive a success! We had a final sorting session today and our final count is 70 filled bins of candy! Deliveries start on Monday!
Special thanks to today’s sorters:

Catherine Canterbury
Sara Catherine Canterbury
Peggy Elkind
Abby Doane
Mary Doane
Michael Doane
Helen Kelly
Maria Van Horn
Debbie Keefe

This is what the garage looks like.... filled with bins!!! While we finished sorting a ton of candy today inside, Peter spent a good portion of the day outside (mind you it feels like 20 degrees outside today) reorganizing bins in rows, so that our deliveries next week will go more smoothly! Each row represents a day of the week and its delivery. 
Our friend Catherine and her daughter, Sara Catherine, joined us later in the day to finish up with sorting and clean up. Mattie and Sara Catherine went to preschool together. 
At the end of the sorting session, we had a drop off of two boxes of candy from Silver Spring, MD. Erickson and Hong Orthodontics were new contributors to our Drive this year, and so happy to have met Monica DeLeon, the receptionist in the office. Monica is delightful and truly wants to support Mattie Miracle. It was lovely of her to personally drive the candy to Alexandria today!!

November 10, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017 

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old, and we took him to Frying Pan Park. Which had farm animals. Right from the beginning, Mattie loved and related to animals. I can still recall snapping this photo! I thought it was hysterical back then, but now it is simply priceless. Look at how Mattie was checking out that sheep..... notice too that his left hand really wanted to grab some wool!

Quote of the day: The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. ~ Helen Keller

The sorting continued today! I thought it was our last big sorting gathering, but I was WRONG! There will be another one tomorrow. So far over 50 (27 gallon sized) bins are filled with sorted candy! Major thanks to today's volunteers:

Catherine Canterbury 
Abby Doane 
Peggy Elkind
Debbie Keefe 
Helen Kelly

The delivery of Mattie Miracle sweet treats will be underway next week! Thanks to all our donors and volunteers.

This is a basket of Halloween themed items that we have accumulated through our candy donations. We separate these items, but always give them to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Mattie would have loved a handful of this stuff while in the hospital!
Meanwhile this was the candy drive display at Dr. Jill Bruno's office in Chevy Chase, MD. Jill is an orthodontist, who runs a candy buy back program for her patients at Halloween. All the candy that comes into her office, gets donated to Mattie Miracle. Jill also served as a candy drop off site in Maryland for the Foundaton this year!
This is a photo of Jill Bruno with her staff. 
We also want to thank FMP Consulting in Arlington, VA. They are first time candy donors and we welcome them to our candy family.