Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

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

May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2006. Mattie was four years old and went to visit his babysitter's apartment. While there, Emily snapped a picture of Mattie having a great time. You can see the brightness, energy, and happiness in his eyes.

Quote of the day: A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The third annual Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Walk was a huge success. A success in which we met our financial goal. A goal that will help pay the salary of Georgetown University Hospital's newest Child Life Specialist, Jess Abrams.

Peter and I have been up since 5am today, worked a full day, and by this hour, I am too tired to string many sentences together. We have spent several hours digging out of the walk tonight. Peter was processing funds, my friend Karen was sorting through t-shirts and reorganizing them for storage, and I was busy trying to put away ALL walk materials. It took us hours, and I still have a way to go.

I am ending tonight's blog, with the hopes that over the next few days we will highlight the Walk. We are deeply grateful to our amazing team of volunteers, who worked intensely to set up the event this morning. It couldn't have happened without all of them, and most certainly we couldn't have met our goal without all of you.

I leave you with the speech that was shared today at the Walk by Marilyn Eichner. Marilyn is a mother of a cancer survivor. Marilyn, her daughter Danielle (a leukemia survivor), and Wade (Danielle's brother) were all speakers at the Walk, and highlighted our theme.... Love of Family.

Greetings from Marilyn Eichner--------------------------------

No one is ever prepared to hear that their child has a life-threatening illness.

Imagine for a moment taking your 11 1/2 year old to the pediatrician with a fever, something you thought an antibiotic would surely treat ~ yet ~ ending up in a hospital with that same, supposedly healthy child on life support within the first 72 hrs.

What, what is that you say? Danielle has Leukemia, a type of blood cancer? But she's healthy, she's only 11 1/2, she a swimmer, she's on summer vacation, soon she will be in 6th grade.The emotional trauma that came with that diagnoses would change our lives forever. My name is Marilyn Eichner. My husband, Tom and I lived through this nightmare with our daughter, Danielle, and her 4 siblings. I would like to share with you briefly our story and why it is vital that hospitals/ and treatment centers incorporate and offer psychosocial/psychological support and intervention to families with a childhood cancer diagnoses.

As you now know ~ Danielle presented with fever and received a diagnoses of leukemia. Within the first 3 days our daughter, the sister of Wanda, Christine, Wade, and Rachael, would go through heart surgery, chest tubes, Kidney failure, dialysis, seizures, respiratory failure, placement of a broviac tube to receive chemo therapy, and eventually cranial radiation. Fear of the unknown would be experience by all. We had no control, Danielle had no control, her siblings had no control. People we've never meant were making life and death decisions for our daughter. So, life as we knew it had changed forever.

How would we cope as a family ~ honestly ~ you don't have the time nor the energy to think about the emotional trauma your family will go through, let alone the lifelong affects this trauma will have on our emotional well being and growth. Literally, you and your family are at war. We all will live with trauma, fear, anger, chaos, guilt, sadness, and abandonment for years. It truly does not take a rocket scientist to know that any family embarking on this journey need every means of psychosocial support available. Intervention is needed at the beginning of diagnoses, throughout treatment, when treatment ends and sometimes longer, if needed. As parents our main focus is our sick child, our secondary concerns are the safety of our other children and finding family or friends to clothe, feed, and provide a safe place for them to stay. Without their permission, the siblings lives are changed. Their daily routines are changed, they have no control over where they will sleep, who will tuck them in, when can they go home, and when will things be normal again. When will we be a complete family again? Siblings have every right to ask ~ What about their needs, their loneliness, their fear ~ will I catch cancer? But to the sibling these emotional feelings and thoughts are so insignificant when you're sister is fighting for her life. Please understand emotional growth is a direct result of your environment and their environment is unpredictable and their emotional safety is at stake. Without consistent parental affection children develop feelings of abandonment, and vulnerability, which can follow them for years. Because siblings also experience years of living in chaos many live with Anger not realizing that anger is the emotion that is not vulnerable, so intimidation and anger are often used to keep control. Or you might have the compliant child who learns not to share her fears, her anger, her feelings of abandonment, in order to lessen the pain of the parents. These emotions are stuffed and unbeknownst to their host they will re-surface years later causing more chaos. I've briefly touched on the emotional upheaval the siblings experience and can find themselves living with even years after their sibling treatment has ended.

Could psychosocial/psychological intervention from the beginning have helped ~ I ask ~ what do you think? Lastly ~ The patient ~ the child diagnosed with cancer ~ who are they? (pointedly written by Erma Bombeck) They are children who are poked at, x-rayed, smothered with love, ridiculed, punctured, spoiled, abandoned by friends, pitied, counseled, experimented with, lied to, protected, resented, and stared at. They are children who have been robbed of their innocence and their childhood, neither of which they can ever recapture again. They are children who have been sentenced to a period of uncertainty and pain usually inflicted on the elderly who have lived rich, long lives. They are little people who destiny has tapped on the shoulder and announced, "We interrupt this life to bring you a message of horror." They are children in need of psychosocial/psychological intervention.
All Money raised today, and in the future will help provide the psychosocial/psychological services needed by the whole family because we now know, through our family experience, a diagnoses of childhood cancer affects the whole family.

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