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

January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2009. By this point, we knew that Mattie's condition was terminal. Linda, Mattie's childlife specialist, knew how much Mattie loved LEGOs. So she contacted the LEGO store in our local mall and arranged for Mattie to have a private visit to the store, when NO one else was shopping there. In addition, Mattie was allowed to bring one friend and together they would have the opportunity to build with two Lego Brick masters. Mattie wanted Abigail, Ann's youngest daughter, to join him and that evening they worked together to build a NYC taxi. Not unlike the ones Mattie rode in to go to Sloan Kettering for treatment. This taxi however, was NOT made from a LEGO kit. Mattie and Abbie, with the help of the Lego masters, designed the taxi from scratch. That taxi remains in my living room today. I will never forget that evening and I recall on the way home that evening Ann called me in the car to tell me Abbie had the best night of her life. Tonight, Abbie was with us during the 5% Whole Foods sale day, and seeing her triggered this event back in August of 2009.  

Quote of the day: All human beings are part of the tapestry of the universe, part of a pattern which connects. Nothing exists in isolation, in separateness. When I realize this network of grand relationships, I lose the illusion of my separate self. ~ Satish Kumar

Today was the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation's 5% Day at Whole Foods in Alexandria, VA. Peter and I were at the store from 8am until 10pm. It was quite a memorable 14 hour day. We spent from 8am to 4pm in the front entrance of the store and greeted hundreds of customers. By 4pm, the store asked us to move inside because they needed the entrance way for their wine event. However, both locations worked out very well for us. We greeted customers with stickers we created that said "Shop for Hope" to help children with childhood cancer. The stickers were actually a great way to interact with everyone coming into the store. In a way it was a study of human nature today. Some customers wanted to talk with us and others avoided us at all cost. In fact, some thought we wanted to solicit them for money rather than passing along information that  5% of everything they bought in the store went to supporting childhood cancer. As the day wore on, we got a better feeling for how to read certain people, and the bottom line is today far exceeded my expectations.

After all, when people grocery shop, they are focused on their task. They aren't necessarily coming to a store for a human story and interaction. Yet cancer is the kind of disease that emotionally impacts people. Some people came up to us to tell us their story, to share a tear or two, and at the end of the day a retired military man was honest and said he was simply MAD that his best friend's son had cancer and he felt helpless and not sure how to support his friend. The realness of these conversations was refreshing and I do not find them depressing or sad. Instead, these expressions of feelings are my reality and I appreciate when I have someone I can deeply relate to and they feel the same way about me.

One thing is very clear, we have a VERY strong support base! In fact, the Whole Foods Director of Marketing told me she has never seen such a turn out for a 5% Sales day! The store was packed throughout the day, and she reflected to me how impressed she was with our community's spirit and their very clear connection to us. That was a beautiful gift to hear from someone who is VERY objective and doesn't know us. In so many ways, it was like a reunion for many of us at the store. The event brought our various communities together, and people were motivated to shop to support our cause. To me this is simply remarkable!

Though we were there for 14 hours, there is absolutely NO way we could have manned our tables alone. Typically I try to plan for volunteers to help us, but I really hadn't organized anything concrete for today. Despite that, we had Ann, Tina, Margaret, and Junko with us for practically the whole day. Ann and Tina opened the store with us and they closed the store with us. Somehow these women went above and beyond today and thanks to them and our concerted and unified effort, we expanded our support base and just in donations and our Super Bowl raffle item we generated over $1600. This naturally doesn't include the funds generated from Whole Foods. I would like to share some pictures we took today while in the midst of the event!

The store displayed our Mattie Miracle banner quite prominently at the entrance!

Here is the chalk board greeting customers into the store!

We were fortunate to have our friends Christine and James with us this morning helping us get the whole process started, greeting customers, and selling raffle tickets! We are appreciative of their time they took off from work to be with us.

A close up of Peter and James! You can get a feeling for what our set up looked like. We were giving away pens, brochures, beaded key chains, wristbands, and t-shirts. In addition, on the left of this picture was our raffle which was a big hit!
Our wonderful Georgetown University Hospital nurses, Ashley and Alice, ran a health screening at Whole Foods  from 11am until 2pm. Both of these women knew Mattie and it was very special that they spent part of the day with us and we are happy that Georgetown received this visibility at Whole Foods.

A very busy trio! Peter took a picture of me with Ann and Tina. Peter and I couldn't have managed this day without these women! Both of whom promoted our event all over town.

Peter and I were beyond thrilled that Tricia (my faithful readers know that Tricia was one of the five Johnson and Johnson Nurse finalists, and an outstanding HEM/ONC nurse of Mattie's) and her mom came to the event! I have seen pictures of Tricia's mom but never met her in person. So it was wonderful to meet another family member of Tricia's and to share this day with her!

Linda, Mattie's Childlife Specialist, came to support us and as you can see bought groceries! In fact, the whole childlife department at Georgetown came out today to support us! Along with several doctors and hospital administrators!

I title this picture, "The girls!" The cutie all the way on the left is Isabel. She is my friend Heidi's daughter and Isabel and her friends are part of the Girl Scout troop raising money to build 100 teddy bears at Build a Bear this Friday (bears which they are donating to Mattie Miracle). Stay tuned for more on this! These girls volunteered their time today giving out stickers and brochures and shared their energy with all of us!

Peter snapped a picture of me with Heather Stouffer, the founder of Mom Made Foods ( Heather is super supportive of us and we truly appreciated her time and efforts to demonstrate her products to draw customers into the store! Her company is five years old and her products are sold in over 1000 stores nationwide!

Our friends Margaret and Junko stepped in today to help us without even being asked. They worked over six hours with us, standing the entire time. As Junko pointed out, no one really sits in a grocery store. I never thought about that, until she aptly pointed that out. In this picture from left to right is Margaret, Grace (one of the very first preschool moms I met at Resurrection Children's Center), John (a classmate in Mattie's first preschool class), Christopher (John's brother), and Junko. I spent a lot of time with John in preschool, since he was in both of Mattie's preschool classes. John considered me his friend and gravitated to me, and even today, we seem to just have a special connection!

We reconnected with many Resurrection teachers and families today and we are so appreciative to them for their support. Mattie's best buddy Zachary also came to the store tonight and did a great job shopping with both of his parents! Also Mattie's buddy Ellie and her brother were there in support. Ellie recently wrote a hand written letter to American Girl helping me solicit a doll for our Walk raffle. Rather impressive! At the end of the evening, Mattie's kindergarten teacher, Leslie, and his art teacher, Debbie came by to visit me, along with Donna (the wonderful kindergarten teacher I work with to deliver my Matisse and Picasso lectures).

As we were packing up for the night, Peter noticed out of the corner of his eye a penny. Not on the floor, or sitting on a shelf. But wedged into a shelf, sticking out at him. I concluded this was a sign from Mattie. He was with us at Whole Foods today and watching over the event and us.

It is 1:30am, and I am signing off because I am exhausted! But before saying goodnight, I want to thank each and every one of you who came to Whole Foods today. Your presence did not go unnoticed and your support means a lot to us, and to children and their families battling cancer. A BIG THANK YOU! 

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