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: 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 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. Mattie was my laundry buddy, but then again he really had no other choice. If we wanted clean clothes, he had to come with me to the laundry room. There was no way I was leaving him home alone, while I went down three floors. Doing laundry with Mattie was a task, but I had to make it fun. Whether that was taking a bicycle on an elevator down to the laundry room, or even riding in the cart with the dirty laundry! With Mattie, there was always adventure. Today as I did my laundry, I realized yet again, I was missing both my laundry buddy and Patches who would watch me like a tennis match going back and forth, up and down the stairs putting the laundry away.

Quote of the day: Time extracts various values from a painter's work. When these values are exhausted the pictures are forgotten, and the more a picture has to give, the greater it is. ~ Henri Matisse

For the past several weeks, I have worked with a kindergarten class at Mattie's school and have conducted a three part series on Matisse and Picasso. Tonight's quote caught my attention, especially since I have been immersed in these two great 20th century painters for a month now. Matisse's quote was actually brilliant if you absorb and analyze it! What he was saying is that when values and in essence meaning are no longer associated with an item or activity, then to some extent these items, activities, or even people are forgotten. I reflect on this quote even as I plan our Foundation Walk. Planning a childhood cancer awareness walk is a humbling experience and with each year, I learn more about the overall process and what may potentially attract attendees. Sometimes what may attract attendees does not always coincide with my core values and view of childhood cancer. I do not plan on elaborating on this now, but I could write a book on planning an event, and my desperate need to keep Mattie's memory alive. I do find when the event moves away from this purpose, I then question the motivation for the event. Naturally I must look at the greater good of hosting such an event, which is needed to keep the Foundation  alive and thriving, and therefore in a more subtle way this ultimately keeps Mattie's memory alive. But Matisse was SO right, without values, the "pictures" are indeed forgotten. As I had this mental realization today, I was with my friend Tina, who was savvy enough to know that it was time for CHOCOLATE! Amazing how a chocolate cupcake can at least temporarily stabilize me! 

Today was the end of my three part series of Matisse and Picasso. This was a very memorable class I interacted with this year. So much so that many children hugged me and I even received a hand crafted thank you note from the whole class and a picture that was designed by the girls in the class for me to take home. When I arrived today I got a huge greeting and one student even asked me at the end of the session when I was coming back again. Naturally something motivates me to do this each year. These sessions take a great deal of planning, set up, and implementation. It would make sense if I did these art sessions because Mattie was alive and attending this school, but he is not, so why do I do it? There is no simple answer to this complex question. Maybe on some level these children remind me of Mattie, after all remember Mattie only completed kindergarten, so in many ways my world has been stunted at kindergarten and perhaps I am looking for a way to reconnect with a child. Not a child Mattie's current age if he were alive today (11 years old), but at a child's age that I remember Mattie to be at!
Yesterday I entered Donna's classroom and set up this simple still life composition (that you see above) so the children could paint it today. This is my third year doing this, and I have learned over time, that simple is better. The first year, I had more elaborate fruits and flowers, and it was just too overwhelming and confusing.
Through today's PowerPoint, the children learned about the friendship and intense rivalry between Matisse and Picasso. The children did not know what the word rival meant at first, but they caught on quickly. The beauty of this powerful relationship between artists was that it inspired both of them to perfect their own technique and then over time, they were so intrigued with each other's style, that Matisse (the master of color) began to incorporate drawing and shapes into his works and Picasso (the master of shapes) integrated pattern and vibrant colors into his works. What they gained from each other was sheer brilliance, a brilliance that would never have occurred without the competition and jealousy between them. I should also note however that despite this rivalry, both artists would admit that no one understood them better both artistically and emotionally than each other. A powerful friendship indeed! Both were very different men, different temperaments and styles, and yet at the core there was an intense bond.
The children got to see numerous examples today of still lives painted by Matisse and Picasso. We first discussed what a still life was and how such inanimate objects could represent nature (trees, plants, flowers, rocks, fruit, etc), or they could be man made (jewelry, vase, tablecloth, etc). The children had the scene with my sunflowers and fruit in front of them and they were told to paint what they saw using a style like Picasso, Matisse, or the integration of styles (which would mean using shapes and colors). What transpired was amazing!!! Keep in mind these children are 5 and 6 years old. This particular painting has a Matisse quality to it, with vibrant colors, but colors that take a liberal license. Not necessarily colors true to form. Just like Matisse, he felt that things in nature should not be limited to their actual colors! So sunflowers could be red and purple!
I created a ballot and each child got to vote independently in a make sift "polling booth" inside the classroom. On the ballot they had to check a box as to which artist they preferred, Matisse or Picasso. It was almost a tie, but Matisse won the vote today. This second painting clearly shows another example of Matisse's style with bananas that are green!
This student decided to integrate a window within her painting. The classroom does have a window in it, but I am also aware of the fact that many of Matisse's paintings that I showed them feature a window within them. Somehow this student captured the vibrant yellows and blues of the actual still life before them in the classroom.
This fourth painting was created by one of the boy's in the classroom. This particular fellow caught my attention, because I noticed early on that he has an artistic side to him. In my perspective he did a beautiful job of blending the styles of Picasso and Matisse together.
This young lady desperately wanted black paint. I did not set out black paint today, but she had a plan and really wanted to execute it. So I gave her black paint! As you can see the black paint she used gave depth to her sunflowers and her bananas. I would never have thought to fill the canvas background with pink, but to me, it is eye catching and so vibrant!
Honestly, when I look at these paintings, these students inspire me to want to paint. I consider myself artistic, but I can't paint at ALL! I have tried to get these students to self express for three weeks now through their art, and my mantra is "there is no right or wrong way to do art." I wish perhaps someone drilled that into my head when I was their age, because then I may not be so hesitant to paint now. Needless to say, I ended the class today with my usual question.... "how many of you consider yourself to be an artist?!" EVERYONE raised their hands this week!! Excellent response.
The fellow who did the fourth painting above came up to me and wanted me to know that in his free time he transformed the cover of his little notebook. He wanted to show it to me to see my reaction. Check out this notebook! I was so impressed with this miniature creation that I asked him if I could photograph it!!! When you see students integrate what they are learning into their everyday lives, then a teacher knows she was successful!
I ended my third session, like all my other sessions, with a snack. But today's snack was special. I provided them with a buffet of fruits. My thinking is they painted a still life, so then they should be able to eat one. The week before I had Donna assess their top three fruit choices. This year's class voted on strawberries, pineapple, and mangoes. When I tell you their faces lit up over this buffet, I am NOT kidding. They loved the fruits and particularly loved the fact that I brought in fudge, marshmallow sauce, and caramel for them to dip the fruits into. In a way it was like a special party for them with plates, forks, napkins, and a tablecloth. Needless to say, I think it was a memorable day for many of them and in turn their smiles, laughter, and creations will always be remembered and appreciated by me.

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