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

July 18, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday,  July 18, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. Mattie was in the hospital recovering from a sternotomy. Which basically opened up his chest cavity to remove nine tumors from his lungs. This was truly hard for Mattie because this was his third major surgery in a very short period of time. Yet despite the medical trauma piling up all over the place, there was a level of trust and understanding all three of us had with one another. We were all vulnerable on every level, yet together we confronted issues head on. Mattie always knew if something went wrong, we were certainly going to step in and correct it. He had trust and faith in us. 

Quote of the day: Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~  Brené Brown

I am sure there are people who read this blog who tune into TED talks on line. What is TED? Well it is...................... a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Literally you can just google TED, and you will see hundreds of talks presented by well known professionals at your fingertips. I have seen probably a handful of TED talks over the years, but this morning I tuned into a talk called the Power of Vulnerability. Presented by Dr. Brene Brown. 

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Brené is the author of three #1 New York Times Bestsellers: Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.

In any case, Brown's 2010 TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 25 million viewers. So keep that in mind. 

I really thought I was going to like this topic and talk but the more I listened to it, the more I felt annoyed by what I was hearing. I felt she was very self serving, and though she maybe trying to emulate vulnerability right there on the stage for us, it did not resonate with me. In fact, I felt that she was making the vulnerabilities people have shared with her over the years seem almost trite. What truly caught my attention is that she spent six years investigating the Power of Vulnerability through analyzing interviews, essays people have submitted to her and so forth. The length of time doesn't surprise me per se, because she was on a quest, but what surprised me was WHAT SURPRISED HER! She was so perplexed by the fact that "wholehearted" people (people who cultivate certain things like resilience, gratitude, authenticity, trust, creativity, meaningful work and at the same time are able to let go certain things in their lives) find being vulnerable beneficial. It isn't truly negative. In fact, she says that being vulnerable is the "birthplace of joy, love, creativity, and belonging."

Brown was so surprised by the benefits of vulnerability that she turned to the help of a therapist for a year to help her process her findings. Mainly because this realization was counter intuitive to her and most likely disproved her hypotheses. As she kept on talking, I began to understand why she needed to go to see a therapist because she herself was afraid of being vulnerable. Like so many in our world, being vulnerable is viewed as weak. WE CAN'T look weak or OUT of control! God forbid. The problem with all of this is that life is FILLED with vulnerabilities and unless we confront them, talk about them and work on them, they only stifle our growth and development. 

It is through confronting and living with vulnerability that we truly learn more about ourselves and the world around us. I wasn't at all surprised as Brown was, by the feedback she got from others who live with vulnerability. Look at that photo of Mattie above. Peter and I lived with extreme vulnerability 24/7 for over 15 months. In fact, I would argue we still live with vulnerability. We are a couple who raised a child for seven years and wanted a family, and now thanks to cancer we are left childless. We no longer fit in with our friends and we continue to work on defining ourselves and our relationship with each other. This does something to you, but in the process it also opens up your thinking and how you feel about yourself, your circumstances, and the rest of the world. Can I understand Brown's initial perspective on vulnerability, sure! But it was a limited perspective. A perspective in a way devoid of actual experience with vulnerability. 

Now with that said, would life have been better for Peter and I without this monumental vulnerability? Absolutely! Do I think I would have found joy, happiness, and creativity in other ways..... MOST DEFINITELY! What I agree wholeheartedly with Brown on is that we can't selectively numb vulnerabilities, without numbing all emotions such as joy, gratitude, and happiness. When we numb how we feel the by-product is that we are deeply miserable and constantly looking for purpose and meaning in our lives. 

To View Brown's Power of Vulnerability Talk, click below:

1 comment:

Margy Jostgt said...

I know at some point, I will write more about this post. It was a beautiful in the truth of every part. We are all vulnerable at tine. Some more than others. Some never at all, so they claim but being vulnerable is a gift because it truly opens your eyes to yourself and other
I could always hug Mattie through his pictures. It is heartbreaking to think of how much he suffered Ann hurt! I thank you for true look of Mattie's life during treatment