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

July 25, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2009. The last birthday I celebrated with Mattie. Mattie, with the help of Peter's parents, created this lighthouse birthday card for me. They all know I am a lighthouse affectionato, and receiving this from Mattie was a special birthday gift I will always remember. As a parent, I looked forward to celebrating occasions with Mattie. I wasn't looking for gifts, I simply liked his excitement and his desire to want to be festive. In a way, with Mattie's death this aspect of our lives has also died. Birthdays and holidays don't seem as meaningful, memorable, or important.

Quote of the day: Love is a fabric that never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the waters of adversity and grief. ~ Anonymous

Today was my birthday, and for me, celebrating is challenging. Yet my friend Mary's birthday was also this week, so we agreed to go to lunch today and celebrate each other. Somehow that seemed better and despite how awful I have been feeling lately, I wanted to see Mary and acknowledge her birthday. I met Mary at Mattie's preschool in 2006, and though we did not know each other well when our children were at school, we have certainly gotten the chance to get to know each other through Mattie's battle with cancer. Mary and I get together now on a regular basis for coffee or lunch, and I appreciate her kindness, warmth, compassion, and friendship. 

My running joke with people who live in Alexandria City is that you can't go out shopping or to a restaurant without bumping into someone you know! For me, who lives in DC, this is a rarity! While I was out with Mary, I bumped into my friends Honey and Tamra. I am not sure what the chances of such encounters are, but seeing Honey and Tamra reminded me of Team Mattie's diversity, since Honey and I were connected through my work at the George Washington University, and Tamra and I were connected through Mattie's elementary school. Yet when Mattie got sick, all these communities united, and some of these people remain friends today because of their work supporting Mattie during his cancer battle.

Later in the day, I went to visit Ann's mom, Mary. I am not sure everyone would elect to spend their birthday in an assisted living facility, but since I knew Mary was going to be by herself this evening, I decided to visit. Since I never know if Mary will be talking or mute, I always come armed with a newspaper. Besides my newspaper, I went shopping for Mary today. Mary's caregiver calls me "the lotion lady." Mainly because I try to buy fragrant lotions and things to make Mary's room smell nice, and when I assess that Mary's supply is dwindling, I buy more. No one asks me to do this, but I try to place myself in Mary's shoes, and there is so little now that she can do or that brings her joy. So to me a gift that impacts one of the senses is crucial! When I arrived today, Mary immediately noticed the shopping bag I was carrying and wanted to know what was in it. So I took out all the items I bought her, we smelled each one, and then before I left her this evening, our ritual is that I massage her hands and arms with lotion. A ritual I can tell she appreciates, even if she can't verbalize it. Being appreciated and needed are special gifts in and of itself, and whether Mary can say it or not, I know she appreciates my company.

When I walked into Mary's room this evening, I was greeted with presents from Ann, Mary, and Shayla. Shayla is Mary's caregiver. I most certainly wasn't expecting a gift from Shayla, which maybe why it meant so much to me. Shayla's gift included the three balloons you see here in my dining room, as well as another gift. The balloons immediately caught my attention when I walked into Mary's room, especially since Mattie was a BIG balloon fan! Certainly the balloons and Shayla's gift are so appreciated, but it was the message attached to the balloons that I deeply cherish. I cherish it because Shayla and I have only known each other for three years. We unite over the care and friendship of Mary. Yet in the process of our time together she was able to deduce that one of the more painful things about birthdays now is that they do not include Mattie. She not only deduced this, but then acted upon her thinking as she created a gift for me. In many ways I look at her gift today as a symbol of what Mattie would have potentially given me if he were still alive. It was the gift of a red balloon and loving words. Words that weren't expected, which is why to me they are so genuine and heartfelt. Shayla wrote........Happy birthday Vicki! The red balloon symbolizes Mattie's favorite color. I'm sure he would have loved to have given you, his mother, a red balloon on your birthday. So the red balloon is in remembrance of your son Mattie. The smiley face balloon symbolizes your smile. You have the kind of smile that brightens up a room, the kind of smile that says everything will be okay. You truly make the world a better place by offering your genuine smile, so please keep on smiling no matter what!

When I left Mary's assisted living facility, I got into my car and then looked out the windshield. What I wished I captured better in this photo was hundreds of dragon flies dancing all around. Immediately I had the feeling that this was a birthday greeting from Mattie.

To all of you who either called, wrote an email, sent me a card, or sent me a gift, I thank you! Thank you for trying to make my day special. I would like to end tonight's posting with a message I received from my mom.

Happy Birthday Vicki by Virginia R. Sardi

With your birthday approaching, it felt like the right time to acknowledge the importance of Mattie's blog which is a living symbol of your devotion to him and share with you my thoughts of why it continues to attract a wide audience of mesmerized readers long after his death in September 2009. With the power of words, you have captured your deepest feelings vividly portraying the pathos and despair of what it is like to lose a son and what it is like to go on in life without him. Writing a daily blog is an affirmation of the love that remains in your heart for Mattie and your way of keeping his memory alive. Deep introspection into why and how Mattie's life ended before it began has transformed you into a philosophical warrior with creative new insight into how most of us take for granted the good things given to us in life. The harrowing story of Mattie's battle with cancer and how you tried desperately to save him while living with dimming hope for his recovery puts common everyday problems in perspective and gives parents of healthy children a much needed reality check that they as harried individuals coping with everyday life sometimes overlook. Such reflection often brings a better perspective and sense of priorities back into focus. Parents reading Mattie's blog come away with a better outlook on their lives realizing by comparison how good they really have it even though they may face challenges that at times appear daunting. Above all, they count their blessings that they are the parents of healthy children who in the natural cycle of life can be expected to outlive them.

I recall having a philosophical conversation with a friend some time ago and we concluded that facing life and mountain climbing had a lot in common. As you go through life, you find you will encounter a problematic situation that absorbs all your attention. You focus all your strength on figuring out how to resolve it with the underlying thought that if you can own up to that challenge, the crisis will have passed and you will have successfully gotten over the "mountain" and back to level ground. You mistakenly think that once it is resolved then life can be lived happily ever after. That is not the way it works in real life. What really happens is that you run into a series of mountains that challenge you over time and when you finish climbing one, breathe a sigh of relief that you have found greener pastures and things worked out as you hoped, your "nirvana" of the moment though intoxicating may alas prove to be only a temporary "fix." For on the horizon, another mountain, higher and more fearful rears its ugly head and you may be confronted with a more formidable mountain to climb. On and on it goes with small and big issues that arise over a lifetime, one mountain after another. With hindsight most of the problems you faced appeared more awesome than they really were and some were mere "piffles" just "molehills" not worth a single gray hair. You laugh at them in retrospect. But, occasionally however, Mount Everest does appear in a lifetime of ups and downs and unfortunately when it does, it creates an upheaval like an earthquake, with devastation and disaster in its wake. That was the mountain you were forced to climb when Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. All other mountains pale in comparison and your readers are made aware of that in Mattie's blog and your remarkable story that tells of a happy family transformed into cancer warriors to wage the battle of life and death with tragic consequences. Your talent for telling your story in plain, unadulterated prose is a gift not only to parents, friend and family but anyone who has found your website and has gained insight through your own compelling human drama. Mattie's blog will be read long after we are all gone for it has the ring of tragedy that speaks to pain that can be universally understood. It is a story that puts the rest of life into an appropriate three dimensional perspective. You depict the challenges faced by parents who advocate for their children in seeking quality medical care in a complex system that produces both benefits and risks that must be carefully weighed before committing them to invasive medical treatments or allowing them to be exposed to unintended dangerous side-effects when permitting them to participate in experimental medical trials. Your research, insights and your professional counseling background come together to give your readers daily examples of the importance they should place on identifying with their children in good times and bad, finding their needs and promoting their interests and in all things showing reverence and respect for good judgment on their behalf. Love of Mattie, commitment to his memory through Mattie's blog have made a difference in many lives and will continue to be a beacon of light that will touch and change hearts everywhere your story is told. There are no limits to its reach since wherever the Internet is accessible around the world; there will be potential new followers of Mattie's blog. You should be very proud of your role in educating your audience and how your talents empowered you to make this happen. Happy Birthday to you, a born writer as the late Miss Van Epps, one of your favorite English teachers told me a long time ago! Was she ever so right!! Happy Birthday and many more healthy happy ones!!!

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