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

June 28, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2007. It is hard to believe in a way that our deck used to look like this at one time. Filled to capacity with Mattie's things like a sandbox, a kiddie pool, toys, and you name it! I always thought it was a riot how a small child's things had a way of taking over an entire space! Mattie loved being outdoors at all times of year. He never liked being confined and therefore I learned to like being outdoors too. I can't say that I loved it as much prior to having Mattie! But now that Mattie is gone from my life, I still love being outside and like him I prefer more open spaces, less congestion, fewer people around me, and less NOISE. Usually the child becomes like the parent, in this case the parent has become like the child. 


Quote of the day: Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


There are many quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt that I absolutely LOVE, this is NOT one of them! I frankly am always perplexed by this quote. Small minds discuss people?! What on earth does that mean?!!! If I had to put two and two together, and knowing she had her feelings of inferiority about herself at times, I would imagine she was referring to people gossiping about others! This is how I translate..... "discussing people!" But moving passed this simple minded view of discussing people, I actually find her quote VERY offensive. It is offensive to anyone I believe who is interested in any sort of helping profession. Particularly the mental health profession. What we do for a living is DISCUSS people. We observe, analyze, evaluate, and occasionally consult and/or discuss people! 

Even in my daily life, what gives me the most pleasure is observing people and discussing what I am seeing. In fact, those trained in working with people or are skilled at observing others really do capture more data than the average person. This capturing of data involves thoughts and feelings. So I do not see anything small minded in this at all. In fact, quite the opposite. These are skills, just as important as understanding ideas, principles, and theories. Such skills can help resolve all sorts of emotional issues. After all ideas and events won't help a person who is feeling sad, depressed, angry, overwhelmed, or anxious. But guess what? Discussing will, discussing people will, and it that is the work of the small minded in Eleanor's book, well then I guess that is where I lie. 

With that said, me and my small mind, have been working all day on Foundation items and this evening we are getting together with friends for dinner. Thankfully we have plans which will force me to stop working and to get away from my usual routine. 

June 27, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2006. Mattie was playing in one of his favorite places..... a box! Mattie always had me laughing. He could be surrounded by toys, but if he had his way, he usually gravitated to a box first. It was his toy of choice. All he needed was his imagination! I think this was a surprise to his care team in the hospital, because I am not sure all kids select packing boxes to play with, but they caught on quick! Many of Mattie's psychosocial staff would save boxes for him and would give them to him at each admission. These boxes would be transformed into all sorts of things. But boxes in our home were appreciated by both Mattie and Patches. In fact it was almost a competition as to who could get into the box and claim it first!


Quote of the day: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu


Today was a full day for both Peter and I. Peter just got back from Oklahoma and I started my day with a six hour licensure board meeting. We typically do not meet at the end of the month. But we had many issues that needed to be resolved. Some which were significant ethical issues! It is hard enough to have a long meeting like this, but then when the meeting is intense, contentious, and without food this is a recipe for disaster. 

After this nightmare of a meeting, I had to come home and focus on our Foundation's June newsletter. Somehow June has escaped me and yet this newsletter has to be written. June is an important newsletter because it sums up our Walk activities. With that said, the whole thing feels like the perfect storm. Our newsletter system recently changed so how I upload photos has also changed, therefore, in order to display walk photos in the newsletter, I literally have had to create collages. Which is a much more labor intensive process than I bargained for. The newsletter photos alone have taken me days to create, so today I just began layout and writing.

I had hopes that perhaps I could do other things these past two days, but it has been impossible. I just can't seem to stop working and this to me is deeply frustrating and exhausting. So for now, I am signing off of the computer, since it is almost 11:30, Peter is home, and I need a change of venue! 

June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007, at Dutch Wonderland, in Lancaster, PA. You maybe asking yourself, why is Vicki posting a photo of a roller coaster?!!! Well first off, Mattie and Peter were sitting in it! They were behind the man in red. Peter was wearing a white t-shirt on the right and had his arm around Mattie. I think why this photo still intrigues me is that I can't get over how Mattie loved roller coasters. They scare me to death, I don't even like looking at them. I couldn't believe he wanted to try it at only age 5! That was Mattie's first roller coaster and it was from that ride, that it inspired him to try other ones! Fortunately Peter went with Mattie on these rides and while they were riding, I was photographing. We all had our designated roles and I was glad mine was on solid ground, and luckily so, otherwise we wouldn't have this photograph today. 



Quote of the day: It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them. ~ Unknown


Since Peter has worked for his current company, traveling has been part of his job description! Actually now that I think about it Peter has been traveling all of his professional career! In fact, when Peter worked as a consultant he did a lot of domestic travel! I remember prior to Mattie being born Peter practically lived in Tampa and commuted back to DC on the weekends. However, I would have to say Peter being gone from home back then did not seem as difficult as it does now. I know he feels the same when I go away. When Mattie died, it changed the dynamics in our lives and just the whole order of our universe. Nothing seems exactly stable anymore and it certainly doesn't seem stable if we are not together. Ironically! 

Today Peter went to Oklahoma on business. In fact, his travel schedule this summer is a bit hectic, but fortunately it is all domestic travel unlike many of his past trips overseas. While Peter is now safely in Oklahoma, I went to my last class of Zumba until August. Then after Zumba, I met up with my friend Tina for lunch. While having lunch, we sat outside and I literally ran into two people I knew. I am continually stunned by what a small place Alexandria City, VA is, and yet it really isn't geographically small at all! One of the individuals I met was a former student of mine who I hadn't seen for years! 

Later today, I came home and as usual I was glued to my computer. This evening, Peter called me from Oklahoma and told me about his client dinner and the infamous and innocent client question which he usually gets...... I think it is ironic how this question is used to make small talk and start conversations..... "do you have any children?" Peter always handles this questions quite well with the response.... "it is a long story." Peter elaborated with this group tonight since the client in question works on maternal and child health issues and most likely would gravitate to our Foundation issues. Which Peter was correct about! As Peter discussed Mattie and our Foundation, this apparently opened up the dialogue at the table to people's experiences with childhood cancer. I am not sure such a conversation would have occurred then or at any other time if it weren't for Peter bringing up Mattie. I have a feeling people learned something about each other tonight that they wouldn't have necessarily known about their colleagues previously! But to me cancer is that kind of topic. Once you bring it up and you give people permission to dialogue about it the rest seems to naturally occur.

June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. We took Mattie to a train museum in Lancaster, PA. Inside the museum was all sorts of displays including model toy cars and even this clever video camera that captured Mattie and Peter together. When I saw these two on the TV screen, I grabbed my camera and took a photo! I just love Mattie's big smile here! A big face of happiness surrounded by some of his favorite things.... trains and cars!





Quote of the day: It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle



I started my day by going to the dentist. I have been going to the same dentist in Washington, DC for over a decade. Needless to say we have had the chance to chat with each other over the years and to exchange personal stories. He knew Mattie died of cancer and I knew he was a cancer survivor himself. Recently he had his hip replaced and was having a hard time recovering. When I arrived for my cleaning today, my hygienist broke the news to me that my dentist's cancer returned. She told me he has of all things, bone cancer. I just couldn't believe it! How many people I know seem to be struck down by bone cancer..... Mattie, Patches, Jocelyn, and now my dentist. Of course I know many others affected by bone cancer, but this is just the list of those from my more immediate world. Frankly after hearing this news about my dentist, the rest of my check up appointment was a bit of a blur! 

I had the opportunity to meet the new dentist in the practice who is replacing my dentist. Naturally he has a difficult role to serve and big shoes to fill, but I was a bit surprised that he did not even address the transition with me. He just came in, introduced himself.... as if I was the new patient coming into the practice for the first time. Rather than he was the new doctor coming into seeing an established patient. I think the whole thing was awkward and it was awkward because he did not know how to manage the fact that my dentist had cancer! He just did not know how to broach the issue, so he didn't! It was a glaring problem for me, because I wanted to know how my doctor was doing! So before I left, I got my dentist's private email address so that I can communicate with him myself!

My faithful readers may recall that in April the Foundation had an item drive in honor of Mattie's 12th birthday. Well today, I picked up more items from that drive. These are items that were collected by a boy scout troop and a building club at a local school in Northern Virginia. A rather impressive collection! I very much appreciate the efforts and time our volunteers put into our item drives and I know that once Georgetown University Hospital receives these items pediatric families are very grateful to have access to them! These items are placed on the cart that we help to maintain at the hospital, a cart that offers free snacks and items to pediatric families several times a week. This cart provides a crucial service because when caring for a chronically or terminally ill child, it is next to impossible to leave the unit and get snacks and other items to meet one's basic needs. Therefore, the items collected during our item drives are really gifts to in-patients families at the hospital. 

June 24, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 -- Mattie died 250 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. We took Mattie to Lancaster, PA one weekend and along our journey we came across this wonderful farm! The amazing part about all of this is I just Google this place tonight, and I can't get over how this farm has expanded! They say they provide "agri-tainment" now and they aren't kidding. For fun, you should check out their website: http://www.cherrycrestfarm.com/. All I know is Mattie would have loved all these new activities at the farm if he were alive today! 

Quote of the day: The only way to have a friend is to be one. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


This is the summer of work for me. I honestly thought after the Walk I would have a moment of down time, but it isn't happening at all. Somehow that is very disturbing to me. Since I do the majority of work from home, I really do need to carve out time to get outside and interact with people and the world. If I don't make a concerted effort, it would be very easy NOT to! 

At some point today, I walked to our new neighborhood cafe that was just constructed. Our area really needs more places like this! In any case, while in the restaurant waiting for my sandwich, I heard music playing. The music sounded familiar. It was just instrumental in this case, and as I kept listening to it, I tried to place how I knew it! Then it hit me. Of course I knew it! I knew it very well. It was the adorable song from the movie Dumbo, called Baby of Mine. Any one who has ever watched Dumbo, knows that Mrs. Jumbo (Dumbo's mom) gets locked up in a cage and labeled as a "mad elephant." Dumbo is lost and very sad without his mom. One night Dumbo's buddy, Timothy, the mouse, sneaks Dumbo to visit his mom by her cage. When mom and baby reunion, this is when Disney plays for us "Baby of Mine." It is a song that I used to sing to Mattie. I included the link below in case you have NO IDEA what I am talking about. At the end of the song, both mom and baby must part from each other, and that scene gets me every time. It gets me because it captures maybe 1/100th of the pain of what it felt like to have to say good-bye to Mattie. 

In any case, I went into this cafe feeling one way today, but after hearing the song, I have to say it changed my mood completely. Not necessarily for the better. It always amazes me how the senses can transform an experience, a minute, or even a day for us. But what it also points out to me is grief is ever present and really not that far from the surface of our consciousness. It doesn't need much to trigger a feeling or a reaction. For me it is always music to evoke feelings and memories and Baby of Mine will always remind me of the many times Mattie and I watched Dumbo together and how I am missing my baby of mine!

Baby of Mine ~
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oSdgIDyl6Q

June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. We took Mattie to Lancaster, PA that weekend. Outside one of the stores was this cute statue of a Holstein cow. I LOVE Holsteins, maybe because of their black and white pattern, I am not sure. But at one time, I collected all things that were cow themed! Clearly you can see I passed on that love to the next generation! Mattie gave a big hug to Ms. Cow and Peter snapped that moment in time. It was no surprise to us that Mattie loved "the cow." Mattie loved milk and all dairy products in general. He couldn't get enough cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and forget about drinking milk! He drank it like water! My joke with him was he was my human cow. 


Quote of the day: If you do not tell the truth about yourself you can not tell the truth about other people. ~ Virginia Woolf 


Virginia Woolf's quote is a very telling and meaningful quote that resonates with me. The truth is important to uphold and to speak, but telling the truth is not always met with happiness and joy. Because at times the messages one has to deliver can be strikingly painful and revealing when received. We as human beings are constantly changing and evolving. Some of the changes occur developmentally due to age and the natural progression of life and aging and some changes occur without warning and are unexpected. Such as Mattie getting cancer and dying, in our case.  

I would say that no matter how or why we change the one commonality we all have as human beings, is the desire to socially connect, to have an identity and to fit in, in some way. But the truth which becomes more abundantly clear over time for Peter and I is....... it isn't easy to fit in. Who do we fit in with? I could sugar coat the truth and the reality, but the reality is as parents who lost an only child to cancer is that, we do not fit in with our former social group.... so that is heart breaking, we do not fit in with parents who have children battling cancer (and I might say our story also makes these families VERY uncomfortable because we portray exactly what they do not want to see, face, or even think about!), and I personally find it challenging to interact with families of childhood cancer survivors. I find within our interactions with survivors that our outlook about biological research and the whole cancer battle in general are very DIFFERENT! So now what?

Again, no answers! Just the truth and the reality, a reality that changes with each year that Mattie is gone from our lives. Such a reality couldn't possibly be felt within the first or second year after Mattie died, but instead got established over time. Which is why I am constantly plagued by our society who thinks that it is only the first year of grieving that is the worst for parents. It maybe the most raw, but once the rawness dissipates, a whole new world of grief opens up that can be just as painful and just as enduring. 

June 22, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken on June 23rd of 2007. Mattie posed for me right before heading off to his friend's birthday party! His friend was having a super hero party and Mattie wanted to go as super man. The irony was this costume was a set of pajamas! That did not stop Mattie from wearing this outfit. He attached a cape to the pajamas and off he went! Mattie had a great time at the party, ran around, and of course no party would be complete without tying up your own mother. Somehow it did not matter where Mattie was, I was always included in the play scheme. I played along that day, as I did most days, got covered in silly string, and I recall all the fun as if it were yesterday. This set of pajamas was actually given to Mattie that same year as a birthday present so it was rather cute that he decided to where it to a birthday party as well!


Quote of the day: In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt


Most days I can easily sit down to write about my day or thoughts on the blog. On the rare occasion, such as today, this doesn't happen! I could struggle and try to produce something. Or I could step away from the computer and say tomorrow is another day. Which is what I am going to do. It isn't that I am a blank slate it is just that I have many things to say, but none of which is probably worth writing about now without it being taken out of context. It isn't as if anything in particular happened today, this is just the by-product of time and reflection.