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

May 31, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Today's picture was taken in July of  2003. Actually on July 4th to be specific! We took Mattie to the Outer Banks, and though he spent little time by the Atlantic that summer, we did take him to the beach on the fourth. He was scared and intrigued by the ocean all at the same time. Mattie was always a very practical and wise fellow. Some parents have to warn children about staying away from the stove, chemical cleaning products, and other hazardous materials in one's home. Mattie really did not need much education on ANY of these matters. He had a healthy sense of what could harm him and what he needed to be cautious about. The ocean was top on his list. What you can't tell from this photo was that Mattie's left hand was like an antennae. The fingers would fan out and radiate, almost as if he was taking in data and processing it from his fingers to his head. Mattie was fascinating to watch and to learn from, and as you can see he looked wonderful in his favorite color, RED. 

Quote of the day: The saddest people I've ever met in life are the ones who don't care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there's nothing to make it last. ~ Nicholas Sparks


There is a different rhythm in Emerald Isle, so much so that I have no problem coming outside in my pajamas, hat, and with binoculars in tow. This morning Peter and I had a show of all kinds right on our deck. Peter spotted a red headed finch and as my friend Mary Ann believes, every time we see such a finch we are getting a visit from Mattie. Mattie's favorite color was red and though this may just be a coincidence that this bird appeared today, I do find that I think of Mattie whenever I see a red headed finch!

While Peter was sighting birds, I spotted a grouping of dolphin. So far the dolphin have NOT disappointed both in the morning and the evening. To me this is a very special sighting. This week has been absolutely glorious weather wise. We have had sun and 80 degree temperatures, not a cloud or even a drop of rain. This is my kind of weather unlike the grayness we have been experiencing in DC. For so many reasons, leaving the beach and coming back to DC on Sunday will be challenging. Emerald Isle is like a throw back to how I think the world must have been like when my grandmother was growing up. No one locks doors, cars, or possessions here. The whole notion is foreign to me. People seem to just trust each other. When the locals hear we are from DC, they start to laugh because they want to know how we plan on keeping our politicians in check! I said it is a full time job and they are lucky to live geographically apart from the dysfunction!

Yesterday Mattie's class graduated from 5th grade. Meaning that all the children Mattie went to kindergarten with have completed elementary school and will start middle school in the fall. Thanks to osteosarcoma, I missed first through fifth grade with Mattie. To me Mattie will always be a kindergartner and in elementary school. It is as if I am locked in time. As summer approaches, it further depresses me. Mattie was diagnosed in July of 2008, and it is a month I will never forget. In addition, my friends all have children. Now that their children are out of school, their lives change and I see them less. Only to compound the isolation and the differences between us. So why go back to DC? Other than Peter's work, I don't have an answer.

Today was a day all about experiencing the natural beauty of Emerald Isle. My first experience on a kayak was in the Outer Banks (years ago!). I absolutely hated the experience. The water was choppy, the wind was blowing us all over the place and I frankly did not get how to paddle. Since that time, I have kayaked in Washington, DC as well as in Bethany, DE. Despite having some practice, I still can't go out in a kayak by myself. So we rented a double kayak. Nonetheless, I am proud of myself, because I rowed for over an hour today and we saw some beautiful sights. While rowing, I tried to snap a picture of Peter and I on the Bogue Inlet. 


Check out this sight in the sand. As we moved through the water we passed lots of little islands along the way. One of the islands was filled with crabs. I entitle this, "Crabs on parade!" They were scurrying through the sand almost like a swarm of ants!





This house fascinated me! Talk about being in one with nature! There are NO roads to this house, the only access is by water, through one of the inlets in this tidal marsh. 









Considering I literally put the camera on top of my shoulder and snapped a photo, this isn't a bad shot of Peter!










The beauty of a tidal marsh! As we were rowing through the inlet, there were fish jumping out of the water and swimming all around us! The complexities of a tidal marsh is the depth of the water changes constantly. So there were times we were rowing and perhaps there was only two inches of water underneath us. At one point, Peter had to jump out of the boat and pull it from the sandy bottom back into the deeper water. Needless to say it was an adventure. 

Along our journey, we rowed to a small island. We parked the boat and jumped out onto the sand. This was a first for me! Remember I am a city girl for the most part! I told Peter I felt like I was part naturalist today!







You can see how small the island was that we landed on! The funny part was in the grassy section behind me someone placed an American flag on it, which made me laugh. As if someone explored and claimed it!!!








Traveling through the tidal marsh!















The beauty of the Bogue Inlet!!! 













After all that rowing and hard work, we came back to the condo and showered. I felt like I had the salt and sand all over me! Our next adventure today was to the Big Oak Drive-in which was founded in 1976. Originally it was a wooden shack with picnic tables under a big oak tree (which is how it got its name). Now of course it is made of brick and it attracts people from all over the world to its doorstep. The ironic part about all of this is Big Oak doesn't advertise at ALL! The only reason I knew about it is my friend and zumba teacher, Jenny, told me about it! This drive-in attracts all sorts of people, all demographics and everyone seems to know that you want to order a shrimp burger. I had honestly no idea what that was, but today I fell in love with it! This isn't some sort of chopped up shrimp mess, instead it is big shrimp that are lightly coated with cracker meal batter, flash fried (totally not greasy!!!) and served with home made cole slaw. It was a very tasty treat and of course served with a chocolate shake just made it a culinary delight for me!

This afternoon, I was sitting on our deck watching the children next store playing on the beach and watching the bird traffic go by. All of this was happening while I tried to write the blog. In the midst of this, Peter spotted this cute tabby walking around. She is our "local beach puss," and as Peter stated while seeing her.... "a midday puss is a confident puss."

I would like to end tonight's posting with more photos from the Foundation's Walk. These photos were taken during the actual Mattie Miracle Mile portion of the program. Leading us around the first lap were Matthew (Lauren's brother), Gavin (my friend Carolyn's son), Lauren (the founder of Bows for Hope and an osteosarcoma survivor), Emily (my friend Mary's daughter) and of course Brandon (Mattie's big buddy and a lymphoma survivor). 











To our surprise Tricia (Mattie's favorite HEM/ONC nurse) and her family came to our Walk this year. Tricia and her children haven't missed a walk yet. This is the fifth Walk they have attended. Why I was surprised to see Tricia this year? Because just three days before the Walk she underwent surgery! I was so happy she was able to be there with us and I am so happy that our photographer captured this photo with me Tricia, her daughter Nicole, and Brandon! 

As walkers went around the track to complete their Mattie Miracle mile they passed our display section entitled, "Faces of Hope." This was a project I created back in 2011, in which I was able to get 26 families to share a photo with me of their childhood cancer survivor. To me these photos are stunning and they are the true reason we gather each May to walk!


New to our Walk this year was the "Getting Oranged" theme. With each lap walked, volunteers handed something orange for our walkers to wear (such as an orange wrist band, an orange lei, orange beads, and an orange awareness sticker). By the time the mile was walked, everyone was oranged, which is the official Mattie Miracle color. Getting oranged was a symbolic way of showing support for the Foundation and the work that we do!

I entitle this photo, "A walk for all ages!" Some people walked and others got pushed in strollers or were carried. Either way, everyone was part of our festivities. 










Daniel, our photographer, captured me talking to my friends Maria and Annie. Maria is on my left and works in our complex. Maria is a big Foundation supporter and a daily blog reader. When I introduced Maria to Annie, she knew immediately who Annie was.... in fact Marie said, is this "the Annie?!" Meaning the wonderful 6th grader who raised money for Mattie Miracle at her school in Bethesda, MD this spring!

What I love about this last photo tonight is it captures our furry friends! The Walk isn't only for people, each year family pets also come on out and share in the day with us to promote childhood cancer awareness and raise funds for Mattie Miracle! 









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