Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

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: 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

January 3, 2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2003. We took Mattie to one of his favorite spots in Los Angeles.... Travel Town. Travel Town is a paradise for anyone who loves trains... exploring them, walking on tracks and hopping in and out of antique trains. As you can see Mattie and Peter were walking the tracks together. Mattie was a HUGE train affectionato, and always wanted to visit Travel Town!

Quote of the day: If they weren’t good for you in 2015, they won’t be great for you in 2016. Let them go. ~ Robert Tew

St. Lucia is part of the Lesser Antilles, it lies between the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent to the south and Martinique to the north. There are around 170,000 people living on the island. The island changed hands 14 times, tossed back and forth between the British and the French, with Britain being the final ruler of the island. English is the primary language, but French Patois is also spoken. All the towns on the island have French names.  

St. Lucia lives up to its national anthem….. “land of beaches, hills and valleys, fairest isle of all the earth.” From its dramatic black sand beaches along the southwest coast to gardens bursting with color, St. Lucia dazzles with a brilliant palette. This beautiful emerald isle boasts the national rainforest – 19,000 acres of verdant valleys carpeted with giant ferns and brilliantly colored orchids. 

Today's tour was HELLISH. It was eight hours, which is long for a tour in general, but it was the nature of the tour. We were riding in a tiny bus for eight hours on very windy and mountainous roads. It was like being on a bad amusement ride, but the problem was you couldn't get off. The tour was not described well when we signed up for it, because about 85% of it was spent on a bus. When you visit a tropical island you want to be walking and experiencing it, not trapped in a bus on windy roads. 

St. Lucia's two top industries are agricultural, particularly bananas and cocoa (of which 70% of their cocoa beans are sent to Hershey and Nestle in the USA), and tourism. 

Here you can see how they cultivate their bananas. They protect the fruit in blue bags as it grows, so insects and other animals avoid it and there is a colored ribbon around the bag to indicate when it needs to be picked. Once bananas are produced and picked, the tree is destroyed since it is a one hit wonder. 

The majestic twin peaks of the Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage site seem to rise straight from the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Each of these mountains were created from hardened lava, and towers over 2,000 feet in the air. 

We visited Balenbouche Estate briefly. All stops were brief, because in my opinion this was more of a bus trip than a tour. However, to get from any one attraction to another requires major traversing on windy roads. 

We met the owner of this estate. She inherited from her father-in-law. This was an 18th century sugar mill plantation, and she operates it today as a museum, garden, and inn. 

From this look out on the island we could see the Caribbean on the left and the Atlantic on the right. 

St. Lucia has the only drive-in volcano in the Caribbean. The volcano is called Sulphur Springs and upon approaching it you understand why! The incredible rotten egg smell is downright overwhelming and takes adjusting to. But what is fascinating is that a road runs right up and through the volcano’s crater. Bubbling mud pots border steam vents that erupt as high as 50 feet in the air. 

Keep in mind that every thing white is steam from the Sulphur Springs. Not only was this a site to see, but it provided a smell I won't forget anytime soon!

The next major stop on our tour was at Morne Coubaril Estate. We had a traditional creole lunch outside which was memorable and then walked the gardens and saw the cocoa house. This Estate produces cocoa for export and we got to see the process of cultivating cocoa from a pod to beans and also got to see coconuts being husked. 

This is the cocoa house. When the fruit is picked from a tree, it is taken here for the beans to dry (in the wooden structures you see here). As they are drying the liquid that comes from the beans get fermented and turned into vinegar. Basically every part of the cocoa pod is used!

This is the cocoa fruit and the beans are inside the pod. 

When you open the pod above, you don't see beans, you get something that looks and tastes like a lychee nut! This nut is what dries in the wooden structures above. 

Though I typically try not to make social commentaries or view other cultures with my own Western lens, I feel the need to make this observation after visiting Antigua and now St. Lucia today. I saw incredible poverty, sanitation issues that are indescribable, and one of the worst sights to me are the dogs. The dogs are running wild everywhere and are emaciated. Some have sores on them, are not spade or neutered, and look desperate for food as they follow you around everywhere in hopes you will give them something. For islands filled with natural beauty it is hard to see animals in such dire straits, not to mention how such lush and beautiful surroundings are polluted with trash.

I end tonight's posting with a photo of a calico cat I saw today. This is our St. Lucia Patches!

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