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

December 27, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken on Christmas of 2008. That was a hard day for all of us. We were home from the hospital and were alone. Which was a night and day difference from living in the hospital. In the hospital there was constant noise and people around us 24/7. When we were home we had more privacy but then again we also had NO physical or emotional support. Mattie was in a very depressed and anxious state that day. One of Mattie's friends sent us these Christmas hats and noses and Peter decided to put some on which inspired Mattie. They posed for a photo on Mattie's hospital bed, which was in our living room. However, what you see here was probably our most happy moment that day.

Quote of the day: Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~ Marcel Proust


This morning I felt like I was Mrs. Danvers in Daphne Du Maurier's book, Rebecca (also a Hitchcock movie). For those of you unfamiliar with Mrs. Danvers, she was the ultimate snoop. She knew exactly what was going on inside and outside of a home. I wasn't purposefully snooping this morning, rather I was a sun seeker. I went outside of my parent's house and stood on the front lawn in the sun for the few minutes. To me being in the sun for short periods of time just makes me feel good. While standing around looking at the vegetation and mountains, an old car drove by, down the street, turned around and parked across the street at a neighbor's house. The person in the car was an older gentleman, who opened up the driver side door and began to stare at me. We had a staring contest for five minutes. I wasn't moving and he wasn't getting out of his car! When he did emerge from his car, we was dressed oddly for a warm day. He was wearing a wool hat, covering plenty of his hair! He opened his trunk and took out a large burlap sack. If he was portly and had a red suit on, I swear he could have been Santa Claus! But this Santa looked dazed and confused and I did not understand why he was carrying a big sack. Any case, he proceeded up the neighbor's front walk way. He mulled around a bit, dropped the sack and then crossed over the driveway and was looking over a gate into the backyard. He popped the latch on the backyard gate and walked in. I found his behavior beyond odd especially since he kept walking back and forth. Not getting into the house but walking in circles. 

I told my parents about this character and we wrote down his license plate number, tried calling the neighbor's cell phone, and then proceeded to call the security company for the neighborhood. Literally within seconds a patrol car was in front of the house and I came out to talk with the officer. I told him what I observed and that he could find "skinny Santa" (if you know me well, I have a nick name for practically everyone in my life) in the backyard. The officer did find the burlap sack by the front door and told me clothing was inside! It all checked out in the end, because he was our neighbor's father, but he was disoriented and did not know how to get into the house. He did not know where the key was and I guess he was watching the house while his son was away. Any case, the officer thanked me for taking this seriously, calling him, and agreed with me that the man seemed questionable and appeared disoriented. Now I could have just let this all go, but what if something was wrong in the end? I would have felt terrible for keeping it quiet!

This afternoon we all went out to lunch. My dad had some medical tests today, so we discussed them, and we got a better understanding for some of the issues he has been dealing with. Dialoguing is important and I think it is vital for family members to all be on the same page about medical issues so that we can ultimately advocate for what is in the best interest of the patient. 

Peter and I are both dealing with our own lows. It is rather ironic that we are on separate coasts now but we are both feeling the lows. We hadn't discussed them until today, but as soon as we did we both got it right away. Both of us went on Facebook recently. I must confess, I rarely visit Facebook. I only do on occasion to post about the Foundation or to check on my friend in cancer. Otherwise, I have learned for survival purposes, I try to limit my exposure. But today I went on to look at a few friends' pages. After five minutes I had to STOP!!! I was getting super depressed, then angry, which then moved to intense bitterness. I just can't process these cutesy photos of friends, family, happy moments, and other holiday gatherings. It turns out that Peter had a similar experience yesterday which sent him into a funk. So we both agreed, no Facebook during the holidays. I think it is rather a sad commentary. Facebook is designed to keep people connected and to share things between friends and family. Whereas to me Facebook is a social media tool that highlights exactly what we are missing and flaunts it in our faces minute by minute, hourly, and daily. 

December 26, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2008. That day Mattie was in the clinic and as you can see he wasn't feeling well. He was depleted of energy and running a high fever. There was a pillow on Mattie's lap because that was where he was laying his head. When Santa and Mrs. Claus came in to visit Mattie, he literally picked his head up from the pillow long enough to say hi, take a photo, and check out the toys he was given. With the help of Santa's elves (Linda - Mattie's Child Life Specialist and Jenny - Mattie's Art Therapist), Mattie received many of the toys he loved playing with. As soon as Santa left the room, Mattie's head collapsed right back onto the pillow.

Quote of the day: Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


Today is the day after Christmas and I suppose because it is a weekday and a working day for most people, things seemed to return to business as usual. However, I am very aware of the fact that those who are grieving the day or days after Christmas are anything but usual. In fact these days are far more difficult than Christmas itself. I have a feeling the main reason for this has to do with the psychological preparation and bracing we go through in order to survive the holiday. However, once Christmas is over we lift up these barriers (because to sustain them long term is impossible) and our reality becomes even more unimaginable. I think most people who try to support a family member or friend in grief are unaware of the impact of post-holiday blues. We all can get post-holiday blues, but it seems far more extreme for those who lost a child, and I would go a step further, for those who lost an only child. I guess my one piece of advice which I feel I can share because I have learned it the hard way is the importance of continuing to reach out to those who are grieving a child. Because Christmas has come and gone, doesn't mean that things have returned to normal or have stabilized. In fact, the exact opposite may occur and therefore your presence in a friend or family member's life is actually quite crucial now. 

My parents continue to feel under the weather, so therefore doing non-taxing things and staying close to home are important. We went out to lunch today and sat outside. It was a glorious weather day, it had to be in the 80's, and I truly believe that fresh air and sunshine can cure many ailments. As I look around me I am not sure others truly appreciate the weather they have in December. To me it felt like a spring day. By the time we got back home, it just seemed too lovely to be inside. So my mom and I went for a walk. While out walking we ran into a neighbor of hers, I got to meet his adorable dog, and we also got to see the sun setting. I have found through Mattie's battle and then death to appreciate the simple day to day things, because they are really quite special and memorable. In fact if you talk with anyone who has a grave and terminal illness, the one common thread no matter the illness is the loss of one's daily routine. The longing for the mundane and the ordinary. Things we find annoying or take for granted when healthy. Yet having the freedom to drive one's car, to have lunch out, to watch a sunset, and to take a walk all are things I very much wanted when Mattie was sick. As opposed to being trapped in a hospital for over a year and being unable to provide solutions to Mattie's disease. Therefore when I have these wonderful freedoms now, they do not go unrecognized by me.    

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2008. This was our last Christmas with Mattie and it was really a brutal holiday. Mattie was recovering from his limb salvaging surgeries and was also in the process of developing a full blown case of medical post traumatic stress. Peter and I were at our wits end caring for Mattie at home and when I look back at this now, I just don't know how we met his physical and psychological needs. Especially when we practically had NO sleep. Mattie's disease left him unable to sleep and therefore that meant we also got NO sleep. While Mattie was home, he was visited by my friend's uncle who dressed up as Santa. Mattie loved Ed's visit and it is sad to think that both Mattie and Ed are no longer with us.


Quote of the day: And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? ~ Dr. Seuss


Christmas of 2008 will always remain firmly in my mind. It was the last Christmas we had with Mattie. I have learned that everything in life is relative. Meaning that I thought in 2008 we had it hard. Little did I know that Mattie with cancer was better than no Mattie at all (never really planned for that option). Looking back, I thought our life in Christmas 2008, was absolutely impossible. Mattie was home from the Hospital (since hospitals work hard to discharge you before a major holiday if they can) and trying to recover from two limb salvaging surgeries. Mattie was also dealing with pain, immobility, and the beginning of medical post traumatic stress disorder. We were on overload balancing Mattie's medical care at home which was enormous and his psychological needs. Needs which his doctors couldn't appreciate until they saw him a week later in clinic. I remember vividly the sadness that surrounded us that Christmas and just how depressed Mattie was. We hear of people struggling with depression, which is an all encompassing issue, but observing this nightmare happening to a six year old is hard to stomach. Especially when it is your six year old and he is also struggling with cancer. Cancer that physically ravaged his body. Mattie's cancer, unlike some other cancers, was a very visible cancer. A cancer that removes limbs! So unfortunately if you ask Peter or I about Christmas and how we feel about it, at the core you most likely will hear our sadness and our final memories of Christmas as a family. 

This evening, we had a big dinner party with several of my parents friends. I have been planning this dinner for days but wasn't sure we could pull it off since my parents have both been so sick for almost a week now. I tried to do most of the work so that this day would be possible. While cooking in the kitchen today, don't you know my HUGE grasshopper friend came back to hang out on the window screen. He later jumped away, but he was with me for most of the morning. As I mentioned last night, I take Mr. Grasshopper as a sign from Mattie to me! It had to be close to 80 degrees in Los Angeles and I had all the windows open to get fresh breezes throughout the house. People here take this for granted, but since Washington, DC was 25 degrees today, I know this sunshine is to be cherished. 

I started off my morning however with text messages back and forth with my two nephews and my niece. That was a special highlight and my nephew closest to Mattie's age shared with me his favorite gift he received under the tree. I could hear his excitement even through his words. 

When Mattie was battling cancer, we became friends with a young lady named Bridget and her family. Bridget is courageously battling cancer and Peter and I have always been fond of her and her entire family. Bridget's mom, Cathy, writes to me every holiday, and today was no exception. Some of my faithful readers may recall that I had a chance to reconnect with Bridget during Mattie Miracle's Chocolate Therapy workshop at the hospital in October. Cathy wanted me to know that our littlest and brightest star was being remembered today and also how much Bridget enjoyed my visit with her in the hospital. I still recall that visit because Bridget introduced me to her doctors as Mom #2! That made me feel very good and I only wish Bridget and her family never saw and experienced the insides of a pediatric oncology unit and clinic!

I want to thank so many of our near and dear friends who contributed to Mattie Miracle this holiday season. I can't think of a better gift you could have given us! It is deeply appreciated and we value your support. Along the way today, my lifetime friend Karen wrote to me and said she wished for Christmas she could clone me. I took that as a high compliment and it is feedback and caring messages like this that truly help grievers become reinvested in the world.

December 24, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 -- Mattie died 223 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2007. As you can see it features the Christmas train I wrote about in last night's blog posting. Mattie loved this train and he wanted it in his Christmas photo each year. This photo was featured on the front cover of our Christmas 2007 card!


Quote of the day: As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is. ~ Eric Sevareid

We spent a good part of today at home. Both of my parents have been ill since I arrived and though they are beginning to improve, my mom seemed to take a turn for the worse today. Tomorrow several of my parent's friends are coming over for Christmas dinner and I have been working away on this for the past two days. I am making some of my favorite bigger dishes that I rarely get to make at home, since it is just Peter and I. 

While my mom was resting today, my dad and I sat down and chatted. We had the windows open and it was lovely to have the breezes from the 70+ degree weather pouring into the house. Something that I know I wouldn't be getting in DC. My dad has had quite an illustrious career and he typically doesn't share his stories and experiences with others. He is rather humble in that way. Nonetheless as he was recounting some of his experiences with people, places, and life lessons, the time this afternoon past by very quickly. Before I knew it, we went to wake my mom up for Christmas Eve dinner. When my dad was working I was a kid, a teenager, and then as a young adult I moved to the East coast to attend college. So I really did not get to understand or appreciate the true nature of his skills and what he accomplished. However now as an adult, I have a better perspective and I am happy to be able to take the time to listen. It was a non-planned moment today, which are the best kind of moments!



While I was talking with my dad, I noticed a HUGE visitor on the screen. I naturally was fascinated by this and took a photo! I never liked or was intrigued by bugs until I had Mattie. Mattie gravitated to them and naturally over time I had to accept some of them into my life. However to me this is the Christmas Grasshopper. Certainly I know this fellow isn't Mattie, but I accept this visit as a sign from Mattie, letting me know that he is thinking of me. In his own way he is with me, though of course I would much prefer the real boy! 







When I went outside to take a photo of the grasshopper, I also captured the hills that serve as the backdrop of my parent's home. Living in DC, I am used to non-stop noise, traffic, and airplanes overhead. Up in the hills of Southern California, it is peaceful. You rarely hear anything. 






This evening we went out to dinner. I am always amazed who is out and about during the week and the holiday is NO different. I really do not think people eat home anymore. Or at least this is my assessment based on traffic and FULL tables at our restaurant and other restaurants we drove passed. 

As Christmas is upon us, I assess our situation. This Christmas will be our fifth holiday without Mattie. I remember Christmas of 2009, our first Christmas after Mattie died. Three months after Mattie died to be specific. Peter and I weren't sure if we were coming or going back then. We went through the motions and back then we had friends who walked the grief journey with us for a year. However, losing a child to cancer affects more than just the first Christmas. It impacts EVERY holiday, EVERY day, and one's future. As tomorrow is Christmas, I am in Los Angeles and Peter is in Washington, DC. As you can see we still haven't figured out how to cope with the holidays! At the core, holidays are not the same for us and how we need to manage these times also varies. I do admit that even my own needs change from time to time. Some times I need to retreat and remove myself, and at other times I crave for someone to pull me out of a funk to do something fun. Something I wouldn't allow myself to do normally. It is hard to balance these feelings as an individual and it becomes even more complex to balance them as a couple. Because chances are each member of the couple won't be at the same place at the same time. Which is why surviving the loss of a child for couples is traumatic and takes work and understanding.   


As we drove home tonight from dinner we passed many houses filled with outdoor decorations. You couldn't miss this Santa!











My parent's neighborhood is known for its huge star decorations. Mainly because it is high up in the hills, close to the stars. It has been a Christmas tradition for decades to display 10 foot or higher stars in the front yards. It makes for a stunning sight as you drive up the hill. 


If I had to name this house I would call it "lights everywhere." You can't miss it, it is like driving passed General Electric! Mattie loved driving at night and seeing the lights. In fact, when Mattie was a toddler we took him to San Diego one summer. Typically we did not take Mattie out at night when in DC, but while on vacation we were out at night and driving. I still remember Mattie's reaction to seeing the city of San Diego aglow at night (not going out at night much he had never seen sky scrapers all lit up!). Seeing something for the first time through Mattie's eyes was indeed magical. 

December 23, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2006. Mattie was four years old and truly got the whole concept of Christmas. In fact, one of Mattie's favorite parts about decorating for Christmas was taking out and assembling his Christmas train. He loved to have this train go around the tree. This train played Christmas music and also puffed out smoke from its stack! As many of my faithful readers know, I spent a great deal of time cleaning out Mattie's room and closets this fall. However, the Christmas train is still with us. Not that we have a tree, but I know how much this train meant to Mattie, that I just can't seem to part with it. This photo was featured on our Christmas 2006 card!


Quote of the day: There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see. ~ Leonardo da Vinci


As promised, I have another animal tale for you this evening. I hope you enjoyed the beautiful story of the friendship between Jack the goat and Charlie the horse last night. It seems like we can learn a great deal from our four legged friends. Lessons that can be captured throughout the year, but somehow the holiday season seems to put all of us in a reflective mood. 

It is rather timely that soon after learning about Jack and Charlie, I would be introduced to another beautiful story of Jack the Christmas Mule. This is not an actual photo of Jack, but I think seeing this cutie enables us to follow the story along a bit better. Or at least it makes our friend Jack the mule a bit more real. 

Peter and I had the opportunity to meet Mary Jo, a respected psycho-oncologist, in February of 2013. Mary Jo works closely with Mattie Miracle to develop a psychosocial standard of care for childhood cancer. Mary Jo knows I am an animal lover and emailed me back and forth yesterday about a stray mule that found a way onto her property. 

After hearing the story about Jack, I felt inspired and renamed him the Christmas Mule. This seems like a very fitting name for this fellow because at the end of the day there are many moral, emotional, and meaningful messages his journey can teach us.

Jack lives down the road from Mary Jo. His owner is away for the holidays and recently Jack's mule friend died. Jack seems to be out of sorts and escaped from his home on a journey. Jack walked his way to Mary Jo's farm. Now I realize Jack and I are a completely different species, yet I am intrigued by the notion that under times of stress and grief, we both turn to walking. I relate to his need to escape his place filled with memories and the desire to seek out some sort of comfort somewhere or with someone. 

Any case, when Jack showed up unannounced at Mary Jo's, animal control was called. It took awhile for the authorities, Mary Jo, and several neighbors to piece together where Jack ran away from and lives. The authorities literally walked Jack back down the road to stay at another neighbor's farm. This was decided since animal control had no space in their facility for Jack to spend the holidays. In essence there was NO ROOM IN THE INN! However, in the midst of deciding Jack's temporary home (until his owners returned), he got to spend a night in Mary Jo's stable. It was there that Jack met Winnie, Mary Jo's horse. 

As we all know, sometimes we immediately connect with others and feel they understand us, but what I find so fascinating is that this same type of camaraderie can happen in the equine world! After spending one night in Mary Jo's stable, Jack and Winnie developed a friendship. So much so that when the authorities walked Jack back down the road the following day to stay at a neighboring farm, Jack escaped again! However this time the escape was purposeful. He was coming back to see Winnie and spend time with him. What Jack points out to me, and perhaps my lens is skewed, is that seeking out support, comfort, and friendship after the loss of a loved one is so natural. Almost like a survival instinct. 

Other than walking and being physically active, I would say that the only other way to survive a devastating loss is through meaningful connections to other people. People who understand and accept us. Why I refer to Jack as the Christmas Mule is because of the symbolic nature of having no room in the Inn (because of animal control), and then Mary Jo opening up her stable for Jack. Any one familiar with Christianity would see the connection right away. But in addition to this, the welfare of Jack has united Mary Jo's community. They have all come together to discuss where Jack should live and how to help him. To me this is the ultimate Christmas gift, when people are working together not to buy things, not to out-decorate their neighbor, or get the best material presents possible. But to work together to help something or someone. I have found that through this unity we uncover life's greatest gifts and in the process learn more and feel better about ourselves.

May we all glimmer something from the story of Jack the Christmas Mule and may each of us have a Winnie to turn to in times of grief, despair, and feeling loss and disconnected. For it is within this type of connection that survival and getting re-invested back into the world are possible. 

December 22, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2005. One weekend we took Mattie to Rockville, Maryland to have lunch at one of his favorite restaurants. This particular restaurant has a pond, fish, turtles, and a little bridge in front of it. When Mattie would get antsy inside the restaurant we would take him for a brief walk outside. That particular visit, I went with the notion of capturing a photo of Mattie for our Christmas card in front of the pond. As you can see Mattie looked wonderful in RED. He just gravitated to bold, bright, and happy colors. This charming photo was featured on the front cover of our Christmas 2005 card!

Quote of the day: Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.  ~ Mark Twain


Last night I had the opportunity to watch an animal documentary with my parents. I love all sorts of animals and I believe this is the case because I grew up with cats and a dog in my life. Not to mention learning to ride horses. The documentary was interesting because scientists are studying the concept of FRIENDSHIP in non-human animals. Newsflash..... animals also make friends! That this bond is not just reserved for the human species. In a way I found this whole scientific debate that I was listening to absolutely crazy. Any one who has been a pet owner knows right away that animals are VERY capable of friendship, compassion, and showing love. In fact I would beg to say that they express these emotions better than humans at times. They do it freely without thinking, analyzing, and assessing the consequences. 

Several animal examples were provided to the viewer illustrating that animals can become friends with each other, specifically animals across species such as a deer with a dog and my favorite example was that between a goat and a horse. I included a link below to the touching story of a decade long relationship between an "old" goat by the name of Jack and a "blind" horse by the name of Charlie. The notion of Jack and Charlie remain with me today, which is why I wanted to share it with you. 

If you watch the video clip, you will see a woman with a green t-shirt talking to you. She is the owner and operator of a rescue farm for animals. Hearing about all the animals she has rescued is inspiring and she did a wonderful job describing two of her residents. Charlie was a very old horse, 40 years old to be exact. As he aged he lost his eye sight. The owner of the farm was thinking she would have to put Charlie to sleep, well that is until Jack came on the scene. Jack seemed to understand Charlie's limitations and without being trained in any way stepped up to the plate to help his friend Charlie. Jack acted like a seeing eye dog for Charlie. For over 10 years, where ever Charlie was, Jack was right beside him. EVERYWHERE!! In pastures, trails, under trees..... steadfast and loyal. They spent so much time together that Charlie naturally recognized the sound of Jack's hooves on the ground. 

The owner went on to explain that Charlie benefited greatly from Jack's company and assistance. Meaning that without Jack, Charlie's life probably would have been terminated. However what surprised me is she said that Jack does this without getting anything in return. I was surprised by this because in my mind at the end of the day the greatest gift we give to ourselves in helping someone/thing out. Jack was needed, wanted, and had a purpose in life by caring for Charlie. I do not think that should be downplayed at ALL! In my opinion the relationship was symbiotic, which is the best kind of friendship. A friendship in which spending time with together nurtures in both directions. How thoroughly beautiful. 

But the story gets even more poignant, and perhaps I honed into it because it focused on loss and grief. Some people may think animals don't grieve, but that is NOT true. I saw it with our cat Patches and our resident Jack Russell Terrier, JJ. Both grieved Mattie in their own ways. Since Charlie was an older horse, he eventually died. When he died, Jack (the faithful companion) was right by his side. The farm owner observed Jack's behavior while Charlie was dying and thereafter. At first she thought that Jack did not understand that Charlie died. But of course Jack got it, he knew his friend had died. The sad part is that Jack's grief impacted him so much that in a way he lost the will to live. The owner of the farm discussed the physiological and emotional reactions that are the by-product of grief. Or at least what she observed from Jack. The irony is whether we are talking about Jack or me, the reaction to the loss of someone near and dear to us is devastating. Needless to say, at times I felt just like Charlie in this story and at other times, I related completely with Jack! All I can say is as we approach this holiday season, may we all find or nurture a Jack and/or Charlie in our lives. The beneficial nature of friendship is well documented in the social science literature specifically as it relates to enhancing our health and happiness.  

I hope I have intrigued you enough to check out the link below. Tomorrow, I will be continuing my writing on friendship with another real life animal story. This next story, which I entitle the Christmas Mule, was shared with me by one of the wonderful psycho-oncologists working with the Foundation. Mary Jo's story is so touching and illustrates the bond of friendship, the impact of grief, and how animals can unite a community. All of which illustrate the magic of Christmas. 

Jack the Goat and Charlie the Horse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJjWwr-AjiQ