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

September 26, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tonight's composition of Mattie was actually sent to me today from one of my Facebook friends, Tim Beck. Tim does these photo creations for hundreds of parents all over the United States. He is not a fellow cancer parent, but instead a person who volunteered at a children's hospital in Arizona and from that experience was inspired to help families by capturing memories for them. He does this without compensation. The photos that Tim incorporated in this creation all are significant. The tiny cube features a photo of Mattie during Halloween 2008, our last Halloween together. The medium sized cube has a photo of Mattie and I together on July 23, 2008, his diagnosis day, and the large cube features a photo of Mattie with his tent moth caterpillars taken in the spring of 2007. Capturing tent moth caterpillars was a spring tradition.... Mattie loved the metamorphosis process and then of course our moth releasing party on our deck.  


Quote of the day: The loss of children is a pain all bereaved parents share, and it is a degree of suffering that is impossible to grasp without experiencing it first hand. ~ Paula Stephens


A Facebook friend in Canada, who also lost his son to cancer, posted an article on his page today entitled, "What I Wish More People Understood about Losing a Child." I must admit that typically I do not like reading such articles, especially when the article decides to enlighten us by sharing a top 10 list of dos or don'ts. I normally find the lists very trite and not genuinely honest about the nature of grief. However, I have to say that this article resonated with me and this mom's tip list was spot on. Paula Stephens detailed very meaningful aspects of loss that so many parents feel and by sharing this knowledge provides insights to friends and family on ways to help us.... if one should choose to share this journey with us. Paula's tip list includes:

1. Remember our children
2. Accept that you can't "fix" us
3. Know that there are at least two days a year we need a time out
4. Realize that we struggle everyday with happiness
5. Accept the fact that our loss may make you uncomfortable


I have included the article below, if you wish to read it and learn more from this mom's perspective. What she is reporting may or may not sound earth shattering to you, but from my perspective what she is sharing is novel! It is novel because it is open, honest, and quite real. She isn't sugar coating such a profound loss or sharing with those in our lives active strategies they can implement to help us. As if there was such a magic solution to such a profound problem, a problem we never asked to happen in our lives. What she is ultimately saying is that losing child is life altering, lasts a lifetime, and unfortunately it is hard for those in our lives to watch this, experience it, and journey with us moving forward. Which is why in my opinion SO MANY OF US lose friends. I know this has happened to me and as I talk to more and more parents who lost children to cancer, this seems to be a unifying commonality. Those who understand that we can't be "fix" (and like Paula, I had friends use this term with me too), that we have day to day struggles, that happiness isn't really part of our lexicon, and can absorb all that and not walk away from us but instead remain in our lives... I commend you!


What I Wish More People Understood about Losing A Child:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17928/what-i-wish-more-people-understood-about-losing-a-child.html


September 25, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2008. I love this photo because to me Mattie was symbolically sitting on top of the world. We all thought his chemo treatments were coming to an end soon and we could focus on rehabilitation. So at the time we truly thought we were sitting on top of the world. 


Quote of the day: More often than not, we end up sharing our joys with people we love and grief with the people who love us. ~ Unknown



The WTOP Click-For-A-Cause Contest ends TODAY at 5pm! Please consider voting if you haven't already. Help us bring awareness to childhood cancer.
Mattie Miracle has secured 487 votes so far! Thank you to all of you who voted and passed along our posts to your friends and family. We greatly appreciate your support.

As of today the top three charities are: 1) Lab Rescue of the LRCP (with 3,800 votes), 2) Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (with 2,600 votes), and 3) Patriot Appreciation Program (with 2,100 votes).

The contest is closed and we ended the contest with 500 votes! Though we did not win the contest, we feel that we spread the message about Mattie Miracle's mission all over Facebook and Twitter!

We went to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital today for two reasons. One to make a $30,000 contribution to the Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund and two to launch our new bright orange family snack cart.
We have been donating to Georgetown Hospital since 2011, and to date we have contributed over $130,000 to the child life department, in addition to thousands of dollars in in-kind contributions. 

Pictured from left to right: Peter, Debbi (Mattie's Sedation Nurse Angel), Linda (Mattie's child life specialist, who I nicknamed our Angel of Caring in 2008), Tricia (Mattie's favorite Hem/Onc nurse; Mattie told Tricia one day in the hallway that he LOVED HER), Vicki, Lerin (the child life specialist who Mattie Miracle funds), Ann (our friend and board member), Sharon (Mattie's hospital chaplain), and Alice (who oversaw the management of pediatric nurses when Mattie was battling cancer). 

This is our new snack cart that we launched today. We run two item drives a year to help stock this cart! Which is why we are very grateful to all our contributors. This cart makes a huge difference in the lives of in-patient families. 









Attached to the cart, we put 7 balloons.... for each year Mattie was alive and in our lives. 

Besides the cart being more vibrant and happy looking, we also added huge magnets to the cart to indicate to others that we are its sponsor. 








We had a check signing party in the Child Life playroom. This room was very special to us, since Mattie spent a great deal of his time here. When Mattie first underwent treatment this room wasn't built. However, over the course of his treatment this room opened up and it was an absolute God sent to us. Otherwise, you are constantly confined to your hospital room. 

We had an opportunity to say a few words to those in attendance. Most of the people in the room with us were professionals who assisted us with Mattie's care. In a way, Georgetown will always be like a second home for us and those who remain working there, are the keepers of Mattie's memory with us. 

We took a photo today with Pam, the VP of Philanthropy at the Hospital.

Pictured from left to right: Ann, Peter, Pam, and Vicki




Peter and I with Tricia! We never plan a check signing party without checking that Tricia and Debbi will be working that day at the Hospital, since their presence is important to us. 






A close up of the back magnet on the snack cart!














In addition to the party, we also had the opportunity to push the snack cart around all three pediatric units with Lerin. This was a first for Peter and me. We have heard about the importance of the cart, have been told stories, but experiencing this for ourselves was vital. We remember all too well how devastated, exhausted, and traumatized parents are while living in the hospital. So many do not have time to get food for themselves. One couple told me they hadn't eaten for a day! So you can rest assure that seeing a snack cart is like seeing water in a desert. Many of the families we interacted with today wanted to pay us for the items they took. It feels awkward for them to just take something. That was fascinating to me and we are planning on making another sign for the cart to let them know that the items are free and we are doing this to support them. 

Along our journey however, we had an unexpected experience. As we went into each room, Lerin explained to parents who we were. In one particular case, a teenage patient stopped Lerin and told her she knew Mattie and that she went to school with him. This caught me by surprise. So I looked at her and her mom, and I did not recognize either of them. But it got better, this is how my mind can play tricks on me. This girl is 13 years old and in my mind I said to myself..... this girl is TOO old, there is no way she knew Mattie because Mattie is 7. I figured she was talking about a different Mattie. However, I then rationalized that in today's world Mattie would be 13 too and therefore it was very possible they went to school together. So I then began to ask her questions..... her name, what school she attends, what kindergarten class she was in and so forth. Her mom introduced herself to me, and as soon as I heard her name, I knew of her, and that she was good friends with my friend Alison. Ironically this girl's mom tried to deliver on a special gift for Mattie. Mattie always talked about wanting to be a captain of a boat. So this mom was able to contact the Navy, and get Mattie the opportunity to go on a large naval vessel and captain it for a day. Unfortunately by the time this gift presented itself, Mattie's cancer was terminal and he was not in the mood for crowds, fanfare, or to basically interact with people. But isn't it a small world.... that after six years, I should finally meet this mom face to face. I do want you to know that this teenager doesn't have cancer, but is in the hospital for another issue. She was absolutely delightful to interact with and I was very touched that she wanted to converse with us given she wasn't feeling well. Needless to say, today was the first day she could eat solid foods and the items on the snack cart were a thrill to her, as they were a thrill to us to provide them to her. 

September 24, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2009. Mattie was just admitted to the hospital (I can tell because he was wearing real clothes, whereas when he was inpatient, Mattie only wanted to wear Pajamas!) and was participating in a physical therapy session in the hallway. Mattie's physical therapist, Anna, understood that to motivate Mattie to use his body, he would need lots of activities. Over the time they worked together, I would have to say that Mattie benefited from his time with Anna, but I would also say that Anna learned from Mattie. Mattie forced everyone he worked with to think outside the box and to be creative. Anna is a great therapist and rose to the challenge and became a trusted member of our care team. 


Quote of the day: To rejoice in another's prosperity is to give content to your lot; to mitigate another's grief is to alleviate or dispel your own. ~ Tryon Edwards



The WTOP Click-For-A-Cause Contest ends tomorrow at 5pm! Have you voted? We need your help in this final push to tell your your friends and family about this contest and to vote.
Currently the top three charities are: 1) Lab Rescue of the LRCP (which assists abandoned Labrador Retrievers), 2) Patriot Appreciation (which provides support to veterans and their families), and 3) Homeward Trails Animal Rescue (rescues dogs and cats from high-kill animal shelters).
Please help us bring awareness to the life alternating diagnosis of childhood cancer for children and their families.
To vote, go to: http://wtop.com/contests/click-for-a-cause-voting/?char=m



I was running around doing chores today for tomorrow's check signing and new food cart launch at the hospital. While out, I met a friend for lunch. Several times during our lunch fellow moms from the community came by to say hello to my friend. It wasn't like this was planned, it was happenstance, that we should all be at the same place at one time. Though I have learned if you are in Alexandria City, the likelihood of bumping into someone you know is HIGH, unlike living in DC. 

In any case, coming off a week of childhood cancer events, I am already hypersensitive to my environment, but the way these moms made me feel didn't sit right. Of course this is my interpretation, after all it is possible they would have reacted to me exactly the same way even if I had a child. But while they were talking to my friend today, they made me feel invisible, as if I did not matter, or had anything to contribute to what they were saying. Which for the most part is true.... they were talking about their children's sports teams, schools, and so forth. It is correct, I have nothing to add to any of that! As I listened to all of them talk, I couldn't help but wonder what they would be talking about if cancer was in their lives and they had lost a child to cancer. I am quite sure the dialogue would be different. Of course, the way it goes in our society is I need to listen to their dialogue and woes, but the listening doesn't go both ways!

When I got home, I spent some time frosting cupcakes that I baked this morning for tomorrow's check signing party. It may look like a nice treat, but to me this is a symbolic and meaningful gesture. For a good part of Mattie's cancer battle, he lived on the cupcakes I baked. He loved them, and I used to give them to him as incentives for him participating in his physical therapy sessions. Now that Mattie is gone from our lives, I still bake cupcakes for our check signing parties, which occur EVERY September at the hospital. We select September because it was the month that Mattie died, and it happens to coincide with childhood cancer awareness month. 

While frosting cupcakes, I heard a song with the title, "I'll See you Again" playing on Pandora. As I was listening to the lyrics, I felt as if the song was meant for me to hear and at this exact moment.... because the premise of the song is about the loss of a loved one and that he maybe gone but not forgotten. I frankly did not know what the actual title of the song was or who sang it, so after some google searches, I found it below. I hope this song resonates with you as much as it did with me.  
I'll See you Again:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G57JH_Sk9Ws

September 23, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2008. Mattie was in the hospital coping with his first month of chemotherapy. Mattie hadn't lost his hair at that point, but Peter took him to the barber to get it cut very short, to start preparing us all for the transition. Right from the beginning Mattie used his creativity skills to cope with the crisis at hand. Mattie could build and design with just about any material!

Quote of the day: In youth one has tears without grief; in age, griefs without tears. ~ Joseph Roux

THREE more days left to vote in the WTOP Click-For-A-Cause contest! Voting is easy and takes ONLY SECONDS to do! Winning this contest would enable us to provide more support to children with cancer and their families!
Recently we attended childhood cancer events on Capitol Hill and on the National Mall, and several people we interacted with thought the ONLY thing Mattie Miracle did was advocacy and awareness. That is only one of the things Mattie Miracle does! We also proudly support children with cancer and their families by completely funding a child life specialist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (a professional assisting 3,500 children/families per year), providing a free snack cart to families caring for children who are in-patient (a cart which supports 1,500 families per year), and supporting a monthly pediatric nurse support group luncheon to assist these professionals who are on the front line of psychosocial care.
Help us bring awareness to childhood cancer... please vote and share this post with friends and family.

In March, Peter and I participated in an Institute of Medicine workshop in Washington, DC. At the workshop, we had the opportunity to hear Dr. Kira Bona (Pediatric Oncologist) discuss her research. For years I have heard that families can go practically bankrupt while financing their child's cancer treatment, yet I really did not have much data to support this claim. In the link below, Dr. Bona acknowledges that even at Dana Faber, which is one of the more well-resourced treatment centers in the Country, about a third of families are reporting food, housing or energy insecurity six months into treatment. This is truly significant, because in addition to a family in crisis over a cancer diagnosis and the havoc that ensues with treatment, many families are also worrying about money and their family's livelihood. 
Childhood Cancer Devastates Family Finances too

September 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 -- Mattie died 315 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie was getting stir crazy in his room and he clearly needed a diversion. So Peter blew up exam gloves and gave them to Mattie. They were like mini balloons and when Mattie's nurse came in to see him, this was the sight she saw!


Quote of the day: One often calms one's grief by recounting it. ~ Pierre Cornielle




FOUR more days left to vote in the WTOP Click-For-A-Cause contest! Imagine if everyone receiving this message voted, we would easily have over 2,000 votes! If you haven't voted yet, please follow the link below. It takes ONLY SECONDS to do!

Help us bring awareness to childhood cancer... please vote and share this post with friends and family.





There are many things about people and in our world in general that can easily put me in a funk, as it relates to childhood cancer. I went to the hospital today to prepare for Friday. On Friday, Mattie Miracle is having its annual check signing party. But in addition to donating $30,000 to the hospital we will also be launching our NEW bright orange free family snack cart. I went today to meet with Linda (Mattie's child life specialist) to attach the wonderful Mattie Miracle magnets to the cart. It is hard to describe these magnets.... they are huge and they have our logo and our website on them. I will post photos of the cart and magnets on Friday. However, while at the hospital I ran into one of the professionals we know who helped us when Mattie was battling cancer. Her intentions are always well meaning, because she feels Peter and I are good parents. But each time I see her, she encourages me to join the big brother/big sister program or to nurture and raise a child. She feels that this will help me with my grief. Some days I deal with advice better than others, but today wasn't one of those days especially when you tell me that you understand how I feel. In all reality, one may want to empathize with how Peter and I feel, but when you lose a child to cancer, have to continue living, and you haven't walked in our shoes, I would suggest that you limit your dialogue. Removing the lexicon of..... "I know how you are feeling" is a top priority. In addition, what works for one couple who is dealing with the loss of a child, doesn't always work for everyone. Which is why being prescriptive with parents who are grieving isn't a good or viable plan. 

The second issue that is fresh on my mind is the spin that the media is doing over the candle light vigil that was closed down in front of the White House this past weekend. I included two links so you could come to your own conclusion. The first link is to the coverage by our local channel 7. That article (and there was a companion live broadcast, but I can't find it on line) was actually more accurate and you can see the comments people are leaving behind. The childhood cancer community is disgusted and this weekend's performance only adds to their frustration, especially since the President has refused to turn the White House gold two years in a row. 

However, the MORE upsetting video comes from the Today Show. All I can say is.... shame on them. Several childhood cancer advocates were interviewed for the Show, however, when you see the clip, their voices and perspectives have been completely eliminated. The media is truly diverting the attention from the issues at hand and instead is making the Secret Service look like the evil ones. I suggest the media look in the mirror! Instead of shedding light on the vital issue at hand, which is childhood cancer.... that we need more research funding, increase drug development, and access to psychosocial support, we are instead bogged down over the controversy of the Secret Service. Of course there is never any mention of the President's view point on the issue or where he stands on childhood cancer. Then again, we don't need the media's spin to understand this, because actions speak louder than words.



ABC 7 -- wrote a piece about the Secret Service's apology:

https://www.facebook.com/wjlatv/posts/10153662646568734


Today Show's coverage of the Secret Service Apology to the childhood cancer community:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/846816

September 21, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015


Monday, September 21, 2015



Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie received this wonderful turkey hat from a friend, and as soon as he opened his care package, he dawned on the hat! He was by far one of the cutest turkeys around. To me this is the quintessential Thanksgiving day photo. 









Quote of the day: I measure every grief I meet with narrow, probing eyes - I wonder if it weighs like mine - or has an easier size. ~ Emily Dickinson 



WE ARE UP TO 443 votes at day 8 (out of 12) of the WTOP Click-For-A-Cause Contest.
WTOP awards the top 3 charities who secure the most votes. As of today, the top 3 are: 1) Lab Rescue of the LRCP (meeting the care needs of abandoned Labrador Retrievers), 2) Patriot Appreciation (Assists the Military Community), and 3) Through the Heart (supporting those who have lost a pregnancy).
Help us bring further awareness to the needs of children with cancer and their families. Please vote and share this post with friends and family.




On Saturday we attended Curefest's opening reception. After the reception many of the people in attendance walked to the White House for a candle light vigil. Peter and I decided not to attend for various reasons. One of which is I do not like crowds or being trapped in a location with many people. Also since I know the White House refused for a second year in a row to go Gold for September, I did not feel exactly enthralled to stand outside of the White House at a vigil. It seemed like the wrong place to be reflecting and honoring our children. The cancer community asked again this year that the White House light up in Gold lights. Here was the response:

http://www.acco.org/blog/2015/06/29/will-the-white-house-go-gold/

Given the childhood cancer community's disappointment of the White House's decision about not shining our Nation's house in GOLD, this set the stage for further anger and sadness this weekend. On Saturday evening as hundreds of children and their families walked to the White House to have their candlelight vigil, they were locked out of the space. Despite having permits and having coordinated this event through the appropriate channels. The vigil was supposed to start at 7pm, but instead children and families were locked out of the space until 10:30pm. By that time, most people left angered and deeply saddened! You can see the articles on this below. One article highlights the incident and the second is an apology from the Secret Service chief. Though these kinds of security measures are not unusual in DC, I am aware of how this lock out was perceived and how unfortunate it is that instead of bringing light to the real issue (childhood cancer and the need for more research, drug development, and access to psychosocial support) reporters and the community are focusing on being ejected from the White House and the apology that followed. Forget the apologizes and instead help us bring awareness to childhood cancer. That is how The Washington Post and the White House can help!

Kids with cancer and their parents ejected from park near White House:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/cancer-stricken-children-and-their-parents-ejected-from-park-near-white-house/2015/09/20/416665a4-5fd5-11e5-9757-e49273f05f65_story.html


Secret Service chief apologizes for how group of cancer-stricken kids was treated:


September 20, 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2007. This is one of my favorite photos I ever took of Mattie. It was taken at Butler's Orchard in Maryland. We took Mattie one weekend to Pumpkinville, to pick his own pumpkins off the vine. As you can see Mattie picked a beauty and I captured that moment in time. Ironically today we attended a national childhood cancer event on the National Mall in Washington, DC. At the event, I wore an awareness ribbon and a big picture button of Mattie, that featured this photo. At the event, I had to go into the Air and Space Museum to use the restroom. In order to enter the museum, you need to go through security and a metal detector. As soon as the security man saw my Mattie button, he announced that I was wearing the photo of a beautiful child. I in two minutes told him about Mattie's story and that I was attending a childhood cancer rally right outside the museum. I have to say he handled it VERY WELL! Better than most people I know. I would have to say that this happenstance interaction may have been one of my MOST memorable moments of today!!! Sometimes you can feel when someone gets the magnitude of what you are saying, without them having to say much. He was that kind of person!


Quote of the day: At some of the darkest moments in my life, some people I thought of as friends deserted me-some because they cared about me and it hurt them to see me in pain; others because I reminded them of their own vulnerability, and that was more than they could handle. But real friends overcame their discomfort and came to sit with me. If they had not words to make me feel better, they sat in silence (much better than saying, "You'll get over it," or "It's not so bad; others have it worse") and I loved them for it. ~ Harold Kushner


We walked from our home today to Curefest on the National Mall. Keep in mind that is three miles each way, and in tow we have a wheeled cart that was filled with all of our Foundation table items that we were going to feature at the event. Curefest is a national childhood cancer awareness event, that entails a three mile walk and family festival. It provides a venue in which the childhood cancer community can unite together with one voice. 


At the event there was a tribute wall, filled with photos of children who are battling the disease, survivors, or have died. Mattie's photo was on the panel on the left, at the bottom. 








A close up of Mattie's tribute














One of the foundations that attended created this wonderful GOLD superstar and encouraged people to take photos with it! 







This is the back of the Curefest t-shirt. Mattie Miracle was a proud Bronze Sponsor! 


















When we got to the mall and began setting up, it was cool and extremely windy! It made for a very challenging set up. Fortunately I brought packing tape with us, and we literally taped everything down!


We had help today under our Foundation Tent. We learned last year that we needed to bring help for part of the hours this year. Otherwise we really can't leave our tent. So helping us were two of our board members, Tamra Bentsen and Ann Henshaw. Along with Ann's aunt Helen, and her daughter Abbie. Also featured in the photo is Lerin Raines. Lerin is the newest member to the child life staff at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, a position that Mattie Miracle fully funds. Pictured left to right: Tamra, Lerin, Vicki, Abbie, Ann, and Helen

We met our newest friend today. We met Margy
on Facebook, as she follows our postings faithfully and always has incredible insights and compassion to share with us. Margy is a play therapist by training and has helped hundreds of families over the course of her career. The beautiful part about Margy is she understands the importance of psychosocial support and that this support shouldn't end when the family's relationship with the hospital does. It was wonderful to put a face with a name today! 
Pictured left to right: Ken (Margy's husband), Margy, Lerin, Vicki, Abbie, and Helen 

In the tent next to us was the Chris Lantos Foundation. Ilona (the co-founder of the Chris Lantos Foundation) and I have been friends since 2013, when Chris, her only child died from Leukemia. 
The young girl featured with us is named Victoria. Victoria is working with Ilona as an intern. One of the wonderful attractions at their tent was this adorable R2D2 from Star Wars. It was a very popular stop for young and old alike, and even dogs got a kick of the sounds it made. 

The three mile walk taking place around the Mall. 

Another perspective of the Walk!












Throughout this five hour event, there were presentations, singers, poetry read, stories told, and bands that played. 
This husband and wife team visited our tent last year and came back to find us this year. They live in New York and faithfully read our postings and support the work that we do. Lisa added Mattie's name to her t-shirt today. She walked in honor of all of these children. 





Peter snapped a photo of me with the Capitol way in the background, and as you can see there were many white Foundation tents dotting the walking track. 

So I already told you about my chance encounter with a security guard at the museum. But another and unexpected moment occurred while I was at the event. I was crossing the field to come back to my tent, and I saw a dad that I know (he too lost his son to cancer) standing in the middle of the field all by himself and crying. Not just a tear or two, but sobbing. As I approached him, I saw that NO ONE was paying a bit of attention to him or giving him the time of day. Mind you we were at a childhood cancer event where the attendees are mostly families touched by cancer. So the fact that no one stopped to talked to him, further stunned me. I must admit, my first reaction was to to pass him by, which is what I did and figured he needed to be by himself. But as I almost got to my tent, I turned around and he was still distraught. So I headed right back to him. I literally said to him that I came over because I thought he could use a hug. Which is what I did and he freely accepted it. Now that could have been the end of the encounter, but it wasn't. Instead, I was able to learn more about this dad's true feelings about grief. Feelings that I relate to wholeheartedly. However, these are feelings many people aren't courageous enough to admit to. So though I went back to offer my support to this man, what happened was we shared a meeting of the minds and hearts and to me that was one of the most powerful experiences of the day.