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

August 16, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007 in Coronado, California. Mattie was going in the pool with Peter. This may seem like an ordinary picture, but to me this picture speaks to Mattie's personality. Some people jump into a pool, regardless of temperature, and others have to wade in slowly to get acclimated to their environment. Mattie was like me, we both wade in. Mattie was adventuresome, but was also cautious, and I do think how a person enters a pool provides, unscientific yet none the less interesting, insights into one's character.

Fact about Dublin, Ireland: Dublin is the capital and most populous city of Ireland. The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name Dubhlinn, meaning "black pool." Dublin is situated near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast.

Dublin began as a Viking settlement near the mouth of the Liffey River. They probably called it “Dubh Linn,” meaning “black pool” because of the springs and marshes found near the river’s banks. Dublin is the Capital of the Republic of Ireland, which is a separate country and NOT part of the United Kingdom. Keep in mind that Northern Ireland is a completely separate country from Southern Ireland (where Dublin is located). Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and this great divide between the north and the south, in a nutshell, occurred centuries ago due to religious differences. The Republic of Ireland identified with Catholicism and Northern Ireland aligned with the United Kingdom and the Church of England. In fact, during the 1990s, President Clinton initiated the Good Friday Treaty in hopes of bringing peace to these two nations, living on one geographic island. We were told today that Northern Ireland flies the British Jack, whereas the Republic of Ireland’s flag has three colors: orange, white, and green. This trinity is very symbolic of the unrest that has occurred on this island throughout time. The Green represents Southern Ireland, and the Orange in the flag represents Northern Ireland (orange, because the Northerners are known as “orange men,” a name that originated back in the days of Queen Mary and King William, since William was called William of Orange). The white within the flag (which sits between the green and orange colors) represents PEACE, or striving for peace between the greens and the oranges!

Dublin has experienced a renaissance. Today, this gracious and cosmopolitan city on the Liffey River is one of Europe's premier destinations. The city is also remarkably well-preserved, every June 16, scholars retrace the paths of James Joyce's characters in the novel "Ulysses," set in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Dublin possesses a storied history. A settlement has existed on the banks of the Liffey River for at least a millennium and a half. Succeeding waves of Gaelic, Viking, Norman and English invaders, all of whom have left their mark on the city.

Thankfully the storm died down and we were able to leave Holyhead, Wales at 6am and headed for Dublin. We arrived at Dublin at 12:30pm. Dublin is West of Wales, and one has to cross the Irish Sea to get there. The seas were choppy this morning, but I am happy the Captain made the decision to wait out the storm in port! As we arrived in Dublin this morning, this was one of the sites we saw. At first it appeared to be a beautiful day outside, with some sun and temperatures in the 60s. However, like Wales, Ireland gets a lot of rain. In fact, our tour guide said that Ireland is known for its rain, and rarely is there a day without it. It explains the beautiful greenery that surrounds us, but the fogginess, grayness, dampness, and rain I would imagine can be challenging to live with at times. Which is why, our guide explained that Dublin families leave the country and head to Spain and other warmer and sunnier climates in Europe for vacations.  

Samuel Beckett Bridge is one of 19 bridges in Dublin and as soon as I saw it, it caught my eye. It is designed to look like a harp, which is the symbol of Dublin. At the end of August, the Tall Ships are coming to Dublin, and the Samuel Beckett Bridge has the capability of opening up (sideways) to allow for the ships to pass through.

Our tour guide stated that Dublin is famous for three things: 1) its monuments, 2) its churches, and 3) its pubs. In fact, she stated that there used to be more pubs in the city at one time, however, she was very well versed at guiding people to establishments that served Guinness beer (one of Dublin’s own products).

In the 1840s, Ireland experienced the Great Potato Famine. The potato is a staple in Ireland’s food supply, and the famine occurred because all the potatoes became infected with a foreign borne disease. Without potatoes, people were unable to feed themselves and their families. This bronze sculpture monument was constructed in memory of the famine and how it changed the lives of those living in Dublin. As you can see the people depicted here were emaciated and walking to find food. It is a very haunting visual statement!

Dublin has 3.5 million inhabitants, the same amount of taxis at New York City (though NYC has more than double Dublin’s population), and very narrow sidewalks and streets. Which is why when you look at the streets, they look completely filled with people. In fact, walking on the sidewalks is challenging, because you feel like you are fighting for space.

St. Patrick's Cathedral was built in honor of Ireland's patron saint in 1190, it is not only the largest church in Ireland, but is also said to be the earliest Christian site in Ireland where St. Patrick baptized converts. The cathedral was damaged during Cromwell's invasion of Ireland in the 17th century and was restored in the 19th century by the Guinness brewery family. Buried inside is Jonathan Swift, author and dean of the cathedral. Today, St. Patrick's is the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland (Anglican). The choir section contains the largest and most powerful organ in Ireland, and Handel’s Messiah received its first performance in Dublin in 1742 within this Cathedral.

The Cathedral is quite beautiful, with incredible details. When St. Patrick’s was first created, it was a Catholic church, however over time and the reformation, it became Anglican.

This is the Alter within the Cathedral.

There are many stained glass windows in the Cathedral. This one is entitled, Tree of life and is just exquisite.

This is a statue of Sir. Benjamin Guinness. The Guinness family is well loved and respected in Dublin. They were known as the first company to provide pension plans for their employees and they care for ALL employees and their families from WOMB to TOMB. Almost unheard of in these days! Guinness helped to restore St. Patrick’s and has contributed many stained glass windows to the church. Ironically many of these windows feature biblical sayings about drinking!

Around 85% of people in Dublin are Catholic. However, she wanted us to know that other religions are represented in the Country. She got that point across by telling us a joke. She had the gift of gab and the art of storytelling. The joke went like this….. A Catholic woman wanted to marry a Jewish man. They had both celebrants officiating the wedding. When the priest entered the wedding reception he was offered a “spot” of whiskey. He thanked his host and drank it. When the rabbi walked into the reception, he too was offered whiskey. The rabbi refused the whiskey and said he rather commit adultery before having to drink whiskey. The priest overheard this dialogue and with that replied, “I didn’t realize we had a choice.”

Trinity College is Ireland's oldest university, and the alma mater of distinguished alumni, including Jonathan Swift of Gulliver's Travels, Oscar Wilde, and Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett. This college has 15,000 students enrolled in it today, and it offers free tuition to residents of Ireland. There are international students, but their tuition is quite costly. The college was created by Elizabeth I to educate Dublin’s students, so that they did not have to go to France for an education. It is alleged that Elizabeth I wanted the people of Ireland to learn and appreciate the English culture, history, and heritage, something they wouldn’t get if they studied in France.

Among the greatest treasures of the middle ages is the beautiful Book of Kells, displayed at Trinity College (in the building you see in this photo). The book is an 8th century text of the four gospels, written in Latin and lavishly illustrated with figures of real and fanciful creatures. The monks at the Kells monastery used a style of calligraphy that is itself a work of art. What demands attention is the brilliantly colored parade of humans, animals, and plants that dance through intricate mazes around and through the text. A blend of theology and whimsy, the rich patterns of spirals, geometrics, and interlacings give us an insight to the Irish medieval character.

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