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 4, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken on February 18, 2009. This was classic Mattie! Mattie was in his PICU room building something out of Popsicle sticks and at the same time was eating a cupcake. Mattie was the ultimate multi-tasker. Some people who do more than one thing at a time, don't do either task well. Mattie however, could concentrate on multiple things at one time and the products of each were excellent. 

Quote of the day: As I walk through the redwood trees, my sneakers sopping up days of rain, I wonder why bereaved people even bother with mourning clothes, when grief itself provides such an unmistakable wardrobe. ~ Jandy Nelson

Today is World Cancer Day. Typically when cancer is discussed we think about adults. But we can't forget about our children. Cancer is the #1 killer of children by disease, and every three minutes a child around the world is diagnosed with cancer.

Over the past 20 years only three new drugs have been approved for use in children, while most children are treated with drugs from the 1950's and 1960's. Cancer is much more than a physical disease. We can't forget that 59% of children treated develop a mental health issue and PTSD is well documented in parents whose children have completed treatment.

  1. Every day 46 children are diagnosed with cancer (American Childhood Cancer Organization, 2014).
  2. Each day, 7 children die from cancer (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Cancer Statistics Review/ National Cancer Institute, 2012).
  3. As a result of treatment, 59% of children have a diagnosable mental health issue (DeMaso & Shaw, 2010).
  4. Childhood cancer threatens every aspect of the family's life and the possibility of a future, which is why optimal cancer treatment must include psychosocial care (Institute of Medicine, 2008 - Cancer Care for the Whole Patient).
  5. The provision of psychosocial care has been shown to yield better management of common disease-related symptoms and adverse effects of treatment such as pain and fatigue (Jacobsen et al., 2012).
  6. For children and families, treating the pain, symptoms, and stress of cancer enhances quality of life and is as important as treating the disease (Institute of Medicine 2015 - Comprehensive Care for Children with Cancer and Their Families).
  7. Childhood cancer survivors reported higher rates of pain, fatigue and sleep difficulties compared with siblings and peers, all of which are associated with poorer quality of life (Children's Oncology Group Long Term Follow-Up Guidelines, 2013).
  8. Changes in routines disrupt day-to-day functioning of siblings (Alderfer et al., 2010). Siblings of children with cancer are at risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD (Alderfer et al., 2003). 
  9. Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder are well documented for parents whose children have completed cancer treatment (Kazak et al., 2004).
  10. Chronic grief has been associated with many psychological (e.g., depression and anxiety) and somatic symptoms (e.g., loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, fatigue), including increased mortality risk (Alam et al., 2012).

Today I hosted a birthday luncheon for my friend, Ann. I selected a restaurant overlooking the Potomac River, which was the perfect choice since it was grey and cloudy today. Yet being in this bright, open and picturesque restaurant seemed to help how we all felt. 

The table was garnished with all sorts of flowers which also made it feel like it was spring in February! Around the table with me were many of our mutual friends from Mattie's preschool. It is an interesting dynamic for me to be surrounded by women, in which our commonality is our children. That is how we met, however, I am the only one in the group whose child is no longer living. It is natural that these women would talk about their children, their happenings in their lives, and the issues associated with raising teenagers. Nothing of which I can relate to anymore. Which to put it bluntly is hard. But as a bereaved parent, I could either curl up in a corner and ignore the world (which I do on occasion) or try to function in the every day world. 

For years I knew Ann's favorite dessert is a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. So I asked this restaurant whether I could bring a cake in from the outside. They accommodated my request. 

Our waiter, Anthony, was lovely! He took this photo of us. From left to right (standing) are:
Mary, Catherine, Tina, Jane, Dawnee, and me. Of course Ann is our seated guest of honor.  

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