Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007 in our hotel room in Lancaster, PA. A couple of nights ago I mentioned that the Marriott gave Mattie a chef's hat because they fell in love with him in the restaurant. Mattie wore the hat around the hotel and I am happy we snapped a picture of that priceless moment.
Quote of the day: We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. ~ Dorothy Day
I received the email below from my friend Nancy today. Nancy lives in New York and we were colleagues first and then became friends. We met through the American Mental Health Counselors Association years ago, and we struck up a conversation about her mom. At the time Nancy was a caregiver to her ailing mom, and Nancy was very interested in my research with caregivers. Over the years, our connection has evolved, and I consider her a valuable member of our support team. After reading Nancy's message, I found that she caused me to pause and reflect upon all the things we were able to achieve at this year's Foundation Walk. Not only did we meet our financial goal, but the achievements are much greater than that. First let me share her message with you. Nancy wrote, "I was so moved by the pictures of all the children and what they were doing at the Walk. I can’t wait to see the duct tape purses. It is an amazing way for children (the teen vendors) to give back. Mattie has inspired all of this outpouring of energy and care. I can’t get over how wonderful Brandon looks. He was such a help to Mattie and a “real big brother” at a time when he needed it most. As a result of Peter and your love of children, the Walk is not a scary issue for children. The Georgetown Hospital team created a learning table where children learn about good health and help. In this way, too, you are helping families in psychosocial ways. As I’ve said before, the two of you are 'one in a million.'"
In so many ways the Walk provides something for everyone, whether that is childhood cancer information and content, entertainment of all kinds for children, food from Clydes, hearing messages and insights from childhood cancer survivors, raffle prizes, meeting Georgetown Childlife staff and nurses, and walking around the track to symbolize community support for those battling this deadly disease. For so many of our supporters with young children, they look forward to the Walk each year, and in a way, as they grow older, they will learn that their presence at our events is SO important. They are growing with us, and as such, they are becoming wonderful little ambassadors for the Foundation and for bringing awareness to others in the community about childhood cancer. Though I understood this on some level, I am not sure I ever verbalized it until I read Nancy's note.
As I continue to share more photos with you this evening, please keep in mind that our Walk wouldn't happen without volunteers, who freely give of their time, energy, and resources. All of our children activities are run by volunteers at the Walk (except for the moon bounce and rock climbing wall), so when you see children enjoying crafts, balloons, face painting, kid tattoos, nail art, and Legos, it is in thanks to these amazing people who help Mattie Miracle make this possible.