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

May 16, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2008. The day after we learned that Mattie had cancer. We took Mattie to Georgetown University Hospital and at the Hospital, he met his art therapists and designed this wonderful boat made out of a cardboard box. With Mattie's wonderful curiosity, he took the boat home and placed it in water to see if it would float. He added toys inside the boat and he had the boat for quite some time. Mattie loved boxes and could play and create with them for hours. 




Quote of the day: If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~ John Quincy Adams


After months of planning and very long days and nights, tomorrow is the Walk! Typically the weather has always been sunny and lovely. But tomorrow they predict rain. I know this is the reality, but somehow I feel that Mattie always looks down on me and the event and looks out for us. This is the Foundation's largest fundraiser and awareness event of the year, so it is important that it occurs. Especially after many months of planning. The Walk is a rain or shine event, but let's hope for shine. Or at least clouds and no rain with lightening and thunder. 


On Friday, Mattie's school had a "get your orange on" day in honor of Mattie and Mattie Miracle! This is a group 5th graders and as you can see orange was a plenty!










This is a photo of the items that have been donated toward the Walk by supporters! This collection is happening at my friend, Ann's house. As you can see the collection is extensive. We thank all our amazing supporters who help us in all ways to keep the Mattie Miracles happening as well as in keeping Mattie's memory alive.  

Friday, May 16, 2015

Friday, May 16, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009 at the Mattie March, hosted by Mattie's care community. It was from that March that our Foundation's walk evolved. For the past three months I have been working night and day on this year's Walk. Planning the Walk is a monumental task, but sometimes it is after the Walk that is even more difficult to face. Because while working intensely you can become all consumed with the feverish pace of what you are doing, however, once it is all over, the reality sets back in, and you realize what and why you did what you just accomplished. 


Quote of the day: It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Today Peter went to our Post Office, where our Mattie mail box is located. My faithful readers know all about Darryl. Darryl is my all time favorite POSTAL EMPLOYEE. In fact the post office should clone him and place him in every facility around the Country! If they did people would want to send letters and mail packages! He is SO customer oriented, and he truly goes out of his way for everyone! His kindness doesn't lead to inefficiency. He can process a line at the post office quickly while talking to you, and addressing all your needs. I know it well since he helped me for many years with the Foundation's December mass mailings. Darryl would hand cancel 500 envelopes for me so that the pens inside wouldn't crack when going through the regular stamping machines. Darryl proudly wears our Foundation awareness pin on his tie, he looks out for our Mattie Miracle mailbox and as you can see is even posing with one of our Walk flyers. If any of our supporters visit the Shirlington Post Office in Arlington, make sure to look for Darryl and say hi! He is a peach and you will see why his customers love him. 


This wonderful photo was sent to us today from Mattie's school. Mattie's memorial Yellowwood Tree just started to bloom. I was there last week and it wasn't blooming. So it seems rather symbolic in timing for the Walk that the tree would unfurl its blossoms for the occasion. A message from Mattie! 

May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 15, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie was standing next to Bob Weiman, the head of Mattie's lower school. Bob is also known as the "Magic Man" by my faithful readers. Bob visited Mattie often in the hospital and taught Mattie magic. Mattie loved it and gravitated to magic. They performed at the hospital together and even at the first Walk, which is why as a tradition there is still a magic show run by Bob at every Foundation Walk. In addition, you can be assured that this trick you see here is incorporated into the show. It is the peanut butter and booger trick, or as Bob calls it, the Mattie Brown trick. They learned and perfected it together. Of course anything with the title "booger" in it is a riot to a six year old! Magic empowered Mattie and it made him feel special. I think his smile says it all. 


Quote of the day: Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. Harriet Tubman


I am happy to report that as of tonight, the Foundation's Walk grand total is $61,000! Of which our Walk Teams have raised $19,000! It is an incredible achievement to have met our goal before the event. 


In addition, this evening we secured our 7th corporate sponsor for this year's walk! Thank you Voxiva for becoming a platinum sponsor! Voxiva enabled us to officially meet our $60,000 goal tonight! 


But here is the beautiful story. All of my posters and programs to promote our corporate sponsors at the Walk are already printed. Therefore there is no professional way for me to acknowledge our new corporate sponsor in the same manner at the event. This did not matter to Voxiva, because as their CEO told me.... it isn't about the acknowledgments, it is about supporting the cause. A cause their whole office is committed to, you see, because this is the company Peter works for. It was a very touching contribution tonight and I am thrilled that we are lucky to have 7 great companies standing behind our mission and who believe in what we are doing. 

May 13, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. This was the first Mattie Walk, that was hosted by our care and support community. They wanted Mattie to know they were behind him and were celebrating his pending end of treatment. Of course none of us knew that 6 weeks off of treatment, Mattie's cancer was going to spread everywhere. The Foundation has built off of this Walk, but the premise of the Walk started when Mattie was alive. What I love about this photo was you may notice that Mattie was looking at the ground! As if he lost something, or was looking for something he dropped! What he was looking for were.... tent moth caterpillars. He actually came home that day from the Walk with about 6 of them! Not unusual, since Mattie loved to watch the metamorphosis process every spring. Next to Mattie is Zachary, Mattie's closest preschool buddy and pushing Mattie in the wheelchair is Brandon, Mattie's big buddy from the hospital. But who I also notice in the background of this photo was Margaret. My friend and Mattie's preschool teacher who died last June after battling ALS. 


Quote of the day: If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody. Chinese Proverb


I am too tired to write tonight, but I did want to post this beautiful photo my good friend Mary Ann sent me. We call this glorious rose bush, "Margaret's bush." It is a rose bush near where Mary Ann lives. After Margaret died, Mary Ann would pass this bush and think about Margaret. Especially after I mentioned that Margaret loved and cultivated all kinds of roses. As a tribute to Margaret's death, I began to collect photos of roses and Mary Ann sent me several, including some from this bush. So in a way we like to follow the health and look of this bush throughout the seasons. To me, today's sight was glorious despite the grey skies. 

May 12, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 -- Mattie died 296 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2004. This was a classic Mattie move! Peter caught it on camera, which I am very happy about. Mattie used to put his cheek up to mine and then squeeze as tightly as he could. For a little person his grip seemed super strong, but I remember his skin to be incredibly soft! 



Quote of the day: No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. Calvin Coolidge


The crazy pace continues! I feel like a rat on a thread mill. If one wanted to know what I do in any given day, it would be hard to describe, but I assure you it isn't pretty. It is one task after the other, after the other. It is almost sickening. It gets to the point that I am so programmed, it is hard to slow down and function on living, sleeping, or eating. Which is why post-Walk is also a major adjustment and let down if you will. 

This evening one of the things we worked on was designing this big poster display for our cup distribution table. Each walk team is assigned a cup color. Each time a team member completes a lap around the track, they earn a colorful cup that can be placed in the challenge wall, which is a chain link fence. The goal is to fill the challenge wall by the end of the walk. The team with the most number of cups in the wall by the end of the event, wins the challenge! 

When I talk about the challenge wall and sticking cups through it, this is an example of what I am talking about! It is my hope that this new walk concept motivates people to walk and engages folks this year. Clearly the team concept has taken off and has really helped us raise over $17,000 for the Foundation!

May 11, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2005. We took Mattie that weekend to a butterfly house in the Smithsonian. We always found it intriguing how butterflies were attracted to Mattie! They loved to fly around him and land right on him. Mattie understood that he had to be gentle with the butterflies and not touch or pull on their wings. It was a beautiful life lesson to watch unfold. 


Quote of the day: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had a long day today with walk planning meetings, running around town picking up posters, and other last minute chores. We still are getting things printed up, we await our t-shirts, and there are still other outstanding items on the list. But I truly love when people tell me that the Walk runs itself now. That makes me laugh! I should be so lucky. There is nothing about this Walk that runs itself, NOTHING! Especially when I revamp the Walk like I did this year, then my work load seems to increase ten fold. 

I leave you tonight with a video, or podcast as Mattie's school calls it, that the lower school showed today to the children. The podcast was recorded last week in front of Mattie's memorial tree. I was there for the recording and brought the Mattie Miracle banner to add to the scene. The recording was done by the 5th grade girl scout troop. This is the same troop that I had the opportunity to come and speak with in March and share some information about Mattie Miracle, as well as treat them to Mattie cupcakes. This troop is even setting up some tables at our Walk and assisting children in creating bird feeders to take home with them in honor of Mattie. Since Mattie loved nature and the birds. The purpose of the podcast is to let other lower school students know about the Walk, to encourage them to attend, and to promote the fact that May 15th is "get your orange" on at school. The children will be allowed to wear orange to school that day in honor of Mattie and the Foundation. The school typically wears a uniform at the lower school grade level, so this is a very lovely gesture to motivate the children to want to participate and learn more. 

FIFTH GRADE JUNIOR GIRL SCOUT TROOP VIDEO:

http://bcove.me/2vqljzwf

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken on Mother's Day of 2007. We went out for brunch together in Maryland, at one of Mattie's favorite restaurants. This restaurant has a huge pond out front with turtles in it and fish. Mattie loved it and when he got tired of sitting still inside the restaurant, Peter would take Mattie outside for an adventure. In this photo Mattie was posing for the camera and with his arms he was trying to express how much he loved me, which was very sweet! A lovely mother's day gift to remember. 






Quote of the day: Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~ Author Unknown

Though on some level I knew today was Mother's Day, I was so busy with Foundation Walk plans, I literally worked the entire day. From the moment I woke up, until I stopped to write this blog tonight. I am not sure if that is a good or a bad thing. Working so intensely comes at a high price, but it is what it takes to get the job done to pull off such a fundraiser for our Foundation. It is the complexities of running a company without a staff. 

I am happy to report that our fundraising total so far is over $51,000, and our 17 teams have currently raised over $15,000! It is beyond impressive what a group of committed people have achieved in a month's time!

I received many lovely emails today from friends, which I am very grateful for, one of which was from our lead psychologist who is working with us on our National standards project. She wanted me to know that she considers me the "mother of the National Psychosocial Standards Project." A very high honor given the person paying me the compliment and also the whole notion of what these standards represent (care for all children with cancer). This comment has stayed with me the entire day and probably will for quite some time to come!

The origin of Mother's day in the United States is worth reflecting on. It did not start out as a holiday of commercialism. Instead, it all started after a woman lost her mom and wanted to pay tribute to her........................................  

The origin of Mother's Day in the US: In the United States, Mother's Day did not become an official holiday until 1915. Its establishment was due largely to the perseverance and love of one daughter, Anna Jarvis. Anna's mother had provided strength and support as the family made their home in West Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where her father served as a minister. As a girl, Anna had helped her mother take care of her garden, mostly filled with white carnations, her mother's favorite flower. When Mrs. Jarvis died on May 5, 1905, Anna was determined to honor her. She asked the minister at her church in West Virginia to give a sermon in her mother's memory. On the same Sunday in Philadelphia, their minister honored Mrs. Jarvis and all mothers with a special Mother's Day service. Anna Jarvis began writing to congressmen, asking them to set aside a day to honor mothers. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day and a year later every state celebrated it.

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My friend and colleague, Jean, sent me a Mother's Day email message. It is a message that was circulated through a mother's group. I found it so meaningful regarding the loss of a child that I decided to post it below:

Before we head into Mother’s Day Weekend, I just wanted to remind you to reach out to your friends who’ve lost children. It’s hard to talk about this, but we can do hard things. What I’ve learned from Jessica and from hundreds of other bereaved mamas is that there is nothing we can do or say to make it better. Just not a thing. It’s the worst thing in the world, losing a child. It is the ultimate tragedy, pain unparalleled -- and nothing helps.

But there is something that makes it worse for the mother -- and that’s when others stop mentioning the angel she lost. I’ve come to believe that friends don’t fall away because they don’t care, but because they don’t know what to say to their friend to make it better.

And so what I’m suggesting is that you shouldn’t worry about that, because you can’t make it better. You can’t fix a friend's grief, but that’s okay because grief isn’t supposed to be fixed. It’s not something we need to grab from away from each other. Grief is holy. Your friend doesn’t want it taken away from her. Sometimes a mama’s boundless grief is the only proof she has left that she loved boundlessly. Great grief is the price of great love. So forget about making it better. Just call, or email and say: I am thinking of you. And of your baby. And I love you. And I’m so sorry. You are not alone.

That’s all, That’s all we can do. We don’t have to make it better. We just have to remember. You know that word: remember? I love it. Opposite of dismember. Remember means to put back together. To become whole. When we remember each other, we put our human family back together. We belong to each other.

And to you, to you who’ve lost mothers, and to you, whose mothers were never able to mother you at all. And to you, dying to be a mama but not one yet. And to you, whose baby made someone else a mama, too. I’m remembering you today. Remember Each Other.
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I end tonight with two photos of Mattie's fountains. Peter cleaned them out today and got them working again after a long winter. Peter does this for me every Mother's Day in honor of Mattie. Mattie and Peter created these fountains for me back in July of 2008, for my birthday. 


Mattie's second fountain. When Peter and I go away to the beach we collect shells. I always add new shells to the fountain in honor of Mattie.