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 22, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007 in Coronado, California. Mattie wanted to go on surrey ride, so Peter and I rented one for an hour. I will never forget this ride because moving this bicycle looking vehicle was VERY difficult. It is not like a bicycle at all, most likely because the metal structure of this thing weighs a ton. Mattie was laughing hysterically over the commentary Peter and I were having with each other while trying to peddle! This was a ride I will not forget anytime soon.

Fact about Invergordon, Scotland: In 1931, at the time of the World Depression, the British Government announced huge cuts in the salaries of Government employees, which of course included the pay of able seamen. When the Atlantic Fleet returned to the Firth while on maneuvers, meetings of the below-deck crew were held in Invergordon and a policy of passive resistance was agreed - no ships would sail from the Firth. Although this is known as the Invergordon Mutiny, no ships were taken over and no officers captured. Within days of the first signs of resistance, however, the Fleet was slowly leaving the Firth and sailing to its home bases in the South. The effect of the 'mutiny' had caused a run on the Government's Gold reserves and in the short term the pay cuts were reviewed and reduced.

Failte!!! This in Celtic means welcome. It was the first sign we were greeted with on the dock this morning! Invergordon (Scotland) is a small town, 23 miles north of Inverness. There are many town names that start with the prefix… “inver.” Inver means estuary or meeting of the waters. Invergordon has about 70,000 visitors from cruise liners each year, and tourism is key to their economy.

It is said that in 1933, an enterprising editor in Inverness enlivened a slow news week with the story of an odd sighting in Loch Ness. The legend grew overnight - and today individuals still scan the dark waters of the Loch for a sight of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Legend insists that the celebrated Loch Ness Monster inhabits a cave beneath the picturesque ruins of Urquhart Castle. Invergordon, is the gateway to Loch Ness and the area of the Highlands known as the "Great Glen."

The hills of Invergordon are splendid, despite the pouring rain and cool temperatures we experienced.

Invergordon has a population of 3500 people. On this main street, called High Street, one can find all sorts of shops, but more importantly the MURAL TRAIL. This trail provides a series of paintings on various buildings depicting a history of the town. There are 11 murals in total. In fact, Invergordon’s economy was failing, and the townspeople came up with the creative idea of painting historical murals on the sides of their buildings to draw traffic to their sleepy town. The murals are simply wonderful and have successfully achieved their goal!

Church of Invergordon, which is part of the Church of Scotland, was the highlight of my visit today. The Church hosts the seamen’s mission and offers telephone cards, telephones and internet access to the crew of all ships docking in their port. Volunteers of the Church also open the Church’s doors whenever cruise ships are in port to serve tea and coffee to all visitors. We had limited time and I debated whether to go into the church or not, but I did. Once inside, I met Ishabel, which is her Scottish name. Her Americanized name is Isabel. Ishabel must have been in her 70s, and was very proud of her church which was built in 1846. What I learned is that the Church opens its doors to visitors because the people of Invergordon feel it is very important for visitors to meet actual town folks and to have the opportunity to mingle with them. So what better way to do this than to offer coffee and tea? The Church is also aware of the fact that cruise ship crew have to pay for Internet connections aboard the ship. They are not given this luxury for free. Which is why, the Church offers Internet connectivity at a very nominal fee for crew people, so that they can connect with family and friends back in their home countries. Ishabel also pointed out several of the volunteers, who work in the Church, two of whom stuck out to me. One was a teenager with a disability and in a wheelchair. The other was a man whose wife recently died. Both of these parishioners, she told me were quite lost until they were given the responsibility to be volunteers. She did not need to explain this any further to me since I understood all too well how a loss of some kind impacts one’s world, and how finding an outlet to re-engage with the world and others is vital. My encounter with Ishabel was very special and will remain in my memory.

We snapped pictures of almost all 11 murals. However, I am sharing this one with you tonight. Painted into the mural are the words….. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time! The placard near the mural read… Only when the last tree is cut, only when the last river is polluted, only when the last fish is caught…. Will they realize…. You can’t eat money. To me this art piece was making a very powerful statement. Each creature depicted on the mural can be found in the waters near Invergordon!

We visited Durnoch, a seaside resort town which boasts the Old Town Jail, the previous Bishop's Palace, now a well-known hotel, and Dornoch Castle. In 1224, Gilbert de Moravia became the Bishop of Caithness, and built the Durnoch Cathedral. He built it out of local stone and glass, paying for Scotland’s smallest Cathedral out of his own pocket. By 1800, clan feuds and lack of money left parts of the Cathedral in ruins. Over the years the Cathedral has been restored and a great contributor to the upkeep of this structure was America’s well known steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie (born in Scotland!).

There are 28 stained glass windows in the Cathedral. However, these three windows were actually built to pay homage to Andrew Carnegie.
The River Shin is one of the greatest salmon rivers in all of Scotland. During September, the River features Atlantic salmon making their journey upstream to their spawning site. We walked a short path down to the Falls of Shin, which are a series of small cascades over which the salmon hurdle.

We stopped at the picturesque Struie Viewpoint or as the local's call it "the million dollar view," with its panoramic highland vistas.

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