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

June 1, 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

This picture was taken in July of 2003. We took Mattie to see the Wright Memorial (where the first controlled manned flight took place in the US) in Kitty Hawk, NC. While at the memorial we toured inside the museum. I snapped a photo of Mattie and Peter posing by a US Space suit. The exhibition in 2003 was quite special because it was commemorating the site's 100 years of flight!

Quote of the day: If you care about something you have to protect it – If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it. ~ John Irving

Each evening, Peter and I stroll out of our condo and walk the Beach! This is what we see while walking. Emerald Isle has a very wide beach area with hard packed sand. The sand has shells on it, but many of them have been pulverized from the waves. Which is why finding any to collect is a feat!

I photographed three of my favorite shore birds from the week. This regal cutie is a Willet. The willet is a large shorebird in the sandpiper family. 

Another favorite of mine is the Piping Plover. This fellow is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck.

My all time favorite shore bird is the Sanderling! The sanderling is considered a plump sandpiper. What makes the sanderling so remarkable is its behavior. They literally run on top of the sand, and they run very fast! As the waves come to shore, they run from them, so they don't get their feet wet. As the water recedes back into the ocean, the birds run back out to peck into the sand for mole crabs and other invertebrates. They are a riot to watch and they can do this ALL day long. Lots of running back and forth and they are very territorial about their position in the sand. They have no problem chasing other sanderlings away from their fishing spot. 

We have been collecting shells over the course of our week here! Here is a photo of our collection!

We started off our day by visiting the Teddy Roosevelt Nature Trail. This was the first and LAST time I was smiling on this trail! Fortunately we didn't get very far inside this forest, because within minutes I was screaming and both Peter and I were running out of it! We noticed flies coming at us and we tried swatting them away. However, Peter wasn't so fortunate. When I looked at him he was covered with at least thirty flies. I literally started hitting them off him. I yelled at Peter to run, and together we flew out of this preserve. I have never been so scared because I couldn't process what was attacking us. They just looked big and triangular to me! In the parking lot, I got every fly off of Peter and we ran into the car for protection! Fortunately neither one of us was bitten. When I got back to our condo, I did some research and learned we met up with a swarm of deer flies. Deer flies or yellow flies have colored eyes and dark bands across their wings. They are truly triangular shaped and have very translucent wings. Their bite can be extremely painful, and allergic reaction from the saliva of the fly can result in further discomfort and health concerns. Pain and itch are the most common symptoms, but more significant allergic reactions can develop. Deer flies are also known to carry anthrax. Male deer flies do not bite humans, only the females do. I have no idea what we encountered today (male or female), but I wasn't about to hang around and find out!

After the fly fiasco, we journeyed to Atlantic Beach, which is on the Eastern most tip of Emerald Isle. At the tip is Fort Macon. Fort Macon is five-sided and is constructed of brick and stone. Twenty-six vaulted rooms (also called casements) are enclosed by outer walls that are 4.5 feet thick. Named after U.S. Senator from the State of North Carolina, Nathaniel Macon, who procured the funds to build the facility, Fort Macon was designed by Brig. Gen. Simon Bernard and built by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Construction began in 1826 and lasted eight years. The fort was completed in December, 1834, and it was improved with further modification during 1841–46. The total cost of the fort was $463,790. In the 1840s, a system of erosion control was initially engineered by Robert E. Lee, who later became general of the Confederate Army. At the beginning of the Civil War, North Carolina seized the fort from Union forces. The fort was later attacked in 1862, and it fell back into Union hands. For the duration of the war, the fort was a coaling station for navy ships. Often an ordnance sergeant acting as a caretaker was the only person stationed at the fort.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, and only two days elapsed before local North Carolina militia forces from Beaufort arrived to seize the fort for the state of North Carolina and the Confederacy. North Carolina Confederate forces occupied the fort for a year, preparing it for battle and arming it with 54 heavy cannons.
Early in 1862, Union forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside swept through eastern North Carolina, and part of Burnside's command under Brig. Gen. John G. Parke was sent to capture Fort Macon. Parke's men captured Morehead City and Beaufort without resistance, then landed on Bogue Banks during March and April to fight to gain Fort Macon. Col. Moses J. White and 400 North Carolina Confederates in the fort refused to surrender even though the fort was hopelessly surrounded. On April 25, 1862, Parke's Union forces bombarded the fort with heavy siege guns for 11 hours, aided by the fire of four Union gunboats in the ocean offshore and floating batteries in the sound to the east. While the fort easily repulsed the Union gunboat attack, the Union land batteries, utilizing new rifled cannons, hit the fort 560 times. There was such extensive damage that Col. White was forced to surrender the following morning, April 26, with the fort's Confederate garrison being paroled as prisoners of war. This battle was the second time in history new rifled cannons were used against a fort, demonstrating the obsolescence of such fortifications as a way of defense. The Union held Fort Macon for the remainder of the war, while Beaufort Harbor served as an important coaling and repair station for its navy.
A photo of a Casemate! During the Reconstruction Era, the US Army actively occupied Fort Macon until 1877. During this time, since there were no state or federal penitentiaries in the military district of North Carolina and South Carolina, Fort Macon was used for about 11 years as a civil and military prison. 

In 1923, Fort Macon was offered for sale as surplus military property. However, at the bidding of North Carolina leaders, a Congressional Act on June 4, 1924, sold the fort and surrounding reservation for the sum of $1 to the state of North Carolina to be used as a public park. This was the second area acquired by the state for the purpose of establishing a state parks system.

During 1934−35, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort and established public recreational facilities, which enabled Fort Macon State Park to officially open May 1, 1936, as North Carolina's first functioning state park. At the outbreak of World War II, the US Army leased the park from the state and actively manned the old fort with Coast Artillery troops to protect a number of important nearby facilities. The fort was occupied from December 1941 to November 1944. 

Fort Macon State Park (where the actual Fort is located) is a North Carolina state park in Carteret CountyNorth Carolina. It is located on Bogue Banks near Atlantic Beach (the Eastern tip of Emerald Isle), the park opened in 1936. Fort Macon State Park is the second most visited state park in North Carolina, with an annual visitation of 1.3 million, despite being the third smallest park in North Carolina with 389 acres. This photo is the view from the top of the Fort. 

This display caught my attention! Seemed like a horrible existence for a woman!!!! Army Laundresses were employed by the Army to wash the soldiers clothes. These were usually wives of enlisted men or civilian women living near the post. At Fort Macon, a laundress received $1 per month per soldier. They were also furnished with lodging which consisted of rickety wooden cottages outside the Fort. Few people worked harder than Army Laundresses. She carried the water buckets for washing and rinsing and she lifted heavy baskets of clothing. She also stirred, scrubbed, and wrung the wet clothes one piece at a time and managed the fire for heating the water. After hanging the clothes out to dry, she then ironed and folded them! Women were NOT assigned the job of cooks and nurses back then, those were only jobs held by men. 

This evening we will be packing up the condo so that we can vacate it by 10am tomorrow. This has been part of our living space for the past week. It provided us with incredibly beautiful and peaceful sights which will be sorely missed on Sunday night. We will be saying goodbye to the ocean, birds, and no congestion, and instead we will need to reintegrate into our concrete, congested, and impersonal city life.

I would like to end tonight's posting with three photos from our Foundation's Walk. These photos are all about our furry friends and supporters. Check out this fellow watching the kid trots! 

Don't you just love this Chihuahua?! He walked his Mattie Miracle lap and got ORANGED with our beads!!!

This year one of our raffle baskets catered to our furry friends. Here is the family who won this very special raffle item. As you can see the lucky dog was more interested in what was in the basket than posing for a photo!

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