Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 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

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

April 23, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 -- Mattie died 189 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on April 4, 2008. Mattie's sixth birthday. Mattie's birthday may have been on the fourth, but truly the whole month of April was a Mattie celebration. I grew up having Carvel ice cream cake for my birthday, and I continued the tradition with Mattie. Mattie enjoyed a slice of ice cream cake each night for over a week! When I look closely at this photo, I notice in the background under my piece of furniture a Mattie creation! Mattie was very creative with found objects such as paper towel rolls, yogurt containers, boxes, and you name it. Under the piece of furniture sat a Mattie masterpiece. Our house used to be filled with them all over the place. Mattie had a way of filling up a room, a presence which will always be missed and a void which will always remain.

Quote of the day: The tragedy of it is that nobody sees the look of desperation on my face. Thousands and thousands of us, and we're passing one another without a look of recognition. ~ Henry Miller

About two weeks ago I received an email inquiry through the Foundation website. It was from a woman named Ansley who is a social worker at a local preschool in Alexandria, VA. Ansley said she wanted to contact me because she found Mattie Miracle's website on the Internet and was intrigued by our mission. Specifically because our mission focuses upon helping meet the psychosocial needs of children and families! She went on to say that her preschool moms held a raffle, raised money, and together they decided to donate all their proceeds to Mattie Miracle. It isn't every day that someone, who I don't know, contacts me and wants to give me money! So I already knew Ansley and these moms had to be special people. Just through the website, Mattie's story captured them. But I did not realize the full extent until I was invited to meet with them today!

This morning I drove to the Child and Family Network Center (CFNC) in Alexandria. I learned a great deal about the School as well as the importance of early interventions for at-risk youth. CFNC's tag line is, "It's simple: Children thrive when families succeed." CFNC is the only non-profit organization in Alexandria that provides quality bilingual preschool and family support services free of charge to the working poor. The program is designed to equip children with skills they need and deserve to succeed, providing opportunities for them and their families that many of us take for granted. The profile of a CFNC family is:

1) 85% speak little or no English
2) Half make less than $23,050 per year
3) All make less than $41,348 per year
4) Parent's average education level is 8th grade

The impacts of quality preschool are proven to dramatically transform children's futures, particularly those living in poverty. As a result of setting young children on the right path by preparing them to learn in kindergarten, quality preschool has positive ripple effects throughout their lives.

Without high-quality early education, at-risk children are:

1) 25% more likely to drop out of school
2) 40% more likely to become a teen parent
3) 50% more likely to be placed in special education
4) 60% more likely to never attend college
5) 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime

When I arrived at CFNC, I immediately met Ansley. It turns out that Ansley is also a George Washington University graduate. We both received a master's degree from GW in counseling. A rather small world, though our time on campus did not intersect. None the less, I am very proud of what she is doing and accomplishing as a counselor within the community. She is making a difference in the lives of each of the families she counsels.

Ansley invited me into her support group gathering to meet eight moms who worked very hard by creating jewelry and other hand made crafts to sell at the school's raffle. A raffle which generated $600 for Mattie Miracle!!!

I brought pictures of Mattie with me today as well as Foundation gifts for these ladies. I wanted to show them our thanks and appreciation. These eight moms listened to me intently and several had little ones with them, who were very well behaved and listening. But what you should know is I don't speak Spanish and these moms didn't speak English. So Ansley translated everything I said.

When I selected tonight's quote, it was purposeful. Miller's quote resonated with what I saw and felt in the eyes of my observers today. These are women who understand pain, the pain of living at the poverty level, the fear of not being able to provide for their children, of not having an education, an income, and several of them have children living in another country and are separated from them for years on end. Though they couldn't verbalize these pains to me, I could feel them and sense them! Which maybe why they empathized with my own pain. Pain transcends culture! It is universal and is one of the things that makes us human, the signs are the same whether you are from America or another country! Words are not needed sometimes. These moms and I are quite different from an educational and socioeconomic standpoint, and yet we are exactly the same. That was very humbling to see. 

These women struggle in their daily lives and yet they worked hard to have a successful raffle. Instead of keeping the money for themselves or their school, they donated it to me. I am not sure about you, but this spoke VOLUMES to me!!! They moved me and I don't get moved too often anymore. Their level of selflessness was awe inspiring, they have their own issues and problems, and yet they felt compelled to help children and families within their community. I told them today about Mattie, about his cancer battle, and specifically the things our Foundation is doing to directly help children with cancer.


After my presentation I had the good fortune of taking some photos with these wonderful CFNC moms! I also love the little girl right by our banner!!!






Ansley and I are like bookends in this photo! Ansley also gave me a tour of the facility and I had the opportunity to meet the CEO and executive director of the School. This evening Ansley wrote to me about the powerful effect I had on her School moms this morning and I must say the feeling was mutual. Mattie Miracle is very grateful to receive such support from CFNC and we look forward to these families coming to our Foundation Walk!
 

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