7th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- May 15th (10am to 2pm, Alexandria, VA)

7th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- May 15th (10am to 2pm, Alexandria, VA)
Join us for a walk, great food, music, and fun for an important cause, to raise funds to support our psychosocial services for children with cancer and their families. Click on the photo to learn more!

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 5th 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!

May 28, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009, during the Mattie March. An event Mattie's care community held in his honor to show their support. It is from that March, that the Foundation's annual Walk & Family Festival evolved. What I love about this photo was what caught Mattie's interest! Not necessarily the people or the activities, but he was enjoying being outside and was LOOKING FOR TENT CATERPILLARS. Mattie loved collecting caterpillars in the spring and bringing them home to watch them metamorphosize into a moth. Mattie was surrounded by several people in this photo.... Zachary (Mattie's close friend from preschool), Robbie (a child life volunteer from the hospital), Ann (our Team Mattie Coordinator), and Brandon (Mattie's best buddy, and a cancer survivor). Behind Ann in the photo is my mom and behind Brandon was Margaret (Mattie's preschool teacher and my close friend who died of ASL two years ago). 


Quote of the day: Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. ~  Mark Twain

There was "magic" in the air at the Mattie Miracle Walk & Family Festival.... thanks to Bob Weiman, AKA "the magic man." Bob is the Assistant Head of St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School and taught Mattie magic in the hospital while he was battling cancer.
In 2009, at the first Mattie March (an event Mattie's community held in his honor), Mattie and Bob performed magic tricks in front of hundreds of people. Bob continues this tradition at our Walk each year in Mattie's memory.
We thank Bob and his talented 5th graders!!! Magic captivates adults and kids alike.

Mattie and Bob at the Mattie March in 2009. From the Mattie March grew the Foundation's Walk & Family Festival. Bob and Mattie performed their "Peanut Butter Booger" trick that day, which Bob unofficially calls the Mattie Brown trick.

I am not sure what Mattie loved more about this.... actually performing this trick with Bob or the name of the trick, which always made Mattie laugh. 

Bob and his fifth graders!






The magic show ALWAYS draws a crowd of ALL ages.













Bob even works with kids in the audience and asks them to participate!




















The famous Peanut Butter Booger Trick being performed! It is performed each year in memory of Mattie. Most people probably do not know this, but I do!










I was told the kids did a great job and really were good at hamming it up. Besides skill, there is a great deal of finesse, comedy, and acting involved in performing magic!








Captivated and intrigued attendees!













Each year Peter's and my parents watch the show and love it! Pictured sitting down is Barbara and Don (Peter's parents), Virginia (my mom), and Donna (the wonderful kindergarten teacher that I visit every spring and host a three part art session with her students).




This is my Dad, who you can see was deep in concentration trying to figure out the secrets of performing these magic tricks! 


May 27, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2002. Mattie was two months old and what I think was so funny was that Mattie looked more like Peter as a baby. However, as Mattie became a toddler, and certainly by his preschool years, Mattie looked much more like me. I am not sure how such a progression happened.... but it did! 


Quote of the day: I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched. Edgar Allan Poe



We want to congratulate our top individual and team fundraisers!!! We would never have exceeded our goal and raised over $85,000 to support the psychosocial needs of children with cancer and their families without you!!!


  • Top Adult Fundraiser (2 years in a row): Peggy Elkind (raised $4,022)
  • Top High School Student Fundraiser (2 years in a row): Haley Leis (raised $3,350)
  • Top Middle School Student Fundraiser (2 years in a row): Charlotte Gehrs (raised $3,340)
  • Top Team Fundraising Award: RCC Moms Rock (raised $7,432)
  • Team with the most participants by May 10th: Team Voxiva (also a Platinum Corporate Sponsor of the Walk)
  • Cup Challenge Team Award: Team SAINTS



This is Peggy (left) and Ann (right). Together they raised over $7,000 for Mattie Miracle. Peggy has been our top fundraiser two years in a row and we appreciate her commitment to the Foundation. 

We love this photo because it seems to capture the spirit and energy they both have for our psychosocial mission!





This is Haley Leis, a junior at Bishop Ireton High School. This is the second year in a row that Haley has been our top high school fundraiser! We are very proud of Haley and are so happy she is part of our Walk family.








The 8th grader in aqua blue with a Hawaiian lei around her neck is Charlotte Gehrs. Charlotte was a very close friend of Mattie's. In fact Mattie would tell us often that he was going to marry Charlotte. At age 5 no less! 

Charlotte has been our top middle school student fundraiser two years in a row! We are very proud of Charlotte for the funds she raises and the awareness she brings to childhood cancer in her friend's memory.



Team SAINTS had an amazing turn out of support at the Walk. On the day of the event, there were over 40 participants on the team! Many of whom were Lacrosse players at the St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School

This team walked OVER 60 miles and was the first to complete the cup challenge. Thank you for filling the cup walk and helping us get the funding for a second Mattie Miracle snack/item cart!



Our top team fundraiser award went to RCC Moms Rock!! Mattie went to Resurrection Children's Center (RCC), for preschool, and after all these years we are still connected with the school and its families! Congratulations RCC. 






This is Justin and his two sons. Justin is the CEO of Voxiva. Voxiva has been a platinum corporate sponsor of our Walk (two years in a row) and his company also has a Walk team at our events.











Kathy and her sons! They were part of team Voxiva. Voxiva won our Team Award for most registered participants by May 10th!!!





















Meghan and her boyfriend.... members of Team Voxiva.
Imuzi and her family..... part of Team Voxiva.
Meenu and her husband.... part of Team Voxiva.
Cesar and his family..... part of Team Voxiva. Notice the little one in the pink blanket! This is Charlotte, our youngest Mattie Miracle supporter!!!

May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken on June 1, 2002. Mattie was almost two months old. As you can see he was quite alert and tuned into his environment. As I always joked... Mattie was born on!







Quote of the day: There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.  John Steinbeck


Our first Corn Hole Tournament, held at the Mattie Miracle Walk, was a hit! It was a game for all ages and the energy it generated on the field was memorable. We want to thank the St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School Girl Scout troop for working with Mattie Miracle to create, assemble, and paint all six of our hand crafted corn hole boards! They did a beautiful job incorporating our logo (the sun with seven rays, a ray for each year of Mattie's life) on the boards.

A BIG congratulations to our tournament winners:

First Place: Mike Grusholt (winner of an iPad Mini 2)
Second Place: Alice Hurley (winner of two Nats baseball tickets, 4 Potomac Nationals tickets, and 10 raffle tickets)
Third Place: Sue Whitney (winner of a $25 gift card to the Great American Restaurants Group, and 5 raffle tickets)


The SSSAS Girl Scout Troop, their dads and grand dads working with Peter to assemble the Mattie Miracle Corn Hole Tournament boards. Thank you scouts!!!


The Girl Scouts presented Mattie Miracle with several artistic designs for the boards. One design in particular resonated with us. The girls incorporated the Mattie Miracle logo beautifully onto the boards. Boards which will be used each year at our annual walk.













Congratulations to Mike (Mike is Tricia's husband. Tricia was Mattie's favorite HEM/ONC nurse)! Mike and Tricia love corn hole. They play it at home! So Mike brought a special kind of life and energy to the game.








Congratulations to Alice on winning second place! We are so happy that adults and teens were winners this year!!!











This is Sue. She won third place in the Corn Hole Tournament, but she is also one of the Girl Scout Troop leaders at the St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School. Sue has encouraged her Girl Scouts to volunteer with Mattie Miracle over the last seven years and truly promotes our mission with the next generation.




An activity for ALL ages! The boards are beautiful, aren't they?!






















Meet Debbie! Debbie has been our kid activity coordinator for seven years at our Walks. Peter and I knew we needed Debbie's skills this year to help run the corn hole tournament. Being that this was our very first tournament, we wanted it to run as smoothly as possible and for players to have fun.

Thank you Debbie for sharing your time, energy, and skills with us each year.


Corn hole was a buzz at the Walk! THROUGHOUT the day... both during free play and the tournament. We want to thank all our St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School and Bishop Ireton student volunteers who assisted us at corn hole and other activities at the Walk. We couldn't do this without you.




Doesn't this look like fun?!























This fellow is the grandson of Debbi, Mattie's sedation nurse angel. We were so happy to have Debbi and her family join us at the Walk this year!









We love this photo of Jake. Both concentration and style! Jake's mom is Jane. Jane is our Walk Team Coordinator and is instrumental to Mattie Miracle. Teams are a vital part of our Walk event and Jane helps me reach out to teams and brainstorms with me ways to get teams formed and engaged in the Walk. 



















May 25, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2002. Mattie was about a month old and though he may look peaceful, Mattie was NOT really a napper. At all! As a baby he would power off for thirty minutes, but that was the extent of it and we never knew when it was going to happen. It was impossible to get Mattie on a sleeping schedule, both during the day and at night. Night was definitely more problematic and I actually had to read books on sleeping methods. Mattie showed me that sleep doesn't come naturally, but it is something you have to be trained to do. 



Quote of the day: The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.  Phil Jackson


We are proud of our 14 Walk Teams who collectively helped us raise $30,000 to support the psychosocial needs of children with cancer and their families! There was even a virtual walk team in Texas who joined us this year.

A BIG THANK YOU TO......................

RCC MOMS ROCK (Team Captain: Ann Henshaw)
The Bookclub (Team Captain: Peggy Elkind)
Leis' Luchadores (Team Captain: Haley Leis)
SSSAS 2020 (Team Captain: Charlotte Gehrs)
Mattie Moon (Team Captain: Victoria Sardi-Brown)
Team Voxiva (Team Captain: Caroline Anderson)
Team Tilch (Team Captain: Patricia Tilch)
Blessed Sacrament Bullfrogs (Team Captain: Jane Pisano)
Team Flames (Team Captain: Carolyn McFadden)
SAINTS (Team Captain: Katharina Harding)
BI Charity Through Medicine Club (Team Captain: Isabel Anderson)
Walking With Purpose/Blessed Sacrament (Team Captain: Jane Pisano)
Arlington Aerials, Xcel and Tigers Gymnastics (Team Captain: Tina Lytle)
Love from the Heart of Texas (Team Captain: Jennie Burger)

This is a photo of the combined St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School teams.... SSSAS 2020 and the SAINTS Walk Teams!!! Charlotte was the captain of the SSSAS 2020 walk team and was our top middle school student fundraiser and the SAINTS team WON the CUP CHALLENGE AWARD (for walking over 60 miles on the day of the event).


We congratulate RCC Moms Rock walk team for winning the top team fundraiser award two years in a row. We are proud of you!! The team raised over $6,000!










Team Voxiva walked over 189 laps around the track, almost 50 miles collectively! Voxiva is also a corporate sponsor of the Walk and we are appreciative of the fact that they raise funds for Mattie Miracle through their walk team as well!!! 







This is Team Bullfrogs, from the Blessed Sacrament School. This teams has been a part of our Walk two years in a row!!! We love their spirit and energy they bring to our event.








This is the Book Club Team! The captain of this team, Peggy Elkind, has been our top adult fundraiser two years in a row. Peggy raised over $4,000 for us this year.

The handsome teen on the right is Zachary. Zachary and Mattie went to preschool together and were the closest of friends. He was with Mattie at the first Mattie March (2009) and has been a part of our Walk for seven years in a row.
 


This is team Aerials, Xcel, and Tigers Gymnastics!!! A new team first year. This talented group of young people participate in our annual item drives which stock our FREE snack cart at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. We welcome them to our Walk family!




May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 -- Mattie died 349 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on May 5, 2002. I did not take Mattie out to public spaces in the beginning, but we did go out with Peter's family to an outdoor area filled with restaurants and shops. Mattie handled the day very well and seemed to enjoy the outing. While out, he received this wonderful bunny, a bunny which Mattie held onto for quite some time. It was one of his favorites and overall Mattie was NOT a stuff animal kind of kid. 


Quote of the day: The leader who exercises power with honor will work from the inside out, starting with himself. Blaine Lee


Mattie Miracle LOVES it volunteers! There were over 60 volunteers at the Walk this year, many of whom have been with us since the Foundation was incorporated in 2009. We could never host such a successful event without these dedicated individuals.
We are also VERY GRATEFUL to our community partners who attend our Walk and provide food, fun items, and activities for attendees. All the proceeds from those sales were donated to Mattie Miracle. A BIG THANK YOU TO.........................
1) Clyde's of Tysons Corner
2) Rack Impact Entertainment
3) Play-Well Teknologies
4) Seeds of Hope
5) Sprout Kitchen Gardens
6) Bob Weiman and his SSSAS 5th Grade Magic Show


Christine and Jennifer have run our registration tent seven years in a row! Working registration isn't as easy as it may sound. Large groups can show up at one time and this team has to process them into the event and also accept donations. 




This dynamo on the ground dressed in black is Carolyn. Carolyn has been our raffle chair for seven years and is invaluable, along with her husband Don, who heads up our Walk logistics team!

















This adorable couple runs our bake sale. Marisa has been a long standing volunteer with Mattie Miracle and even helped care for Mattie when he was battling cancer. Marisa worked with Georgetown Cupcake this year and surprised me with cupcakes that had the Mattie Miracle Logo on them!!!














Can you see the sun on the cupcakes?!
















This was the fantastic Clyde's of Tysons Corner team who worked with us this year. Thank you Heather (Sous Chef) and Eddie for working so hard! With 30MPH winds and cool temperatures, hot foods were very popular and needed this year. We are deeply grateful to Clyde's of Tysons Corner for their continued generosity with the Foundation. 


Two years ago I contacted Gigmasters (an on line entertainment referral site) looking for a DJ for our walk. I put out a request and several DJs responded to me with various price quotes. Sergio's quote caught my attention because he gave me a price quote of $0. Sergio said he would offer his services pro bono because he valued Mattie Miracle's work and wanted to help us raise funds. Needless to say we hired Sergio, and he is now a part of our Walk family! Thank you Sergio for keeping us moving to a great beat!!!


Food operations at the Walk is NO EASY feat. First our friend and board member, Ann, sends out requests in the community for snack and drink item donations! Then Ann and the entire Tilch family transport and set up all these items at the food truck on the day of the event. Much thanks Ann, Patricia, and Bernie for seven years of incredible service.




The teenager in the blue fleece is Ellie. Ellie and Mattie went to preschool together. At each Walk, Ellie features and sales hand crafted items to walk participants. 100% of the proceeds go to Mattie Miracle. This year's item was her Seeds of Hope flower pots! Don't you just love these hand painted pots with forget me not seeds in them?!


Thank you Play-Well Teknologies for providing hands on fun, creativity, and engineering challenges to kids of all ages! This is a VERY popular tent at our Walks.








This is Bob Weiman, AKA.... the Magic Man. Bob taught Mattie how to do magic while he was battling cancer. In fact, at the Mattie March, and event that his care community planned for him in May of 2009, Mattie performed several tricks with Bob to a large audience. The Walk wouldn't be the same without Bob. It is a meaningful tradition!


Thank you Judy (COO of Sprout Kitchen Gardens) for joining us this year and helping our participants sprout their own gardens!!!