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

April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2009. Mattie was going through a pasta stage when this photo was taken, which meant that Mattie wanted all sorts of different pastas to try. Bringing Mattie just one pasta choice was never a good idea because chances were he wouldn't like it. If we got him a variety, the probability he would nibble on one of them was much higher. I will never forget one night, like at 11pm or midnight, Mattie desperately wanted pasta. I had Peter driving around town looking for this and he understood clearly he couldn't come back into the hospital room without something! It is a sad commentary that a hospital kitchen isn't open around the clock to handle the needs of patients. But in all reality, even when the kitchen was open, Mattie wouldn't eat a solitary thing brought up on his tray! What I love about this photo was the line up of Lightning McQueen cars Mattie had on the lid of his food container. Cars and things with wheels were never far from Mattie's little hands. For the longest time, I must have carried Hot Wheels cars in my purse, which could entertain and engage Mattie at a moment's notice.

Quote of the day: The love we give away is the only love we keep. ~ Elbert Hubbard

I spent three and a half hours today at Mattie's school. Today was the first art session, in my series of three, that I hold within one of the kindergarten classrooms. Back in 2011, Donna (one of the kindergarten teachers), invited me into her classroom after school for tea. Though Donna wasn't Mattie's teacher, she knew of him, since Mattie's classroom and hers did many activities together.

So in 2011, when I had tea with Donna she wanted to brainstorm a way to get me into her classroom and interacting with kids. I suspect Donna knew I liked these activities after talking with Leslie (Mattie's teacher). When Mattie was in Leslie's classroom, I came up with all sorts of fun and hands on activities to do with the kids. But I suppose it is the educator in me, I don't only convey information, I want there to be a hands on component, and then I always end each session with a homemade snack that reflects the content we are talking about.

When we met for tea in 2011, Donna mentioned to me that she read her class the kid's book, When Pigasso met Mootisse. It was the mention of this book that inspired my three session art series, and in fact this is my third year teaching this series. In 2011, since it was my first time presenting on both Picasso and Matisse, I had a steep learning curve. I took out about 20 books from the library and on my own developed a curriculum that I thought would be appropriate for 5 and 6 year olds. Keep in mind this is not the developmental age group I am trained to teach. But as I developed this curriculum, I had Mattie in mind. I reflected on his attention span and what captured his attention. So far, from year to year, my experience with Mattie hasn't steered me wrong.

I know some may think that going back to Mattie's school and interacting with Mattie's age group (after all, I only experienced kindergarten with Mattie, he never returned to school once diagnosed with cancer) would be difficult for me. But in many ways, Donna is giving me a gift. She is giving me the opportunity to spend time in a space once touched by Mattie. In addition, when interacting with her students, I can't help but think of Mattie and wonder what he would have thought of this art series.

When I arrived at Mattie's school today, I snapped a few pictures by Mattie's tree. Peter planted bulbs around the tree about two months ago. The bulbs are in full glory this week and I wanted to share this sight with Peter. What I found very touching is someone at the school surrounded our flowers with cedar chips. The chips provide almost a demarcation for the children, so they know not to step on the flowers.

While outside with Mattie's tree, I was visited by this beautiful cardinal. He was singing and looking right at me. The cardinal was Mattie's favorite bird and a part of me took this as a sign from nature that Mattie was with me as I was walking into his school building this morning.
Though the students I am teaching are only 5 or 6 years old, I still present to them using PowerPoint presentations. In each session, I share photos of the artists themselves, discuss each of the artist's life, their passion for art, and also provide many visual examples of paintings by each artist. We dialogue about the paintings, I try to capture the feelings that the art evokes in the students and of course also get them to understand a little something about the techniques these artists employed which brought about their fame. Today's hands on assignment required the class to work in four groups. That may sound easy, but team work and cooperation are challenging skills at age 5. Yet each year, with guidance, direction, and support, the teams do a great job with each other. This is one of the paintings created today. I basically give the students a canvas that has an outline of something traced upon it. The students have to work as teams to fill in the shapes. After they create their creation, I have them compare theirs to the actual Picasso painting. The painting which I base my traced outline on.
This particular group fell in love with painting. Though it may not look like the other three paintings, it was done with team work, and frankly the students got to appreciate texture, the mixture of colors, and talking through the process of creating.
I think Picasso would have been pleased with the examples generated in today's classroom. The students learned that Picasso was a cubist and as such appreciated and integrated geometric shapes into his art. From my perspective, the students were trying to mimic what they learned.
This painting probably looks more true to form in comparison to Picasso's own creation. Nonetheless, each and every canvas was unique, a work of art, and was a fine example of team work. I think at age five, you can't ask for more!!!

While I was in the classroom today, Mattie's head of the lower school came in with a prospective parent. I did not hear this conversation, but Donna told me that the prospective parent thought I was an outside art educator coming into the school. Very cute, if he only knew the real story as to who I am and why I am there!

At the end of my time in the classroom, Donna always has the kids shake my hand and thank me. There is one little girl in the class that has already taken a liking to me and while we were sitting at circle time, she was rubbing her face against my leg. It was very cute and it reminded me exactly of Mattie.


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