MATTIE MIRACLE VIRTUAL WALK WAS AN $110,000 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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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

October 6, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. By this point in time, Mattie completed both limb salvaging surgeries and was home recovering from the second surgery. We rented a hospital bed and set it up in our living room. As you can see Patches, our cat, came to keep Mattie company and was probably thrilled we were all home. If I had to give this photo a title, I would call it " Between Friends." As Mattie's treatment continued, and we spent less and less time at home, Patches was placed under the care of our vet for over a year. We just couldn't manage her health needs and Mattie's at the same time. Yet Patches was a good companion to Mattie, she never tried to scratch him even when he would chase her and pull her tail when he was a toddler. These two were just good friends, and after Mattie's death, Patches was out of sorts and grieving in her own way. I wouldn't have believed this was possible if I had not observed it for myself.


Quote of the day: I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write. ~ Augustine of Hippo


Peter and I are now in New York for the evening. We packed up and left Cape Cod at around 10am, and by 2:30pm, we were in Westchester County, NY. It takes a good 60 minutes to drive through the entire Cape to get to the main land, especially since we stayed almost at the very tip of the Island. This evening we are getting together with Karen, and Peter and I are both grateful for the lay over before we have another four hour drive ahead of us tomorrow. As promised, I am sharing pictures with you from our walk last evening on Ryder Beach. I snapped a picture of Peter wading out into Cape Cod Bay. It is funny, our differences.... I was wearing a sweater and fleece, and Peter was in shorts and a t-shirt!


The next set of pictures captured the sunset we saw last night. Most of the days we were on the Cape were foggy and rainy, so seeing a sunset wasn't possible. But last night's conditions were perfect! The Cape is one of the few places on the East Coast where you can see a sunrise over the Atlantic and the sun setting over Cape Cod Bay. This was a photo of Ryder Beach right before the sun began to set.

This was the beginning of the sunset. You should note that absolutely NO ONE was on the beach with us. Some people were watching this glorious sight from their homes, but the beach belonged to us and the birds!

It is unfortunate that my camera didn't capture the true color of the sun. The sun last night was RED. Yet it was a red color I have never seen before in the sky. It wasn't a fire engine red, but the red you sometimes see with cherry flavored ices. As Peter says, my analogies always involve food!

Keep going it gets even better!
The glow and glimmer of this sun on the water was breath taking.
The falling of the sun into the water occurred within minutes!
When we see the sun and the moon, we think of Mattie. Last night's sunset was huge and we literally sat there glued to the sky.
Now watch the color of the sun turn an amazing pink.
The sun began to look like the cap on top of a big mushroom.
It is almost gone.
You can see a shore bird flying on the left of this photo. The birds were all a flutter and SO were the SEALS!
This photo was taken immediately after the sun set into the water. I am so happy we went back to the beach to experience this sight.












While watching the sun setting, seals were frolicking all around us. To me they are a glorious sight, and one I will always associate with the Fall season on the Cape. Needless to say, my surroundings look very different now, and driving through traffic today seemed unusual. We did not experience traffic or crowds on the Cape. A very different existence for us from living in Washington, DC!

October 5, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008. That day Mattie had his 6th birthday party at a bowling alley. Throughout the party I could tell Mattie wasn't feeling well and by the time the party was over he had a raging fever. When we brought Mattie home, he headed right to the couch, and as you can see fell asleep. Mattie rarely rested or napped, even as a baby. So the tell tale sign that Mattie was sick was the sight you see in tonight's photo.


Quote of the day:  The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. ~ Albert Einstein


Last night Peter and I went out to dinner with Peter's parents in Provincetown. Typically we never go out at night on the Cape. Mainly because once the sun goes down it is pitch black out and there are little to no lights on the streets! On our drive out of Provincetown, we stopped at this house to take a picture. Clearly a Halloween affectionato! Notice the mechanical black cat on the right hand side of the picture. This cat was HUGE and moving! The drive back to our house last night was inky and extremely foggy. We literally couldn't see more than 100 feet ahead of us. Seemed like the perfect setting for a murder mystery.


Today is our last full day on the Cape. We have had only two days of sunshine while we have been here! This morning was overcast and filled with fog, yet despite this, our beautiful morning greeting on the marsh did not disappoint!

We went exploring another nature trail today in Provincetown. On our way to the trail, this is what we were driving through. If you look off into the distance you will see that there were actual dunes, but frankly it was impossible to see anything. This FOG did not burn off until 2pm. Nonetheless, the rest of the day was stunning!

MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF THE DAY!!!!!!!! We visited the Beech Forest Trail today. As we got out of the car, I noticed many birds started to flock around us. When we began walking the trail, a lady came up to me and asked me if I wanted seed to feed the birds. She handed me seed and explained what I had to do to get the Chickadees to land on my hand and eat. You need to understand that under typical circumstances, there would have been NO way I would have a bird land on me or allow it to eat out of my hand. But in this beautiful setting, I figured why not! The lady went on to tell me that over the last 40 years, the Chickadees in this forest have become acclimated to humans, and therefore land on people and expect to be feed. She said generations of Cape Coders have done this! So in essence she was teaching me a tradition, and when she saw my reaction to the experience, she called her husband over to tell him that she taught us the tradition and was proud of herself for passing it on. Needless to say, if I ever return to Beech Forest Trail, I am BRINGING SEED! As you can see in this picture, I had a Chickadee right in my hand. It was a priceless and touching feeling, and the only thing I can equate this to is Snow White. I literally felt like Snow White on this trail with birds fluttering and flittering all around me. The funny part is Peter did not enjoy this experience at all, and yet I was absolutely thrilled! Later Peter told me he wasn't sure how the birds would react to us once the seed supply stopped, but fortunately my ignorance was bliss and never thought for a moment that they would begin pecking at us!


After feeding the Chickadees, we then met up with a group of cardinals. As you can see this female cardinal came by to see if I had any seed left!

This week we have walked through a White Cedar trail, a Red Maple trail, and today a Beech Forest Trail. In this photo you can see the beech trees all around us.

The trail had several hills and climbs. Peter snapped a picture of me climbing up a hill. You can get a feeling for the steepness.
As we climbed up one of the hills, we found these dunes at the very top! The beauty of this part of the Cape is its seclusion. Last year this isolation truly troubled me, but this year I knew what to expect. With that said, I am very attuned to the fact that I couldn't possibly live here year round. The fog, dampness, and isolation would be unbearable to me. Clearly I am not alone, since one store owner told me that fewer and fewer people live on the Cape year round now for exactly the same reasons I have mentioned.

Along our journey, we came across this oak tree which had fallen along the trail. I had Peter pose next to the tree because from my perspective it looked like he was holding up this mighty oak.
The trail opened up onto a lovely pond that was lined with pitch pine trees and there were ducks floating on the water as well.

I entitle this photo I took, "Beauty of the Fall!"

I entitle this photo, "Fall is all around us!"

After our time on the trail, we then had lunch in Provincetown, right on the water. While having lunch the SUN came out! People all around us at the restaurant were cheering! We then spent the rest of the day exploring Ryder Beach. Ryder Beach is right on Cape Cod Bay and this particular sight captured me today with the Rose Hips blooming right by the dunes. This evening I will be packing up our rental home, and tomorrow morning, we will be heading back to New York for a night before returning to DC. It is hard to leave this natural beauty, peacefulness, and tranquility behind. I have visited many beach side communities, but I have to say I have yet to find one like the Cape. Peter and I are returning to Ryder Beach tonight, so it is my hope to share some photos of our evening visit tomorrow night.

October 4, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008. Mattie came home from school on this particular day and decided he wanted to fly his kite. His preschool friend gave him this wonderful dragonfly kite for his 6th birthday and Mattie was determined to learn how to fly it. In the courtyard of our complex, after many tries, Mattie learned the art of kite flying.


Quote of the day: Emotions are naught to be tormented, for they can kill a person in more ways than one. ~ David Garrison


Today was another foggy and rainy day on the Cape. For almost a week now, this is how we have been greeted in the morning..... by our resident Great Blue Heron. Very, very different from our city life and daily existence. 

We drove to Woods Walk today, which is a trail in Truro. This is something Peter never did before. So it was a new adventure for both of us. As you can see we had FOG all around us. This trail was beyond fascinating because in and amongst the trail is the Former North Truro Air Force Station, which is rich in Cold War history.

Picture a completely isolated area right next to the ocean. This area reminded me of a ghost town (which you will see why later in the blog)! This sign says...........
This is the home of one of the Country's first radar squadrons - The North Truro Air Force Station (AFS). Squadron members played a crucial role in Cold War air defense from 1950 to 1985, keeping a constant watch for Soviet bombers and missiles. Most airmen lived and worked on the station. But they forged bonds with neighboring town by volunteering within the community, hosting bingo nights at the non-commissioned officers (NCO) club, and playing baseball with local teams on the Station's field. For many airmen the outer Cape became a home away from home.


We began our visit by taking a trail through the woods. Despite the mist and fog, the woods and seclusion were beautiful. Yet on this walk it became very evident that we were walking through a piece of history. It wasn't just your typical trail through the woods!

As we walked along the trail we were dumped out onto this..... I call it "The Lost City." You can see Peter walking down this street, with his hands flapping. He is basically saying..... "What is this?!" Well this is a 27 unit housing development that was once used by military personnel and their families. At one point there were 500 civilian and military personnel stationed here. As I was looking at this street, it was eerie, as if I could feel the vibrancy of what this town must have been like at one point in time. In a way, we walked through a ghost town today and learned more about the Cold War era.


The street Peter was walking on above was called Wilson Lane. Here is one of the abandoned houses on this Lane. It was a very weird feeling to be here, and if this house and land could talk, we would have learned even more today.









On the Station's property were sculptures. This one was entitled, "Aerometer." There was clearly life, a community, and a town in this secluded area at one time, and the sculptures seem to illustrate this vibrancy all too well.

This sculpture is entitled, "Fire Dragon."

Here is what this sign says..................
Remnants of the 50 year long Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union surround you at the Woods Walk at Highlands Center. In response to the Soviet detonation of an atomic bomb in 1949, the US military established hundreds of radar facilities across the Country. From 1950 to 1985, personnel at the former North Truro Air Force Station kept a constant radar watch for Soviet bombers and missiles. The site you see today is still used by the Federal Aviation Administration to monitor air traffic. An off shore radar facility, assembled 110 miles East of Cape Cod was also operated from this station during the height of the Cold War. Men aboard Texas Tower-2 (pictured above) lived with constant vibrations and loud noises from machinery. However, personnel did enjoy reading the Tower's newsletter and swapping ice cream for lobster brought by fishermen. These radar installations gave the East coast an additional 30 minutes to prepare for an atomic attack during this time of fear and uncertainty.

Quote: There exists in the present generation a definitive and grave threat to a peaceful people - that of a potential air attack by a nation that we know would not hesitate to use the most terrible weapons of physical and human destruction at its disposal. ~ John Sherwin, Major USAF Commander (1953)

The sign above was located in the place I am standing. As you can see I am surrounded by FOG, but notice all the buildings in the background. These are all a part of the abandoned station. For just a short moment in time, I too was part of this ghost town.

This afternoon, Peter's parents drove from Boston to the Cape to visit with us. I snapped a picture of them on our deck overlooking the marsh. We had a chance to have lunch together, catch up with one another, and we even enjoyed an apple pie Barbara made for us.

October 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008. Mattie loved being outside on our deck and he absolutely loved getting soaked. As you can see he grabbed a hold of the hose and wasn't watering anything in particular other than HIMSELF!




Quote of the day: Life is not an easy matter.... You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness. ~ Leon Trotsky



The rain and coolness returned today. Peter started out the morning by literally walking in the marsh right outside the house we are renting. Everything was covered in fog! I know if Mattie were alive, he would have been right along side Peter on this walk. I watched many, many episodes of Scooby Doo with Mattie, and in each episode there was always some sort of monster featured. So in honor of Mattie, I entitle tonight's picture, "The Marsh Monster!"


We spent the rainy day in Provincetown, which is at the very tip of Cape Cod. The Pilgrim Monument is located in Provincetown, and this monument is 252 feet tall (350 feet above sea level). It is the highest structure around for miles, so it acts just like a beacon.

Here are some facts about the monument:

1. The monument was built from 1907 to 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown on November 21, 1620.

2. The walk to the top of the monument entails 116 steps and 60 ramps. It takes about 10 minutes to walk up this structure.

3. The Pilgrim Monument is the tallest all-granite structure in the US. The granite came from Stonington, Maine, and each stone is the thickness of the wall. The design is patterned after the Torre Del Mangia in Siena, Italy.

4. During the climb there are many interior stones that were donated by cities, towns and organizations from all over the US.

5. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Monument on August 20, 1907.

6. President William Taft led the dedication ceremony after the Pilgrim Monument's completion on August 5, 1910.


This is Pilgrim Monument and we climbed up to the very top!























There are commemorative stones all over the interior walls of the monument. We snapped a picture of this particular stone because our friends Ann, Mary, and Helen are from Quincy. All the stones on the interior had names of Massachusetts cities on them.

I can only imagine the view we would have seen from the top of the Monument on a sunny day. Here is what it looked like through the rain and clouds.

The top of the monument is open to the weather. So it was windy and rainy, and as you can see Peter was literally climbing the walls.

A view from the top of the Monument.

As I was climbing down, Peter snapped a picture. It gives you some idea for how much climbing up we did!!! The dot of a person at the twelve o'clock position was me!











In addition to the Monument, the site also has a wonderful museum on its property. It is called the Provincetown Museum. The Museum had a WONDERFUL gift shop, wonderful displays about the Monument, the Pilgrims, and Provincetown. I took a picture of Peter by this whale jaw bone. Provincetown was an important whaling port from 1850-1900. Captain Edward Penniman brought this bone back from a whaling voyage. For many years this jaw formed an archway over the entrance to the Captain's home in Eastham.

One of the displays that caught my attention was this math book! Read the signage.... my mom was a high school math teacher (and so is Karen), and I figured they would appreciate this item!


The Pilgrims did not intend to land in Provincetown, MA. They were headed for Virginia, but after being at sea for 67 days and taken off course, they landed in the Cape. Before the 100 Pilgrims disembarked from the boat, they created the Mayflower Compact to guide and govern their colony. You can read the Compact here if you would like.

Peter and I had lunch in Provincetown, right along the water. After lunch we walked Commercial Street, which is the main street in the town. I was wandering around looking at the stores, and Peter apparently took a picture of me walking (I am at the 9 o'clock position). I can assure you that during the tourist season, this street is wall to wall people.

The final picture I would like to share with you tonight is of these glorious sunflowers. These flowers were growing outside of a house right in the center of town. Sunflowers are such happy flowers, their faces seem to smile as they reach toward the sunshine.