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

June 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. This was Mattie's first roller coaster ride EVER! It took place at Dutch Wonderland in Pennsylvania. Unlike me, Mattie was willing to try this ride, and after his very first attempt he fell in love with the thrill. I can't tell you how many times Mattie rode on that coaster that day, and then after that point, whatever park we went to, he would seek out the roller coaster FIRST.

Quote of the day: When you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ~ J. Krishnamurti

I absolutely love this quote!!! I love it because the art of listening is NOT JUST listening to the words, but understanding the feelings that underlie the words. That may sound simplistic, but it actually is a very hard skill to apply. When I was an educator of mental health professionals I found that this was a VERY hard skill to teach. Some people can listen for words and dissect out the feelings better than others. What enables a person to be able to do this? I think to be able to develop this skill, one first has to be attuned to his/her own feelings. If you can't understand yourself and be able to process things internally, you most certainly won't be able to do this for another human being. With that said, I also think active listening requires a person to truly care about another person, for active listening is time consuming and exhausting.

I had a full day of running around today with all sorts of meetings. Peter has warned me about my pace and that I need to start back slowly considering how sick I have been. My friend Tina also text messaged me today with the same message. Two messages in one day about the same topic. However, Peter and Tina were both correct, because tonight I am wiped out. Between meetings, Tina was text messaging me, and it was like having a virtual cheering squad with me, which I SO appreciated throughout the day.

One of my meetings brought me back to Georgetown University Hospital. While on the fifth floor, which is where the pediatric units are located, I bumped into Debbi. Debbi was Mattie's sedation nurse angel, as I always called her. Debbi was one of the people at the Hospital who went through many of the horrors with Peter and I. When Mattie first entered the Hospital in July of 2008, his first oncologist was under the notion that kids did not need to be sedated for MRIs. That is a riot, especially if you have ever been confined inside of a MRI machine! Any case, after two scans without sedation, I had it, and this is where Linda (Mattie's child life specialist) and Debbi came into the picture. They came with me one day to observe Mattie through a non-sedated CAT scan, and from that day forward, Mattie never had another scan or procedure without sedation. They could see it was just inhumane to do this to him, because Mattie was scared out of his mind, crying, and hiding in the corner of the scanning room. Debbi also knew that Mattie never woke up calm after being sedated. Mattie either woke up highly agitated, angry, or hysterically crying. We never knew which one we were going to get, and frankly I am not sure what I dreaded more, the procedure, the sedation, post-sedation, or waiting for the scan results. Any one of these items would be hellish alone, but altogether, it was asking for the impossible.

Based on how I am physically feeling, my sheer exhaustion from running around today, and then going to the Hospital, I was in a fragile state. Debbi invited me into her office after my meeting and asked how I was doing and said that there wasn't a day that goes by without her thinking of us and Mattie. When I hear the line, NOT A DAY GOES BY, as I mentioned before on the blog, my mind becomes flooded with the song from the musical, Merrily We Roll Along. I can picture Bernadette Peters singing Not a Day Goes By ( and I become absorbed in the loss of Mattie. As if Stephen Sondheim wrote the song with Mattie's death in mind. The beauty about Debbi is she was Mattie's nurse, and though she cared for him, the emotional support she gave was really to Peter and I. Mattie associated Debbi with sedation and procedures and truly tried to avoid her presence if possible. With Debbi, I do not have to pretend to be happy, together, and that life is moving on. Debbi understands that life for us will never move on, and therefore when you find a person who gets that, can verbalize that, and can LISTEN for that, they are truly priceless. Which is why with Debbi I can easily cry, and did so in her office today. Because as Debbi isn't afraid to say..... NOT A DAY GOES BY!

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