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 15, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007 in Coronado, California. The beauty of Mattie was he never tired out. You could do a full day of touring, and he still had energy to go and spare at the end of the day. In those moments on vacation, we took Mattie swimming. Mattie wasn't in love with the water, but he grew to love aspects of it and right before he was diagnosed with cancer, he literally learned to dog paddle in the water. That was a momentous occasion.

Fact about Holyhead, Wales: The union of Britain with Ireland in 1800 increased the need to improve the road route from London to Dublin and, by this time, Holyhead had emerged as the primary port for sea access, mainly due to the fact that it is the closest point on the British coast to Ireland.

Last night aboard the Ship, we had a formal night. After a long day of touring, it was hard to find the motivation to dress up and get in the formal dinner mode, but we did it. Our ship has 3100 passengers and 1200 crew members. So in essence we are part of a floating city, which is a mixed blessing. A ship can transport you to many places in a short period of time, distance that would be impossible to cover if attempting to travel it on your own. I therefore appreciate the journey, but the process can sometimes be frustrating. While eating dinner, it was dark outside, and yet out of the corner of my eye, I swore I was seeing something white flying by. The ship’s outside lights make it seem like it is surrounded by a halo. As I stopped eating to get a closer look, I was amazed at what I saw. Hundreds of seagulls were flying alongside the Ship, diving for fish, and circling around the Ship. They followed us for miles. I was so intrigued I even had our waiter and assistant waiter stop what they were doing to see this glorious and unusual sight. They too had never seen such a sighting. This morning, Peter checked out the Ship’s map and deduced that where we saw the seagulls had to be while we were passing Land’s End, England.

Welsh is one of Europe’s oldest languages and around 60% of people who live in Anglesey speak it. Anglesey is known as the “mon man cymru,” the mother of Wales. The saying originates from the 12th century when Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales), who was on a famous journey around Wales, said that Anglesey could supply the whole of Wales with corn. As you can see from this welcome sign, Welsh is indeed its own language, and to my ear, it sounds a lot like German. The first line is written in Welsh and the second in English.

Holyhead (pronounced Holly, not Holy), is Britain’s third most important passenger port, with direct ties to Dublin and other Irish cities. Holyhead is part of the Isle of Anglesey, and Anglesey ia an Isle of Wales. Since the time of Elizabeth I, the road running from London to Holyhead has been a vital strategic route, linking England, Wales and the sea route to Ireland. Approaching Holyhead from the sea, your first image is of towering sea cliffs rearing above the waves. Natural beauty abounds on the island of Anglesey, the northernmost part of Wales. Angelsey has a long and turbulent history, it was the last stronghold of Druids resisting the Roman invasion, and it was the last refuge of the Welsh princes who resisted English conquest and dominion. Today, Holyhead and Anglesey are your gateway to Wales, a land with a strong and proud Celtic tradition and with some of the most beautiful countryside in the British Isles.

The rocky remoteness of Anglesey helps to explain the firmness of the local language and culture. Conquerors have always had trouble penetrating the fastness of the wooded hills. The white dots you see in this picture are sheep. Sheep can be found everywhere. In fact, Anglesey is comprised of 3 million people and 12 million sheep!!! However, what captures your immediate attention in Wales is its LUSHNESS. The grass is a green like I have never seen before. It almost looks like a sea of emeralds.
 Along our journey we passed Llanfair PG, the town with a 56-letter name. This 56 letter name literally translates into "the church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the Red Cave."

Long after the Romans withdrew from Britain, another invader came to Wales. The English Norman kings decided to gain control of Scotland and Wales in the 13th century, and a series of sharp border wars followed. Despite good leadership by the Llywelyns, the Welsh armies were defeated. The vigorous King Edward I set in motion an ambitious plan to construct a chain of castles to control the countryside. Beginning in 1276, 17 castles were built in 20 years, most of which could be supplied from the sea. The greatest military architect of the age supervised the project, Master James of St. George. James was an Italian by origin, and he was also familiar with the formidable walls of Constantinople. He went on to construct fortresses so daunting that most were never attacked. Square towers were vulnerable to undermining, so he built round or polygonal ones. He then surrounded them with concentric rings of walls.

The most technically perfect medieval castle in Britain is named Beaumaris (meaning beautiful marsh). Construction of Beaumaris began in 1295, in reaction to a Welsh rising, and stands commanding the old Ferry Crossing to Anglesey. Work progressed at an astonishing speed but funds and supplies faltered and after 30 years the Castle was still not complete. The magnificent white elephant is the most fascinating of King Edward the First’s Castles to explore. Beaumaris had three layers of protection: a moat (the only castle in Anglesey to have one), an outer wall, and an inner wall.

The entrance into Beaumaris at one time had a draw bridge. If the draw bridge didn’t keep you out, then perhaps getting things thrown at you from the openings by the doorway would do the trick. As our guide informed us, during medieval times such things as decapitated heads, waste products, and other nasty products would be thrown from these square cut outs in the walls at intruders.   

In order to reach the interior of the fortress (sometimes referred to as the killing field), one would have had to first traversed the moat, then the outer wall, and then the inner wall. The main form of protection used by the English was bows and arrows. The killing field lived up to its name, because if you were an intruder and you reached this portion of the castle, you were most likely going to get shot at with arrows from all angles.

Though the Castle was unfinished, we were able to walk through several of the inner hallways. As you can see they are dark and narrow. This hallway led us to the chapel.

The chapel was an amazing structure. The acoustics were beyond beautiful and when our guide began singing, you would have thought she was signing into a microphone. When the chapel was constructed, the right window area above (in which you see someone in blue taking a photograph) was designated for the King. Thereby he could attend mass, and yet be removed from the common people, as he would be seated separated and behind a curtain.

The town and main street of Beaumaris was charming. We stopped for ice cream, despite the fact that it was cool, damp, and pouring. Today’s ice cream flavor was, “death by chocolate.” Along our walk, we passed this flower shop, and I asked Peter to snap a picture of my mom and I in front of it. The flowers and plants in the United Kingdom have been a wonderful treat to see and experience.

This is Brittania Bridge. A bridge that connects Anglesey to the mainland of Wales. This is both a car and train bridge.

It is now 11pm Britain time (five hours ahead of the East Coast of the USA). Our Ship was scheduled to departure Holyhead for Dublin at 7:30pm. However, we aren’t going anywhere. We are experiencing 50 mile per hour winds and with a Ship our size, this could easily make it topple right over. In addition, there are gale force winds in the Irish Sea, and for safety reasons, our Ship is spending the night in Holyhead, Wales, and it is questionable as to when we are leaving Wales, and if we will ever see Dublin at all. In fact, the winds are so intense tonight that a large tug boat is helping to keep our Ship against the dock, rather than blowing back and forth with the wind and injuring the dock and the ship. In addition to the tug boat, the Ship’s thrusters have been on all day, to steady the Ship against the dock. I am very happy the Captain is being conservative with respect to these powerful winds and that we are not on the water and in the midst of this storm.

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