Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2009 in the clinic. That day Peter took Mattie in for his MTP-PE (which was an experimental immunotherapy) infusion. While in clinic, Mattie worked with Brandon (his big buddy in the background of this photo) and his art therapists, Jenny and Jessie. Next to Mattie was a character Mattie designed, built, and invented that day. I introduce you to Dr. Crazyhair! Dr. Crazyhair had feathers for hair, a pipe cleaner stethoscope, and even had an oyster shell in his pocket. The shell represented a patient's TOE NAIL of all things! Dr. Crazyhair is not exactly small, but the good doctor remains in our living room today. Honestly how many kids would create such a character? I don't know, but to me it speaks to Mattie's whimsy and sense of humor. When I look at Dr. Crazyhair now it reminds me of the spirit that was Mattie.
Quote of the day: Fixing and helping create a distance between people, but we cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected. ~ Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
My friend Charlie sent me tonight's quote and it speaks to me, for it is only through connectedness can we really effectively serve, help, and support people. However, becoming connected to a person is not always easy because it involves an investment in time, energy, and commitment.
This type of connectedness I see within our Foundation's Walk committee. Last night, I had a meeting with many of our key committee chairs and walk volunteers. So many of the women in attendance were moms with me at Mattie's preschool or kindergarten. Mattie entered preschool in 2005, and now seven years later, these moms still volunteer their time to help us. Certainly they may volunteer because the Foundation has a worthwhile mission, but I suspect the reasoning is much deeper and gets back to that word.... connected. Preschool and kindergarten are tender times in a child's development, and these fragile times cause moms to bond with one another in very meaningful ways. So if there is any doubt about Remen's quote, I have to look no further than our team of volunteers to see it operationalized.
This morning, I sorted all the coffees, teas, cocoa, bandaids, and crayons that were donated to Mattie Miracle in honor of Mattie's 10th birthday. Later this week, I will be taking all the items to Georgetown University Hospital. We want to thank our supporters for remembering Mattie in this way, and using his memory to help countless families at the hospital. My understanding is that Keurig Kcups are like liquid gold for families who are in the pediatric in-patient units. So I know all these items will be greatly appreciated. While sorting and stacking today, Patches, our calico cat, came over to supervise. I snapped a picture of all the items in total! RATHER IMPRESSIVE!
Specifically the tally is:
500 pieces of construction paper
113 boxes of kid themed bandaids
678 kcups of coffee
116 kcups of cocoa
154 kcups of tea
I met my friend and Walk Raffle chair, Carolyn, for lunch today. Carolyn and I have been working closely together on this year's raffle since January. However, this is Carolyn's third year chairing the raffle and her sense of humor, level of organization, and dedication to the Foundation are very much appreciated. Carolyn's daughter, Ellie, and Mattie were in the same preschool class and Carolyn was telling me today that Ellie remembers when I would volunteer in her classroom because I was always nice to her. Each Mattie Miracle Walk, Ellie sees her mom working to generate funds for the Foundation, so this year, this soon to be 10 year old, has it in her mind that she too wants to do something and help raise money for Mattie Miracle. Children are so influenced by their parents, and Ellie's inspiration to help I have no doubt is a direct reflection of watching her mom over the years, as well as the fact that she wants to do something in memory of her classmate, Mattie. This is another example of how "we can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected."
After lunch, I went to Mattie's school to set up Donna's classroom for the Matisse session with the kindergartners tomorrow. I finished cutting hundreds of cut-outs for the children to use for their hands on art project and also baked croissants filled with chocolate (in honor of the fact that Matisse was born in France and a popular snack for children is Pain Au Chocolat). So stay tuned for pictures of the children's cut-out creations tomorrow night.