Mattie Miracle 10th Anniversary Walk was an $119,000 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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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

November 21, 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2002. Mattie was 7 months old and Peter snapped this photo of us in front of our amazing oak tree. Ironically, we came to love that oak tree as Mattie grew older. When Mattie was a preschooler, every spring he'd collect tent moth caterpillars. He'd bring them home and we would jar them and wait for them to spin cocoons and eventually transform into moths. However, in caterpillar form, these fellows loved oak leaves. Daily we would go to our oak tree and pick a few leaves to share with the hungry caterpillars. The funny part about this is the only oak tree near us was the one outside our window and the ONLY leaves these caterpillars would eat were OAK!


Quote of the day: As someone who has lived the nightmare of losing a child, I know that the enormous hole left behind remains forever. Arthur Honegger


It's been a very full November! As we had the 9th annual Candy Drive and Friends of the Foundation planned a Champagne and Oysters 10th anniversary celebration for Mattie Miracle. This was the very first fundraiser in our history to be planned by supporters, in which we were not involved. Except for the administrative portion. Which believe it or not, is quite labor intensive. All said and done, when I am finished, I probably will have written and sent over 90 thank you acknowledgment letters. 

The event was a $33,000 success. Planning and the expenses of holding such an event are noteworthy, and the generosity of our friends does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. To learn more about the event, I invite you to click on the photo of the flowers to see the highlight video from the event. In addition, below the video, is a link to our website that provides more event details.  



Learn more about the event @ https://www.mattiemiracle.com/news

November 20, 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009, at the Mattie March. The Mattie March was an event that his support community hosted for him. Despite Mattie's depleted state and the pain he was in, he had a good day at the event. Pictured with Mattie was Tricia. Tricia was Mattie's favorite nurse, so much so that one day while in the hospital, Mattie screamed across the hospital unit for Tricia. She came running over thinking that he wasn't feeling well. When she arrived by his side, Mattie told her that the pressing issue was that he "loved" her. It was a priceless, genuine and tender moment. 


Quote of the day: There is nothing more painful than the untimely death of someone young and dear to the heart. The harrowing grief surges from a bottomless well of sorrow, drowning the mourner in a torrent of agonizing pain; an exquisite pain that continues to afflict the mourner with heartache and loneliness long after the deceased is buried and gone. ~ Jocelyn Murray


This morning, I was running around doing chores. At some point, I glanced at my cell phone and noticed I had a voice mail message. I did not recognize the phone number. As I proceeded to listen to the message, I couldn't place the name or the voice. Despite that fact, I could tell that this woman clearly knew me and wanted me to call her back because she had something important to tell me. 

When I called her back she told me that she was Patricia's mom. Since I know several Patricia's that did not narrow it down for me. However, as she kept on talking I realized the Patricia she was talking about was Tricia, Mattie's beloved nurse and our friend. I learned today that Tricia's husband unexpected died on Tuesday. I honestly was in shock, since I just saw him in May at our Mattie Miracle Walk. He looked like the picture of health! But I know all too well how fragile life is, as one can look and feel great one minute and the next minute be facing a health crisis. 

I am deeply sorry for Tricia's loss and wish I could help in some way. Tricia was and continues to be a supportive force in our lives and I value her as one of Mattie's memory keepers. I found some photos of Mike from past Mattie Miracle Walks and posted them below. Mike will be missed and I am saddened that Tricia and her children are facing this forever loss. 

Mike entered our Mattie Miracle Corn Hole Tournament every year. He was a good sport and believed in supporting a good cause. Mike was an excellent player and typically won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the tournament each year. This photo was taken at this year's Walk. 















Mike was one of our winners in 2018. Tricia and her family have attended all TEN of our Walks. We know Tricia's three children, her mom, and her dogs!


















Mike in 2017!













November 19, 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 -- Mattie died 529 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken on November 9, 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old and Peter captured a classic Mattie move! Mattie loved to rub cheeks and noses with me. 





Quote of the day: 70 percent of people experienced pain following the Shingrix vaccine, and almost half experienced some type of muscle pain or fatigue. About one in six people experienced side effects so severe that it actually prevented their normal activities. ~ Dr. Kathleen Dooling


Yesterday, Peter and I went to get our second dosage of the Shingrix vaccine. I really did not want to do it because I was so sick with the first vaccine in August. Yet, I know the vaccine is necessary and though painful, is better than contracting shingles. However, both of us woke up with a fever today and we have what appears to be flu-like symptoms. This doesn't surprise me in the least, since this is how I felt back in August. Nonetheless, it comes at a bad time, given that I am exhausted from the Candy Drive. Candy Drive + Shingrix doesn't equal a good result. 

I would have loved to stay in bed today and recover. But it did not happen. Sunny had an early morning grooming appointment (which is about 40 minutes away from home), which led to more chores, walking Sunny, and doing Foundation work. Thank goodness for Tylenol, otherwise I wouldn't be able to function at all as I continue to be running an 100.8 fever. 

A New Shingles Vaccine: Prepare for Harsher Side Effects:

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-06-15/a-new-shingles-vaccine-prepare-for-harsher-side-effects


Meanwhile, I am working on the Foundation's November newsletter. It is a heavy lift this month, since it involves creating a video of our Candy Drive, a video of our 10th anniversary party, and updating a list of our 2019 donors for our website. Creating such a list is a laborious process for me, but at the end of the day, here it is..................

https://www.mattiemiracle.com/donors

November 18, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old and as you can see he was fascinated by this squirrel who climbed onto our balcony. Since we are on the third floor, it is unusual to see a squirrel! Yet that day we got a visit and Mattie was transfixed and glued to the window. 

Quote of the day: There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about. ~ Margaret J. Wheatley


I am happy to say that Mattie Miracle's 9th Annual Post Halloween Candy Drive is over and was a huge success. We are deeply grateful to all of our candy contributors who are comprised of individuals, 38 schools, and 47 community groups and businesses.  

This year, 18,000 pounds of candy was donated to Mattie Miracle. Yes 9 tons!!! Thanks to our volunteers, this candy was inspected, sorted by type into Ziploc bags to preserve the candy for our recipients, and delivered throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  The candy is intended to provide a sweet treat to family members caring for children with cancer. Specifically, a good portion of this candy is used to stock our two Mattie Miracle Snack and Item Carts. One Cart is located at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC and the second Cart is at Children's Hospital at Sinai in Baltimore, MD.  

This Drive provides a year's worth of candy for our Carts. The Carts are pushed three times a week in the in-patient units of the Hospitals and offer free candy, nutritional snacks, drinks, and toiletry items to families. Families are deeply appreciative to receive these basic items because it is very difficult to leave their children's bedside to try to meet their daily needs.  

There were 18 Recipients of Mattie Miracle Candy this year:

Washington, DC
1.    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital 
2.    Ronald McDonald House
3.    HSC Pediatric Center 
4.    Children's National Medical Center
5.    Covenant House
6.    Sasha Bruce

Maryland
1.    Children’s Hospital at Sinai, Baltimore
2.    Hackerman Patz House, Baltimore 
3.    Ronald McDonald House, Baltimore 
4.    Children's Inn at NIH, Bethesda 
5.    Nourish Now, Rockville
6.    St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth, and Family, Hyattsville

Northern Virginia
1.    Ronald McDonald House, Falls Church  
2.    Special Love for Children with Cancer, Winchester
3.    Pediatric Specialists of Northern Virginia (PSV), Falls Church
4.    Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Reston
5.    Cornerstones, Reston

6.    United Community Ministries, Alexandria

Click on the Candy photo to see our Candy Drive 2019 video:


Video on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qyd3WP3kek&feature=youtu.be

November 17, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old. As you can see Mattie loved exploring and checking things out. The sink, water, and sponges were fascinating to him. One thing I learned about Mattie was that it was important to keep his brain and hands busy! He loved mental stimulation but also needed me around to share in his experiences.

Quote of the day: It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon. ~ Sarah Addison Allen


Tonight's quote has me laughing. Mainly because Peter says I describe everything in the world around me in terms of food. Perhaps, as I love food. But notice tonight's quote! Apparently this author describes autumn in terms of a cobbler or pie! A lady after my own heart. 

This is a sunset over Washington Harbor. A sight I captured while walking Sunny. 
This afternoon, we took Sunny to Roosevelt Island. Sunny has been so patient with us for two weeks as the Candy Drive consumed our attention! I suggested a walk on the Island, as it is a Sunny favorite. Needless to say, we received many compliments about Sunny on our walk and a few people wanted to pet him. 
Check out what Sunny found while on the Island! Do you see the deer? He blended in very well with the trees, but this fellow wasn't alone. He had two other bucks with him. 

I had all the greatest of intentions to relax this weekend, but I am afraid it never happened. Mainly because there were many to do's piling up that I put on hold during the candy drive. Thanks to Sunny though, he forces me to stop working and to go on walks. Things I know I wouldn't be doing in 30 degree weather if it weren't for him. 

November 16, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on November 2, 2003. We took Mattie to a farm in Virginia and when he approached this sheep, I just loved their interaction. So I started snapping photos. Back then the iPhone did not exist. Instead I carried a small camera in my purse at all times. I am not sure why, as I never did this prior to Mattie's birth. But I guess I wanted to capture all moments with Mattie, and fortunately I did! 


Quote of the day: One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession. ~ Sophocles


Today we went out to lunch with my freshman college roommate, Leslie, and her husband. It is ironic because Leslie and I both met our husbands at Union College. So in reality all four of us are friends. Now many, many years later we are still friends. We do not have the opportunity to see each other often, but when we do get together, we pick up right where we left off. 

I most likely wouldn't be reflecting on this tonight, but the it was our waiter who pointed out this connection. He told us that he serves many people throughout the week and most people spend a lot of time on their cell phones and NOT conversing with one another. He was amazed that we sat down and had lunch over a four hour time period and never stopped talking. He was so amazed by this that he did not want to disrupt the conversation by giving us a check for the meal. 

In any case, what has happened to people that we have lost the art of conversation?! Why do people prefer having their nose glued to a cell phone rather than living in the moment with the person in front of them? I am not sure I have an answer for this other than we are raising the 'fear of missing out' generation. With social media things are posted every second of the day and in a way this can be addicting and also bordering on stressful. 

Peter and I are both recovering from two weeks of the candy drive and frankly it would have been easier to stay home and sit on the couch all day. But I do find connecting with people and going out energizing, and of course when you are with college buddies, we don't necessarily reflect on the good old days, but it is evident that we have lived them together, and they set the foundation for a solid friendship. 

November 15, 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2004. What was Mattie playing with? Try a cat toy. He was fascinated by the little toy mouse that would pop out of the holes. In fact, I am not sure who liked this toy better, Mattie or Patches!!!



Quote of the day: The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away. ~ Dorothy Day


Our morning started at 6am. Peter got to our Candy Drive site by 7am, and started loading the Uhaul. We managed the truck loading and all of today's deliveries on our own. Which is a feat! We had to place about 70 big boxes into the truck. Thank goodness, Peter is physically strong, because some of these boxes weighed close to 100 pounds each. This was the scene within the garage this morning. 
You can see all the boxes loaded into the Uhaul. Unfortunately we couldn't fit them all in, so we had to make our first delivery in Reston, VA and then we headed back to the garage to pick up the rest of the boxes and clean our friend's garage. 

Our first candy drop was at Cornerstones the Embry Rucker Shelter (Reston, VA). Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services. Cornerstones received 1,000 pounds of candy from us today. 

Our next stop was at Covenant House (Washington,DC). For over 24 years, Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) has served as the region’s leading non-profit throughout the area in protecting, supporting, and transforming the lives of youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, disconnection, and exploitation. CHGW has provided a safe harbor and wrap-around supportive services to one of the area’s most vulnerable populations. The programs and services offered to young people help them to get back on track in achieving housing, career, and economic stability. 

We donated 1,000 pounds of candy to Covenant House today and all the people at the front desk told us that residents look forward to our candy every year!
Our next candy delivery was to Sasha Bruce Youthwork (Washington, DC). Sasha Bruce Youthwork is one of the largest and most experienced providers of services to youth in Washington, DC. Sasha Bruce helps young people find safe homes, achieve and maintain good physical and mental health, create and strengthen supportive and stable families, and explore opportunities in education and careers.
Our last delivery today was at St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth, and Families (Hyattsville, MD). St. Ann’s strengthens and supports families on their journey toward stability. The Center provides a nurturing community where families heal from the past, overcome barriers, and take hold of their future.

Our friend and board member, Ann, delivered candy to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital today. This candy supplies our free snack and item cart at the hospital which serves all in-patient pediatric families. Pictured with the candy is Christine, the Educational Specialist at the Hospital. Christine is a big supporter of our Mattie Miracle Cart. 
Viola! It's magic (well NOT quite).... all the candy is gone. Peter and I plan on taking it easy this weekend as it was a very long and stressful two weeks.