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

November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2008. As you can see Mattie was doing one of the things he was quite good at, but I don't always mention it on the blog.... PUZZLES! At an early age I noticed Mattie could easily solve and assemble puzzles. Sometimes children can get frustrated with puzzles, but Mattie seemed to like the challenge especially once you taught him some key skills like corners and framing in the puzzle. The more pieces the puzzle had and the greater the challenge, the more he seemed inspired to take it on! We did many puzzles at home and in the hospital!


Quote of the day: Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean. ~ Ryunosuke Satoro


Today Peter and I went on a day trip adventure with our friends Heidi and Phil. We drove together to Middleburg, VA. This is about an hour drive from Washington, DC. Peter and I had never ventured there before, so for us this was a great diversion from all the candy we have been seeing and processing. However before we hopped into Heidi's car, we first unloaded all the candy from the back of her car that she collected from her neighborhood and sorted for us. It was a ton and it was a concerted effort to get it into our home. 


When we arrived in Middleburg, we had lunch at the historic Red Fox Inn. The Inn was established in 1728 and stands at the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Bull Run mountains. Situated in a valley steeped in the lore of both the Revolutionary and the Civil Wars, the Red Fox Inn and Tavern carries on traditions of days past by providing locals and travelers with a timeless setting. Throughout the years, the Inn has been used for numerous notable events and remains a popular destination for anyone seeking a romantic hideaway in the heart of Hunt Country. The J.E.B. Stuart Room once served as the stage for a rare press conference by President Kennedy and as a meeting room for hopeful Democrats hosted by Ambassador Pamela Harriman, a local foxhunting resident. Elizabeth Taylor often graced the Tap Room both during the courtship and after her marriage to a local gentleman, Senator John Warner and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis frequently stayed at the Inn during foxhunting holidays each fall.


After lunch we walked through the quaint town of Middleburg. We came along this grain and feed store and outside the store was this incredible 277 pound pumpkin. I have seen pumpkins like this in newspapers and on TV, but never in person! It was a sight to behold. 





In one store, I felt as if I walked right into Christmas. The store was appropriately named, The Christmas Sleigh! But the store also sells authentic German and Austrian products and these items were quite special to see and explore! 













The town has a very special chocolate store.... Shenandoah Fine Chocolates! We met the chocolatier, Anne Brown! She gave Heidi and I samples of her candy which was a smart business move because naturally that inspired me to buy chocolate. Not that I needed much encouragement. But this time of year when my home is filled with the smell of candy, which is sickening in large dosages, buying candy doesn't always come to the forefront of my mind. 

Another stop on our journey was to The Upper Crust. This bakery had quite a line of patrons. As soon as you walk into the store you can see why. Everything smells like it just came out of the oven! One of the cookies the bakery is known for is the "Cow Puddle." A rather funny name, no? Well the cow puddle is actually a gooey toffeeish cookie.

On our drive back to DC, we stopped at the Greenhill Winery and Vineyard. This is the second vineyard I have been to, my first was this past July in Charlottesville, VA. This cute little house was where wine tastings were offered today along with live music. 








While tasting wine, the back drop was the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. Also in the distance I could see black cows grazing! Since I happen to love cows, to me this was a special sight. 








The Vineyards














More of the Vineyards














When Peter and I got home from our outing, Peter spent several hours sorting candy!











We have candy piles everywhere and that sickly smell of candy is pervasive. We have the bags sealed but it doesn't seem to matter! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2008. I can tell Mattie had his first limb salvaging surgery for two reasons. First of course was because his right arm wasn't in his pajama sleeve. The right arm was the first one operated on. The second way I know was because of the positioning of Mattie's bed. Typically when Mattie was getting chemotherapy we would push his bed parallel against the wall of the room. In order to give more movable and play space within the room. However, whenever Mattie had surgery, his pediatric intensive care staff required that his bed be perpendicular to the wall so they could access him from every angle. Despite having limited space in the room, we still found ways to play. Usually on the bed and THANK GOODNESS for boxes. Which Mattie was a champ at transforming into just about anything. 


Quote of day: The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers. ~ Everett Mamor


Today was a very busy day! It started with driving my car to be repaired. I have had my car for 12 years now. I got it a month before Mattie was born. We bought it because we were expecting a baby and wanted the latest technology with airbags, anti-lock brakes, and so forth. We did our homework and settled on the car that I have been driving for the past many years! However this week I have noticed a grinding sound whenever I stomped on the brakes. So in the car went for repairs!  

I brought the car in at 10am and I was assigned to a woman named Sharon as my service coordinator. I really liked Sharon a lot. Very customer focused! Any case, Sharon told me how the process was going to work and she knew that I planned on waiting at the dealership for the car to be repaired. Fortunately there are several restaurants nearby that I could walk to and sit at while the car was being serviced. I gave Sharon my cell phone number and she promised to call me within 45 minutes after my car was dropped off to update me with the car's diagnosis and to discuss next steps. 

As promised within 45 to 50 minutes she called me and like I always joke, my car's issues are NEVER simple. They are always significant. One of the issues were the brakes. The brake pads in my car were almost completely gone. She and I discussed this because in all reality this couldn't have happened over the course of just this week. Yet there were NO OTHER tell tale signs of this, other than the grinding sound that happened this week! She explained to me the blessing and curse of fine German engineering and the beauty of the fine metals used in their car brakes. Apparently so good that I couldn't feel anything unusual as the driver. If it weren't for this sound, I would never have known I had a problem. She did tell me however that in 2004 and thereafter all VW's now have sensor lights that tell drivers when brake pads need to be replaced. The ironic part about this is my car is always in for repairs and servicing, so there is no reason this wasn't caught sooner! That was one part I of the problem today. 

In any case, when Sharon called me she let me know that it would take several hours for my car to be repaired and therefore they wanted to give me a loaner car for the day so that I wouldn't be trapped in one place. I really appreciated that since I had things to do. As Sharon was handing me the keys for the loaner car, I explained to her that I would be returning with a trunk full of candy for my Foundation. She was intrigued and wanted to know more, so I told her about Mattie Miracle and Mattie. Sharon then told me about her father who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We connected on many levels today. I also explained to Sharon that I bought my VW when I was pregnant with Mattie and that the car means a lot to me. I remember coming to her showroom several times with Mattie too, therefore though I need a new car, it is hard to part with the one I have. She understood! 

In the midst of getting my car back into working order, the candy kept rolling in today! In fact, we got a lovely donation from Fox 5's own Beth Parker! Beth also collected candy from her neighbors and friends! Way to go Beth! When she delivered the candy to my complex's front desk, they were all thrilled to see her. 











My friend Tina had a candy pick up today at Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy!!! A rather significant accumulation no?? We are very appreciative of these donations and Peter and I are also grateful to volunteers who are helping us this year sort all this candy. In the past we took on a lot of the sorting ourselves. But this year, we could never have done it without a lot of help!













Several of the children involved in the candy collection at Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy! I am told that one of the girls in the photo is actually a cancer survivor. I am not sure which one, but I think it is touching that she was involved in this project and that her friends and classmates were right along side her supporting her in a way. It is important to remember that childhood cancer doesn't end when the treatment stops! The battle continues on even in survivorship, or end of life care and bereavement. 

Meanwhile my friend Ann sent me some photos of the candy delivery made to her house this evening from the St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (SSSAS). Mattie attended kindergarten at SSSAS and it is very touching to see his school participate in the candy drive this year. All three campuses (lower, middle, and high school) were involved in the drive and not only did the School collect an incredible amount of candy for us but they also sorted all of it! Sorting the candy is very labor intensive but very important. It helps preserve the candy for longer in storage and allows for quality control ensuring that each of the pieces is sealed and appropriate for a hospital setting. 



SSSAS donated seven large bins filled with candy!!! It was a very significant contribution. There are many schools involved in our candy drive, but it is deeply meaningful to us to know that one of Mattie's schools is participating. Perhaps it makes us feel a part of that community on some level, despite the fact that we lost that status in 2009.












This year we are posting updates about our candy drive on Facebook and Twitter. We try to acknowledge the schools and businesses donating the candy, but with the pace that the candy is coming in, I feel like I am bound to miss someone inadvertently.

November 6, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2008. My parents and I took Mattie out to lunch. In true Mattie fashion he had his trucks on the table and all his Halloween gear out and about. You can see toy tombstones, ghosts, and his light up pumpkin necklace! Practically no room for food, which was just the way Mattie typically preferred things. 


Quote of the day: Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power. ~ Stephen Covey




This morning I went to zumba and after class, I met up with my friend Tina. Tina brought all the candy she had sorted to me and we loaded it into my car. As you can see it was another full trunk load! Meanwhile Tina had more sorting ahead of her today with some friends of mine and before we parted ways she was kind enough to go to Fairlington Dental to pick up another 100 pounds of candy that were being donated! I swear candy is coming at us from every angle!

Meanwhile at lunch time, Peter and I went to the Department of Homeland Security to attend our first Combined Federal Campaign Charity Fair. We were told we could bring trinkets, promotional materials, and things to help employees understand our Foundation. The goal of course is to educate federal employees about the work that we do in hopes that they will want to support us through their charitable CFC contributions.  







There were two other charities with us at the event. One was a religious based charity that assists developmentally disabled teens and young adults in DC and the other charity assists immunocompromised individuals obtain chartered flights to treatment. Peter and I have done several booths and exhibit tables now that we can set these up fairly easily. The one thing that surprised me about today is the attendees did not like candy! That was a first for me! Typically candy attracts people to our table. 

While we were at the charity fair, at my friend Ann's house there was a candy sorting party going on. As you can see there was a table with bowls and buckets to assist with sorting. Of course a whole lot of candy filled each bin!!!













From left to right are Jane, Catherine and Tina! Jane and Catherine are moms I knew in preschool. In fact, I met Jane and Catherine in Margaret's preschool class, and Mattie went to school with their girls! Where as, Tina became my friend after Mattie died. Tina and I are not connected by our children. It is wonderful to see how well these three friends got along and worked together. I can't tell you how much candy they sorted! It was significant and I could never have processed what they did in the same amount of time without their help. 






Though a little blurry, from left to right are Catherine, Ann, and Tina. 












November 5, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday 5, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2008. Mattie was in the child life playroom of the Hospital and as you can see was transforming a huge piece of construction paper into an ocean. In his ocean Mattie created fish, a whale and even a bridge made out of model magic. Crossing Mattie's bridge were several cars. Cars always had a way of making their way into Mattie's play scheme. One of the ocean creatures Mattie made that day was covered with googly eyes. It wasn't pictured here, but ironically this creature still exists today and sits in his book shelf in his room on display. 


Quote of the day: In separateness lies the world's great misery. In compassion lies the world's true strength. ~ Albert Schweitzer


The Mattie Miracle Candy drive collection runs until November 10th. This is our fourth annual drive and thanks to social media the word is out about the drive. We are getting emails, messages through Facebook, and tweets about the drive. I almost can't keep up with the requests!!! Today alone we had individuals requesting to make large candy donations..... I am talking about wanting to donate hundreds of pounds of candy, not just a bag or two!!! My joke with Peter was..... wouldn't this be wonderful if fundraising was this easy?!!! As you can see my home is starting to develop candy piles all over the place as the sorting is well on its way. 


This year we are donating candy to Georgetown University Hospital, Children's National Hospital, Children's Inn at NIH, and the Hospital for Sick Children. I am working on other local hospitals as well that treat children with life threatening illnesses and terminal illnesses. 


I am not the only one whose home has candy chaos in it! My friend Tina who is running around town in Alexandria, VA promoting this event, is also collecting the candy and sorting it. Today she collected candy at the Alexandria Country Day School. Here is her Wednesday sorting process!






Tina also collected candy at the Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center where the Aerials Gymnastics Team
practices. The team was collecting candy for Mattie Miracle. This was just one of the bags being carted out of the Center tonight!








Meanwhile in Maryland, my friend Leslie has candy chaos at her home!!! She and her daughter, Faye, have been collecting candy from their temple community at B'nai Shalom and from the American Bankers Association! The collection and sorting has been very successful this year in Maryland and the community feels so good about their participation that I hear they want to be involved in our Spring Item Drive as well! Music to my ears!

Here is a list of some of the schools and community organizations assisting Mattie Miracle this year collect candy for our Fourth Annual Drive! We are deeply grateful and proud to be connected with our DC, Virginia, and Maryland communities. 


Alexandria Country Day School (http://www.acdsnet.org/)
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School (http://www.acps.k12.va.us/macarthur/)
Lab School of Washington DC (http://www.labschool.org/page)
Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy (http://www.acps.k12.va.us/crouch/)
The River School (http://www.riverschool.net/)
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School (http://www.sssas.org/page)

American Bankers Association (http://www.aba.com/Pages/default.aspx)
Arlington Aerials & Tigers gymnastics teams (http://www.arlingtonaerials.org/)
B'nai Shalom of Olney (http://www.bnaishalomofolney.org/)
Fairlington Dental (http://www.fairlingtondental.com/)
Honest Soul Yoga (http://honestsoulyoga.com/)
Moms Club of Bethesda-NW (http://www.bethesdamomsclubnw.com/)
Presto Valet (http://www.prestovalet.net/)
Body Dynamics INC (http://www.bodydynamicsinc.com/)

November 4, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Tuesday, November 4, 2014 -- Mattie died 269 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. As you can see Mattie was showing off a large print out of a ROACH! Mattie seemed to like roaches. Now I am not quite sure he actually liked them or that he was intrigued by them because he knew I HATED them and they evoked a response from me. In any case, Mattie developed an affection for roach items in the hospital. He had rubber roaches that he would scare his nurses with them. Mattie also created this very large roach which he painted on a ceiling tile of the cancer clinic. It was down right disgusting, which may be why the tile no longer is on the ceiling and none of us can seem to locate it!!


Quote of the day: The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. Allan K. Chalmers



Today was the first day I began running around town collecting candy for the annual drive! Literally there is candy every where. This is the supply currently at my friend Ann's house, and it is growing. 












This is what my car's trunk looked like today! It was packed with all sorts of candy!












Naturally I had to get the piles from my garage up to my home, which requires taking an elevator and some negotiation. But having done this now four years in a row, I thankfully have mastered the art form!









The sorting process began in my dining room tonight and when Peter came home from work, he couldn't get over his eyes!!! In a way he was stunned that it was this time of year again!!! After all, we still have very vivid memories of sorting through 2000 pounds of candy from last year!




Meanwhile this is what is going on in my friend Tina's family room! She is working on sorting too! I saw Tina today because she is instrumental at helping us collect the candy! She sets up flyers and collection boxes at several schools and local businesses, in order to solicit post-Halloween candy on our behalf. Then she checks these boxes periodically and brings the candy back to her home for us to pick up. If it were not for Tina and her collection boxes, we would never be able to obtain the significant poundage that we do each year! 

Peter and I are deeply grateful to Tina, Heidi, Leslie, and Ann who help us with this drive and of course all our friends and volunteers who are helping us make this possible! It is remarkable the number of schools, community and religious groups, businesses, organizations, girl scout, brownie, and mom's groups who are helping us!!! 

November 3, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was with the "dynamic duo" here, or in other words Whitney and Lesley. They were both child life specialists at the Hospital, who Mattie related to very well. Despite Mattie's first limb salvaging surgery, he was up and about and playing with his remote control car. In fact he was giving his stuffed animal a ride. You may notice that Mattie's feet were wrapped up in bandages! Nothing were technically wrong with his feet, but nonetheless Mattie felt that his feet were bothering him. He kept telling us they were burning and he had all sorts of sensations in them. We concluded that this was a reaction from his chemotherapy and because we wanted to make sure Mattie knew we heard him and took him seriously we would wrap up his feet. Once his feet were wrapped up he tended to feel better. 


Quote of the day: That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day. Charles Dicken

Tonight's beautiful quote comes from Dicken's book, Great Expectations. Today was a memorable day for me. I met with my friend, Mary Ann. I drove out to Reston, VA to have lunch with her and to walk around the Lake near her home. A lake she has told me so much about and has shared photos with me. Mary Ann and I have known each other for many years, since we met in graduate school. In fact, we were counseling ethics buddies and when we took our ethics class at the University we were the most active students during the semester! It was a memorable moment for me back then when I met Mary Ann, because I found it mentally stimulating to find someone to dialogue ethical issues and scenarios with and from that class our friendship developed and only grew throughout time. That ethics class was our "first link" to today's "one memorable day."

The one thing that I have noticed in life is that having experienced a hardship, a loss, or a trauma does not mean that this will equate to human growth and development. Or that this will make a person more introspective, deeply reflective on life, or have more meaningful priorities. In fact, I have met people who seem completely unaltered, unfazed, and simply have not learned or gained any insight from what lesson life has set before them. I of course find this disappointing and troubling because I can't see how this is possible but maybe under other circumstances I would process Mattie's loss differently. I do not know, and I am not here to judge. But I do know when I sit with someone who is also deeply reflective, introspective, and knows how to emote, it is in essence a memorable day for me. Such as today. 



After Mary Ann and I had lunch together, we went for a walk around her lake. I have been to Reston before, but never seen this particular lake. Part of me felt transported to another location! There are times I felt like I was in Florida and at other times in a New England village. The views were simply stunning and so peaceful. I can see why Mary Ann loves it. Walking with Mary Ann wasn't power walking like it would be in the city. We walked but then sat, chatted and looked at the views. It was deeply peaceful and tranquil. 


Today was about connecting as friends, sharing stories, and being a part of nature. It was a surreal experience and it wasn't as if we set out and planned this. It just happened and unfolded. 
We journeyed from one lovely spot to another! As I looked at these homes, all I could think of is what a different view I have from my home and I do not live that far away from here!!!








Mary Ann sent me a photo of these roses in June, in honor of my dear friend Margaret's death! Margaret LOVED roses! Today I got to see these roses for myself. 










Mary Ann and I also visited a pet store and we got to see three beautiful kitties in need of a home. Two I would have brought home immediately but without Peter, I did not want to make this decision independently. Mary Ann and I both share a love of cats and there was a lovely calico cat also in need of a home. I of course thought about Patches immediately, though "Sally" did not look like our Patches at all. We then went to sit by this side of the lake. To me this side looked very New England!


Overlooking the lake was this home with a line up of pumpkins which caught my attention! Mattie would have appreciated this!











The beauty of the lake was incredible, and I loved how the trees were reflected into the water. The colors of fall are glorious. 










Now this was a first for me but Mary Ann tells me this is popular in Reston. To me this look like a deck boat! Basically it is a floating deck with a motor!










Check this deck boat out! Basically a party was going on here with a dog included! Torch lamps and a BBQ!











Stunning no?!















When I got home, I was greeted by candy photos on my phone! My friend Heidi has been busy collecting candy in her neighborhood for our Foundation Candy Drive! Collecting and Sorting!!! Heidi has been helping us for the past several years and has sorting down to a science. 




This is Leslie and Faye's total collection from their "mitzvah" day yesterday! They are still collecting more candy but considering this was just a thirty minute time period in which the collection occurred, this is down right impressive! 











I want to thank Beth Parker at Fox 5 News for reaching out to Mattie Miracle and for always promoting the work that we do. She alerted her colleagues at Fox 5 about our drive, as you can see in the attached link that went out today!!! Beth and her neighbors are also donating to our drive. As always we are grateful to Beth for her fine work with us and for her outstanding coverage of human interest stories in the DC area!!!

Donate your candy to a good cause:

http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/27258306/donate-halloween-candy-to-a-good-cause