Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 success!

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

June 2, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2007. Mattie was five years old and pictured with two of his favorite things... Legos and Scooby Doo (on his shirt). Back then our whole home was filled with Legos, Legos in bins, Lego structures already built and even Lego trains. As I look at this picture tonight, I focused in on Mattie's arms and legs. The ironic thing about this is that Mattie's arms and legs look just like mine. I knew we looked alike, but I never really stopped to think about his limbs. We had a very similar body type, personality, and way of interacting with people. It is hard to accept Mattie not in our lives and also realize that this special being that looked so much like me is missing.

Quote of the day: Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead. ~ Louisa May Alcott

This morning while we were awaiting our friends to arrive at Ellen's beach house, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Charlotte. Charlotte and I chatted about various things and then she taught me a card game called "spit." Playing cards is not my forte, but I learned while raising Mattie the art of playing games. Not only playing, but artfully losing.

I had the opportunity to spend time today not only with Ellen's family, but with my friend Christine and her family. Christine's son, Campbell was a close friend of Mattie's. In many ways it is surreal to see Charlotte and Campbell growing up and interacting, and yet I know very well that a part of their trio is now missing. This reality can be hard to understand and at times I simply deem it unfair. Unfair of course to Mattie since he suffered a horrible diagnosis and death, and also unfair to us since we have been robbed of being his parent and we also must continue living with these memories.

This afternoon, we all went down to the beach together and spent close to three hours there. The kids loved the sand, water, riding the waves, and playing beach kick ball. When I was their age, I loved kick ball, but I never played it in the sand. It is much harder that way! I played on a team with Charlotte and Livi (Campbell's sister) and we played against the three dads (Jeff, Charlotte's dad; James, Livi's dad; and of course Peter). Naturally if the dads wanted to they could have easily beat us, but they understood that wasn't an option! Needless to say we girls won, and we certainly got a work out to achieve this win!

As Christine and I discussed tonight, it is hard for me at times to balance the fine line between wanting to be engaged with other moms I knew and listening to their stories about their children and school, and needing space from this reality. I naturally can't bury my head in the sand and ask moms to deny the fact that they have children. I know that this all consuming role defines most women. Yet these conversations can be awkward for me, since I no longer share these day to day tasks, responsibilities, challenges, and joys. Not that I expect someone who is not in my shoes to get what I am living with, but it is always very special for me, when I find that a friend wants to understand, and isn't afraid to ask questions or dialogue about it with me. Empathy is indeed a powerful force and a gift to receive from another person.

On Sunday, Peter and I will pack up and head back home. I arrived at the beach a week ago, frazzled, very sick, and exhausted. I am now on the mend, but still tired and fragile.

June 1, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2007. Each year Mattie requested that the size of his pool on our deck be larger. We started out with a small pool, and after several summers, we landed up with this huge rainbow pool. A pool which felt like it took up half of our deck space. Keep in mind that Mattie did not like to swim and therefore did not want a pool for that purpose. He wanted the pool to float his toys, to drive his remote controlled boats, and to run his various scientific experiments.  When I look at this picture now, it seems like ages ago when our deck looked like this and that Mattie was a part of our lives.   

Quote of the day: If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. ~ Henry David Thoreau

This afternoon, Ellen and her family came to their beach house, where we are staying. Charlotte, Ellen's daughter, had her last day of school today. Charlotte told us about her last day and she showed me the wonderful gift her teacher made for each child in her class. Peter and I have enjoyed our day with Charlotte, and as I told Ellen tonight, I can see why Mattie loved Charlotte. Charlotte has a contagious laugh and as Peter was acting silly and getting her to laugh tonight, I couldn't help but reflect on all the times I heard that same laugh, when she was playing with Mattie.

The last day of school clearly doesn't impact me at all, or it shouldn't. Yet it does. I can't help but reflect upon the last day of school in 2008. Some times it is hard to rationalize how Mattie is no longer with us, and yet his friends get older, they are growing, developing, and have amazing and diverse interests. 

I am not sure why this was a challenging day for me, but it was. Over lunch, I landed up in tears, and the beauty of the situation is I did not have to explain to Peter why. He simply understood. He understood that today was the last day of school. He understood that summer has officially began for Mattie's cohort, and yet, for me it is the beginning of the time of year in which I begin to flounder. Flounder more so than the rest of the year, if that is possible. It is also the time of year in which I associate with Mattie's cancer diagnosis.

I try to compensate with staying busy and getting involved in different Foundation activities, but regardless of how much I take on, nothing quite fits the void of Mattie.  

May 31, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. It was actually taken on Mother's Day to be exact. Peter and Mattie took me out for lunch, at Clyde's in Rockville. Mattie liked that restaurant too because of the wonderful pond in front of the restaurant. This pond was filled with frogs, turtles, and fish! A big hit for us and a wonderful diversion for a curious mind.

Quote of the day: You were born an original. Don’t die a copy. ~ John Mason

Last night Peter wasn't feeling well at all and I knew the only way to handle this was with antibiotics. So again I text messaged Bob, Ann's husband and Mattie's surgeon. Bob prescribed antibiotics for Peter, but the pharmacy near us by the beach was already closed. So I started Peter on my antibiotics, until we picked up the medication today.

Despite how Peter was feeling, he had several hours of work to do remotely. He was on conference calls for hours. While he was on the phone, Ann called me. She and I have had little to no time to catch up with each other, especially since her uncle died a week ago today. It is hard to believe that the last day of the school year for Mattie's friends is tomorrow. I am stuck with kindergarten memories and the rest of his cohort are finishing fourth grade. We missed first, second, third, and fourth grades with Mattie! How on earth does this happen?!

Later in the afternoon, Peter and I went out to lunch and then walked around the town of Bethany. Neither of us have felt very adventuresome this week, and literally spent most of our time in Ellen's house. We only went to the actual beach once! While walking through the stores at Bethany, one store caught our attention. It was a shop geared for children and if Mattie were with us, we would have absolutely lost him in this store. The store was filled with toy cars of all shapes and sizes and remote controlled helicopters. One of Mattie's absolute favorites. It is very hard to see all these things and to know that they were a part of our lives. There are absolutely times when I am down right confused about the loss of Mattie and am perplexed about whether I was ever a mother.

When we got back to Ellen's house this afternoon, I sat outside on a deck chair and literally fell asleep. When I awoke, I was greeted with this sight in the garden! I entitle this picture.... "A light snack!" This bunny clearly likes the roses we planted!

I rarely see pelicans by the Delaware shore, but this group of 6 flew right over us today.
I also want to introduce you to a robin we have nicknamed, "the King." King owns this garden and literally chases any other birds who may want to stop by, sit, or bathe in the sprinklers. We have made many friends of nature this week!

This evening, Peter and I went out for a walk. The first long walk we have taken all week. As always, no beach blog posting would be complete without a bunny sighting! Peter had me laughing since there were so many bunnies out tonight, that he finally gave up photographing them!

This evening was our first real walk on the beach. We have been too sick or wiped out for six days now to do this. The beach was beautiful, with literally perhaps four other people on it with us!

What you can't tell by this picture is the water Peter is standing in is freezing. Mind you if I were stepping into it, you would know immediately by my expression that the temperature was frigid!

As I was walking along the beach, I kept seeing these markings in the sand. EVERYWHERE! What are they? They are Crab trails, leading to huge crab holes. Fortunately I did not see the creatures associated with the holes.

After we walked the beach, I came off of the walk absolutely winded and had to sit down. Very unusual for me, but not unusual considering how congested I am.

A final beach shot to end this evening's post.

May 30, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. Mattie was out on our deck and playing in his sandbox. With Mattie's imagination, play was never ordinary or boring! With him anything was possible and as you can see he was using the cover of his sandbox as a boat. In his boat he was fishing! He got out Peter's fishing rod and instead of trying to catch fish, he was fishing for sand toys! The irony is, if you visit us now, this sandbox still exists and many of the toys you see inside of it can be found still within the box.

Quote of the day: Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Peter and I had a slow start to the day. Since I knew rain was coming, I was motivated to finish up Ellen's garden this morning. Peter and I went outside together and I can safely say we are almost finished with this new creation. We have had several of Ellen's neighbors stop and admire the flower colors and chat with us over the course of the past couple of days, which make us feel good and proud of the gift we are leaving our friends.

Each neighbor is intrigued by who we are and how we are connected to Ellen. In fact that is the first question asked of us. I imagine such a simple question deserves an equally simple answer. Which we provide, and spare the details. After all, how do you explain to an unsuspecting soul that we are friends with Ellen and are connected through our children? Mattie loved Ellen's daughter, Charlotte, and as my faithful readers know, Mattie even gave Charlotte a plastic engagement ring he got at his dentist's office for a good cleaning.

This morning Ellen called me and we chatted for a while. She let me know that our mutual friend Christine will be visiting her this weekend at the beach house. Christine's son is Campbell. Mattie, Charlotte, and Campbell were quite a threesome in kindergarten. In fact, if you asked Charlotte, she was pretty sure that she and her two friends were going to college together and sharing a dorm room. Ellen has asked us to stay this weekend so we can be reunited as friends. This is a very thoughtful invitation, since in so many ways, without Mattie my ability to do things with my friends has also ended. We nor longer travel in the same social circles or are united around school and educational issues. Needless to say this call meant a lot to me and yet I am also sensitive to the fact that seeing Charlotte and Campbell with each other this weekend is not an easy sight for me, and I also know it isn't easy for my friends either. I know Ellen and Christine feel the loss of Mattie and they know how this loss has impacted their children. I don't have to guess about these issues, since they fortunately verbalize these thoughts with me.

I snapped a couple of pictures of the garden that I wanted to share with you. As so many of you know, gardening has and is one of my many forms of therapy. Unlike some of my other gardens however, this one was a joint creation by Peter and I.

I planted Ellen's baskets on her deck, and naturally couldn't help but incorporate orange gerbers. I love gerber daisies. To me they are a happy flower and they remind me of a child's face smiling. Of course, orange is one of Mattie's colors, and I incorporate a Mattie reminder in ALL my gardens!

This is an overhead view of the flower beds we nurtured and planted. For days we studied neighbors' gardens and gardens around town. We wanted a feel for what grew and was hardy by the sea. The answers: hydrangeas, roses (of all things!!), grasses, and portaluca.

Here is a close up of one of the flower beds. This bed is filled with daisies, gaura, roses, and portaluca. Within these beds we also integrated three copper sprinklers. I tried to take a close up of this one, which features a sea turtle. Mattie LOVED sea turtles and had one adopted for him by this preschool. Mattie tracked Roxana on the Internet and was very proud to say he had his "own" sea turtle. So this is another Mattie feature within this garden.

There are three copper sprinklers here, one is in the shape of a turtle, the second is in the shape of a fish, and the third is in the shape of a flower. When the sprinklers go off, they twirl and really provide quite a show.

Peter loves roses and planted these three beauties. Around the roses, I planted moss roses (otherwise known as portaluca). Each day, we have robins and bunnies that come to the garden. Since I consider the robin, a gardener's helper or friend, I think this says volumes about the garden. In addition, yesterday afternoon, we had a hummingbird grace us with his presence in the orange gerber flower basket. So it is a pleasure to see nature all around us and we love hearing the birds singing and flying all around us.

This evening, as we went for our walk, I figured we wouldn't see many bunnies since the ground was soaked from a day full of rain. However, here was one of our first sightings. I entitle this photo....."Caught in the act!"

This cutie is a baby bunny! It maybe hard to tell but this bunny could literally fit in the palm of my hand. No evening is complete for me without a bunny sighting!

May 29, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 -- Mattie died 142 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. That weekend we took Mattie to Andrews Air Force Base's Open House. Mattie got to shake hands with many military personnel and got to sit in several of the planes and helicopters featured in the Base's airshow. As you can see, Mattie was sitting in the driver's seat of a helicopter and was ALL business! Gadgets and anything that moved were Mattie's forte, and between that and seeing the Thunderbirds (The Thunderbirds are the air demonstration squadron of the U.S. Air Force, based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The "Ambassadors in Blue" tour the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation and solo flying in specially marked USAF Jet aircraft. They are the Fastest Flying Jet Team in the world. The name is taken from the legendary creature that appears in the mythology of several indigenous North American cultures.) air show, it was a memorable day for all of us.

Quote of the day: Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth. ~ Julie Andrews

As today marks the 142 week Mattie has been gone from our lives, I find it interesting that I was awoken from a challenging dream. I dreamt that Mattie was alive, and that my mom picked him up from school to take him to an after school program. It is unclear in my dream whether he was in a swimming program or some sort of sports program. But either case, the after school program was housed in a VERY large building. My mom escorted Mattie into the building to attend the program, and within an hour I arrived there to watch Mattie play/swim (not sure which). However, when I got to this building, Mattie couldn't be found. My mom assured me she picked Mattie up and he was in the building, but when I asked his teacher and the other kids if they saw Mattie that day, their answer was NO! So in my dream, I was frantically searching this very large building, leaving no room untouched. I could feel the level of stress and panic while I was sleeping, and when I woke up this morning, the dream hadn't resolved itself. Instead, I woke up with the feeling that Mattie was permanently missing. Rather telling of our reality. This feeling has remained with me today, and somehow emphasizes our everyday feelings. A subconscious reminder!

Though I am not feeling back to normal, Peter is now getting what I have been fighting, and so together, we are a mess. This has been a challenging time away. Despite how we are feeling, we did venture out today. We did not stay out long because our energy level isn't where it should be and that combined with 90 degree weather and intense humidity, we just couldn't spend much time outside.

We drove to Lewes, Delaware today. Though Lewes is small, it is a very charming and historic town. It is a place I always enjoy touring and strolling in. Along our journey, we passed fields, and fields of golden yellow..... Wheat fields.

This adorable replica of Lewes lighthouse marks the entrance into the town of Lewes.

As you enter Lewes, you are greeted by this Purple Victorian! This house has now been transformed into a spa and inn.

Peter and I walked around and also had lunch in Lewes. As we were leaving the town, we passed Cannonball House.

Info on Cannonball House ---- The War of 1812 had a major impact on the town of Lewes and surrounding area. The naval blockade that was initiated by the British in March of 1813 lasted for most of the next two years. With maritime commerce limited, the local economy suffered. The regular presence of troops resulted in the use of many structures in the town for military purposes, and a camp for militia and US Army Regulars was established near Blockhouse Pond. During the bombardment of Lewes on April 6th and 7th, 1813, numerous homes and businesses were damaged by naval fire from the British squadron. Known today as the Cannonball House, this structure still bears visible traces of the engagement including an iron cannonball that is lodged in its Foundation.

Naturally no beach blog posting would be complete without a bunny picture. Here is our sighting from this evening's walk!

May 28, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. Mattie was in his "Super Mattie" costume, and was helping me do the laundry. In our complex, the laundry facility is located on a completely different floor from where we live, and therefore, Mattie always came with me on this chore. Though for Mattie, in order for him to buy into the laundry process, I had to make it interesting and exciting for him. So Mattie either rode down in the cart (when it was empty), or rode his bicycle through the hallways with me. Either case, with Mattie, laundry was never boring. Neighbors loved talking with him and always commented on how he was my helper. Mattie really had no other choice, since I wasn't leaving him in our home unattended while I went three floors down. So at a young age, Mattie learned the responsibility of how to do laundry.

Quote of the day: The abundant life does not come to those who have had a lot of obstacles removed from their path by others. It develops from within and is rooted in strong mental and moral fiber. ~ William Mather Lewis

In so many ways, this is a vacation or break like no other we ever had. Mainly because we have done absolutely nothing. We haven't even left Ellen's house to go out for meals. I have been too tired and sick to move, and Peter is now coming down with something. This morning, Peter and I went out on Ellen's deck and we were greeted by her neighbors on either side of us. I always find it fascinating how people in general are more friendly by the beach. Mind you many of the people we are surrounded by live in the Washington, DC area, and vacation on the Delaware shore in the summer. Nonetheless, the beach brings out either a feeling of relaxation, or perhaps trust in others, and I have found for the most part conversations are very easy to start and establish. This is unlike my typical experience of living in a big city.

Despite not going on daily adventures, Peter and I are slowly working on planting all sorts of things in Ellen's garden. Gardens can be a personal thing, so I naturally asked Ellen if she was okay with me taking this on. Peter and I both love to garden, and despite feeling exhausted it gets us outside, working together, and creating. In the process while we have been outside, we have interacted with many people living in the community. Plants and beauty can get people to talk immediately! We are finding that people are loving the brass colored sprinklers we put in the garden. When these brass things are on, they spin and the water looks like it is giving us a show, as it twirls in the air. Once the garden is finished, I will take better pictures of our creation. 

This evening, we went out for our first bunny walk since we got here. I did not have to journey very far. Right in Ellen's front yard, we were greeted by this sighting.
As we kept walking, I was absolutely oblivious to this sighting, until Peter grabbed a hold of me to look down. This fellow was simply sitting and looking at us! I absolutely love these bunnies and am intrigued by their long legs and how their fur blends in so beautifully with the sandy terrain!

May 27, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. Mattie was headed to his first day of summer camp at his preschool. Mattie LOVED summer camp at Resurrection Children's Center, and I had to laugh because he would enter the camp each day clean, but I would pick him up wet and full of sand. He at times looked like a sandy meatball! Mattie loved running in the water and also playing in the sandbox. I am so glad he had these wonderful, happy, and fun times and adventures. For Mattie, life was too short, so whether we knew it or not, he really had to pack in a full life in only seven years! 

Quote of the day: You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens. ~ Ethel Barrymore

I am having a slow recovery, and in many ways my illness is a forced break for both Peter and I. We are learning to do very little and just try to take in fresh air, look at the ocean, and rest. I had a bad night of sleep, so I did not have a good start to the day.

Later in the morning, I went out with Peter for a car ride. Somehow that was too taxing, and we came right back to the house and stayed put. At one point, we did walk down to the beach. Peter brought a kite with him today, something he always did with Mattie by the beach, and his plan was to fly it. This kite was a nightmare, and I entitled it, "Man versus The Kite." By the way the kite won!!! It was impossible to fly. Despite our, or I should say Peter's best efforts. This kite didn't want to fly, but instead wanted to dive bomb into the sand, and catch a beach goer with it in the process. We worked with this kite for an hour. At one point we did get it up in the air for a few minutes and a crowd of people began cheering. That is how bad a sight, "Man versus Kite" was today!

Around dusk, I went outside on Ellen's deck and looked down in her driveway and garden. There I found this wonderful bunny. Typically we go walking to find bunnies, but this fellow walked to us tonight and I appreciated his visit.