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

February 29, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2003. Mattie was 11 months old and it was his first plane trip ever. We took Mattie to Los Angeles because I had a professional conference to attend there and my parents were going to spend time with Mattie while I went for the day. I snapped this photo of Mattie. I happen to love it! You can see his excitement over the camera.... he was going to reach out and grab it from me. 

Quote of the day: Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you. ~ George R.R. Martin

Today I returned to the George Washington University. I haven't been there in YEARS. When Mattie developed cancer in 2008, I left and never returned. However, in the beginning of February, I was asked to be a reader for a dissertation and to serve on this young women's dissertation defense. Which is basically a two hour meeting in which questions are fired at the doctoral student about his/her original research. The student has to defend her study and is evaluated on her cogent answers. 

I met Elaina, the student in question, years ago. She sent me an email because she heard about me most likely from her advisor. Elaina wanted to hear about my experiences with childhood cancer and the Foundation and mentioned that she was interested in working with this population and conducting research on parents whose children have cancer. So I connected Elaina with the co-leader of our Standards project at NIH. Which is who Elaina landed up working with and also this is how Elaina captured data for her dissertation. So as Elaina said, I was meant to be on her committee from start to finish. 

I know all too well how challenging it is to capture data and it literally took me TWO YEARS to find an agency that would allow an outsider in to assess their services. So when you as a student find someone who can help you, they are a God sent. However to be honest I graduated in 2003, and I haven't really be involved in the dissertation process since then. So when Elaina asked me to do this, my first feeling was DOUBT. I wasn't sure I could do this nor sit on a committee with a bunch of academicians. However, tonight's quote swirled around in my mind..... never forget who you are! Who I am is not only a person with a doctorate, a mental health professional, but also a woman who knows first hand the impact of childhood cancer on relationships (which was the nature of this study). I am in essence a subject matter expert and no one can take that away from me. This is the final gift Mattie gave me, and I always try to do something with that gift of knowledge. 

I came into the defense today armed with many questions. What I was proud about is that my questions were unique and substantive, so much so, that Elaina's chair of her committee is asking her to add many of the points I addressed in the meeting into her dissertation. 

Today made me remember March 10, 2003. My dissertation defense day! This photo was taken after the defense, with my entire committee. The man behind me on the left with the blue tie was Don Linkowski. Don is no longer alive. He died months after his retirement from a heart attack. But Don was special to me, and I have many items of his such as his cuckoo clock which sits in my living room. On the day of my defense before Don started to ask questions, he explained that he was wearing his PANDA POWER tie to bring me luck. I will never forget that!

In a way, getting a doctorate is like surviving the LONGEST hazing process possible. I shall never forget it. But after the defense is over, your committee takes you out to lunch. Basically to begin to acknowledge that you are ONE OF THEM! This was a photo of my mom and I at this lunch. 

A photo of me with my parents at lunch. 

Peter is pictured with me and Rob. Rob was a psychologist who oversaw the employee assistance program at a governmental agency where I conducted my study. It is thanks to Rob (his insight to understand that my study could give him the data he needed to justify his division's services) that I was able to access 100 working caregivers of family members and collect data for my dissertation. I will never forget that day, because besides passing my defense, Rob offered me a great job at his agency. In the end I decided not to take it because it wouldn't have given me the flexibility to care for Mattie. Thank goodness I made that decision, because I would have had MAJOR regret now if I hadn't made Mattie my priority when he was healthy. 

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