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

May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. It is ironic that I posted this photo to the blog before I left DC, because today Peter and I visited another beautiful North Carolina lighthouse. Mattie would have loved our adventure today! In 2003, Mattie was 15 months old and as you can see he rode on Peter's back up to the top of Currituck Lighthouse in Corolla, NC. Rules have changed greatly since 2003, because now each person going up a lighthouse's stairs must go using his/her own two feet. No one is allowed to be carried! But back then, such rules did not apply. What I love about this photo was Mattie's curiosity with the climb! It is hard enough climbing up the stairs of a lighthouse, but Peter did it with Mattie on his back and in intense humidity. Looking back, I am so glad Mattie had this experience!

Quote of the day: Life, he realize, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it's in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile. ~ Nicholas Sparks

Each morning Peter and I begin our day outside on the condo's deck eating breakfast and looking at the Atlantic Ocean. What I have noticed is while we are sitting outside, we are not alone. Mattie Moon has been with us each morning! Shining down on us and hanging out over the ocean. 

Peter and I went on an adventure today. We drove from Emerald Isle (which is on the left hand side of this map) to Beaufort (which is a city about 20 miles away from Emerald Isle --- you can see it above the blue bird twitter sign on the map). From Beaufort we boarded a small motor boat (which they called a ferry) and cruised for an hour to the Cape Lookout National Seashore (which is all the way on the right hand side of this map). This Seashore is pristine, completely undeveloped, and has no inhabitants on it expect for a lighthouse and volunteers from the park's department. As my faithful readers know, I LOVE lighthouses and I am intrigued by their history and the people who kept them operational. I have visited many lighthouses, but Cape Lookout is the only lighthouse I have seen which has kept its surroundings true to form, in essence how the terrain was when there were lighthouse keepers maintaining the property. There is NO civilization anywhere near Cape Lookout!!!! Cape Lookout is beyond REMOTE and the sheer isolation one must have felt while performing this job is indescribable. Mind you, I saw this lighthouse on a lovely sunny day. I can only imagine how brutal this island was in bad weather. 

Our day started dockside in the city of Beaufort. We visited this town yesterday, and today's visit was just as charming and memorable. I could get used to no traffic, people being friendly and talking to you, and no one rushing around and telling me how BUSY they are! A total 180 from life in Washington, DC. 

This is what Beaufort looks like from the water!

I have been on ferries before, but today's trip was a misnomer. We were on a motor boat which seated 16 people in bench seats. Fortunately I take no chances on boat rides and took Dramamine hours before the trip! I am so glad I did because the choppiness of the ride would have made me very sick. Our captain and tour guide's name was John and John's dog, Storm  was our boat's masthead. Storm was an excellent assistant, because she pointed out things in the water for us to see from birds, turtles, and even wild horses. What a dog!!! Her balance through waves and choppiness was impressive too!

On our journey to Cape Lookout, we passed Shackleford Island. This Island is known as the land of the wild ponies! What I love about this photo was how close the people on the beach were to this wild pony. The pony is reddish brown and in the center of the beach. 

Trusty Storm (the dog) identified a sea turtle for us to see in the water. This wasn't an easy sighting to find, which makes you appreciate Storm's skills and talents!

Shackleford Banks, the southern-most barrier island in Cape Lookout National Seashore, is home to more than 110 wild horses. This is one of the few places in the eastern United States where wild horses can still be seen. Shackleford Banks is approximately nine miles long and averages less than a mile wide. It contains many habitats, unique to barrier islands, which support the horses.

While the boat was speeding along, someone asked the Captain what was floating in the water. With that Captain John stopped the boat, literally jumped out into the water, and brought aboard this jellyfish. He let us know that little fish like to hang out inside the jellyfish. In John's left hand you can see the fish that jumped out of the jellyfish. We each got to touch this slimy and slippery jellyfish and we also learned that sea turtles love to eat such jellyfish. 

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is a 163-foot high lighthouse located on the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. It flashes every 15 seconds and is visible at least 12 miles out to sea and up to 19 miles. The Cape Lookout Light is one of the very few lighthouses that operate during the day. It became fully automated in 1950. The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the only such structure in the United States to bear the checkered daymark pattern, intended not only for differentiation between similar light towers, but also to show direction. The center of the black diamonds points in a north-south direction, while the center of the white diamonds points east-west.

Cape Lookout is the second lighthouse that has stood at this location, and is nearly identical to the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which has horizontal stripes, and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, which is unpainted red brick (lighthouses we have seen before maybe a decade ago!). The more famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse bears spiral stripes. The first lighthouse at Cape Lookout was completed and lighted in 1812 at a cost of more than $20,000, which Congress authorized in 1804. It was the fourth lighthouse to be built in North Carolina and was a 96 foot high brick tower with wooden shingles painted with red and white horizontal stripes. But it proved to be too short to light the treacherous Lookout Shoals, which were nicknamed the "Horrible Headland." The present lighthouse was completed and lit on November 1, 1859 at a cost of $45,000, which Congress approved in 1857. This lighthouse used a first-order Fresnel lens which allowed the light to shine brighter. 

Peter snapped a photo of me with Cape Lookout! 

This display shows seven lighthouses in the state of North Carolina. From left to right are Currituck Light, Bodie Island Light, Cape Hatteras Light, Ocracoke Light, Cape Lookout, Oak Island Light, and Bald Head Light. As of today, I have seen five out of the seven!!!

This is me on top of Cape Lookout! Peter and I climbed 207 steps up!

This 207 step climb is rather challenging because it is tight and hot! They say it is  equivalent to climbing a 12 story building!

A picture of me in front of Cape Lookout!

Like the western mustangs, eastern horses were reintroduced to North America by European explorers and settlers. Records show horses living on the Outer Banks for centuries. Genetic research shows evidence of Spanish ancestry in the Shackleford herd. Shackleford adults average 12 hands in height, with a range of 11 to 13 hands (4” per hand) at the withers (between neck and back). The Banker horses, also called ponies, found up and down the east coast are somewhat related to each other in that they share a similar genetic base and a history of adaptation to life on the Outer Banks.The allure of these horses is their wild lifestyle. Every effort is made to keep them wild. They are neither fed nor watered. Natural food sources are present, including Spartina marsh and island grass and Uniola (sea oats). Fresh or brackish water is available in various ponds, pools and digs along the length of the island. In places, the horses dig holes and wait for water to seep up. Protection in storms is afforded by the stretch of rare maritime forest (live oaks) and thick shrubs on the north (sound) side of the island.

As we headed back to Beaufort after our tour, we passed "Bird Island." This is the island's unofficial name. But literally its inhabitants are only pelicans! Pelicans that even winter there!!! Our tour today was three hours long, and this evening Peter and I are wiped out from the sun and the whipping wind on the boat. But we are very happy we saw this special sight.

I would like to end tonight's posting with photos of our kid and teen vendors from our Foundation Walk. This special young lady in black is Lauren Chelenza. Lauren is pictured here with her friend, Katie. Lauren was diagnosed with osteosarcoma about a week after Mattie was in 2008. I had the good fortune of becoming connected with Lauren's mom, Carey through Mattie's blog. Carey and I shared horror stories throughout Mattie's and Lauren's battles. Once Mattie died, Lauren created her own non-profit, Bows for Hope ( Lauren designs hair bows out of duct tape and all her sale proceeds go directly to Mattie Miracle. She is an impressive and inspirational young lady, who traveled with her family and friend all the way from Pennsylvania to attend our Walk and to sell her bows!

The girl in the white t-shirt here is Annie. Annie's mom is my friend Evelyn and Annie's dad is Coach Dave. Annie is the young lady who advocated for her school in Bethesda, MD to raise money for Mattie Miracle through penny wars this spring. Annie also creates all sorts of crafts which she sells to raise money for the Foundation! Annie is famous for her duct tape purses and this is the second year in a row she has featured these creations. 

This is a photo of Ellie! Ellie and Mattie went to preschool together and Ellie's mom is my friend and Foundation raffle chair, Carolyn. This is the second year in a row that Ellie has been a vendor at our Walk. She designs amazing headbands, with a design that is sure to appeal to anyone! In fact, Ellie designed me an orange butterfly headband in 2012, and I officially wear it at each Foundation Walk. It is our tradition.

New to our vendor tent this year was "Crafts for a Cause." These lovely duct tape belts were designed by Livi. Livi is Campbell's sister. Campbell was a very close kindergarten buddy of Mattie's, and his mom is my friend Christine. I think it is important for my readers to know that these kids and teens raise more money for our Foundation than any outside vendor we had at our Walks in the past. Together they bring in about $500 in sales!!! Mattie Miracle is very proud of these kids and teens and the money they raise to support children with cancer!

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