Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 Success!!!

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

June 13, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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.  

Last night on the blog, I highlighted balloons and the Childlife tables. Tonight, I am showing you some pictures from the face painting, juggling, and Legos tents. This year every activity was hosted under its own tent, which called a participant's attention to each distinctive activity. Many high school students from the St. Stephen's and St. Agnes school volunteered this year at the face painting tent. Having volunteers from Mattie's school is a wonderful and lasting reminder of his connection to this school.

This is Emily. Emily is the daughter of my friend, Mary. As you can see, Emily requested a red heart on her face, and inside the heart are the letters MM (for Mattie Miracle). Emily and her sister Abby attended Mattie's preschool, but while Mattie was battling cancer, the girls visited the hospital, dropped off dinners for us, and also picked out all sorts of wonderful toys to cheer up Mattie. There are aspects of Emily that remind me of Mattie, and one of the similarities is their hugging style. Both give you very powerful and meaningful hugs.

A new addition to our Walk activities this year was a juggling clinic tent. I wasn't sure how well this was going to go over, but from the pictures I am viewing it appears that the kids really gravitated to this and wanted to learn. I love this picture because it is art in motion! 

Last night, I made mention to a young girl named Amanda. Amanda is an Ewing's sarcoma survivor. This year, Amanda's mom came up to chat with me at the event, and I am so happy she did. This is Amanda's second year at our Walk, and children are intrigued by Amanda, and are fascinated to watch her run, walk, and participate in all activities. Amanda is an inspiration to watch, and I have no doubt is indirectly teaching children at the Walk some very valuable life lessons. As I mentioned last night, there is nothing Amanda can't do. Our photographers captured Amanda learning to juggle. In addition to Amanda's family, I also had the opportunity to meet Dennis, her prosthetist. Dennis helped to design this J shaped prosthetic leg for Amanda, and he brought his whole family to the Walk. It turns out after the Walk, when we went out to dinner, Dennis and his family were sitting behind us, and they told me how much they enjoyed the Walk, and this would be a yearly ritual for them.

I love the composition of this picture with Sarah juggling, and the beautiful blue sky and clouds as her backdrop.

Thanks to the Washington  Metropolitan Area Lego Users Group (WAMALUG) and the Washington Metropolitan Area LEGO Train Club (WAMALTC), we had thousands of Lego bricks at our Walk. Under the Lego build tent, you could find children of all ages building and creating throughout the day. In this picture is Michael, with his son Aaron. Michael and his wife Leslie, went to Union College with Peter and I. This is not an unfamiliar picture to me, and if Mattie were at the Walk, this is where I would have found him, with Peter right by his side building.

I entitled this picture.... A creative mind at work! Though I do not know this little boy, I can tell that he was engrossed with Legos and was very focused upon the vehicle he was building. Our photographers this year, tried to capture events and people in a very natural way. Almost like a snapshot in time.

These two girls are Katie and Gabby. They are the daughters of one of Mattie's wonderful sedation nurses, Norma. When Debbi wasn't available at the Hospital, we were assigned Norma. Norma is a very competent, capable, and compassionate nurse, and she helped us through some difficult scans and procedures. On one particular procedure day, which was a nightmare, Norma surprised me with a chocolate cake, baked by Gabby (her older daughter). Gabby is a wonderful baker and when I see Gabby, I reflect on her cakes and cookies, and how these kind gestures made a huge difference to me while I was trapped in the hospital dealing with one of life's greatest horrors.

I entitled this photo....Loving Legos! You can tell by this little fellow's facial expressions that he was VERY happy and excited to be sitting with thousands of Lego bricks at his disposal! 

The last picture tonight is of another cutie at the Lego tables. This fellow is deep in concentration building, and what these pictures show me is that Legos are a wonderful component of our Walk. They are a beautiful symbol and reminder of Mattie, and it is clear that his love for Legos are shared by so many in attendance.

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