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

December 7, 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2009. Mattie was home between treatments. As you can see he was visited by our resident jack russell terrier, JJ. JJ and Mattie practically grew up together. JJ loved playing and running around with Mattie, and when Mattie got sick, JJ truly tried to understand what was going on. It made no sense to him that Mattie could no longer walk and run. JJ's owner always promised us a puppy from JJ's litter when Mattie got older. But of course that wasn't meant to be. I do know that if Mattie were alive, he would have LOVED Sunny. 


Quote of the day: In order to be old and wise, you first have to be young and stupid. ~ Unknown



I went to Mattie's school today to give about a 35-40 minute presentation on Mattie and Mattie Miracle. If I had any doubt, today confirmed why I became a post-secondary educator! I much prefer teaching college and graduate students ANYDAY! Before me today were high schoolers! This is not a great age group to try to instill childhood cancer facts or even to have insights or empathy for children and teens who battle this disease daily. Developmentally they are of an age in which sickness only happens to the old. That they are inpermeable to sickness or death. 

I swear as I was talking to this group, all that ran in my head was...... Anyone, anyone, Bueller, Bueller!!! If you aren't a fan of the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, then you have no idea what I am talking about. I attached the clip of the the movie that I am referring to below! Basically there is a boring teacher droning on in the movie and the students are looking at him doubt founded.

Anyone, Anyone from Ferris Bueller's Day off:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxPVyieptwA

In all my years of teaching, I never experienced a class like this today. Students were glazed over and some were dozing asleep. There could be many explanations for this.... the topic, the early morning hour of the class, or the fact that I was asking them to look and listen to a presentation. Most high school classes now involve VERY little didactic learning. There is more hands on assignments and more student directed teaching. Of course that doesn't work too well when coming in to talk about a topic they have NO EXPERIENCE with!!! Yet I had to keep my emotions in check because I was talking about a very personal topic and when there is NO interest or lack of respect for what I am talking about, this can produce frustrastion or anger. However, I acknowledged that feeling within myself, and moved on because I rationalized the complexities of dealing with a teenage population. However, there were NO reactions at all to my four minute remembrance video of Mattie. I think that is shocking, especially since I have shown this video to a host of classes of all ages, and always got some sort dialogue going.

I would like to say that this is a teenager issues, but I know when I was in high school, my biology teacher showed our class a video. It was a documentary about a family raising over 18 children, several who had profound disabilities. The video was called, Who are the Debolts (http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/12/local/la-me-dorothy-debolt-20130312).  That video was so touching to me that years later, I always thought about that family and would say a special prayer for the Debolts. So I don't want to sell all teenagers short, because I do believe some are capable.


Perhaps it was today's class, followed by my experience with candy delivery last week that set me off. Last week I did two candy deliveries with student volunteers from Mattie's school. The teacher driving along with me asked the students if they knew the significance of what they were doing with the candy. One student piped in and said YES..... that Mattie was a female student at the school, but knew nothing else. So I had to correct that notion right away. Not knowing who Mattie was, after their teachers have spoken about him year after year is noteworthy to me. But now it makes sense given my experiences in the classroom today.

After I presented, I then had the opportunity to go around to each student group in the class and hear their ideas for a 3D printing project. A project that is supposed to benefit Georgetown University Hospital. Clearly some of them have creative ideas about toys they could make that would be used for distraction purposes for children in the hospital, but I guess I await to see how these projects evolve. They have another month. 


From class, I then ran chores and also made these Christmas floral displays for my friend who is having a party tomorrow night. Frankly after my last few weeks with candy, classes, and so forth, I needed this creative project today. 

2 comments:

Margy Jost said...

Every once in awhile, a blog leaves me speechless for a few minutes while I gather my thoughts. First the picture of Mattie with JJ Iis precious. Sunny would have been the perfect dog for Mattie. I did not know Mattie nor donI know Sunny well but from what I do know, I believe Sunny was chosen for you because he is the perfect family pet. You are a family forever because Mattie lives within you heart & Peter's. That will always be the truth forever.

I am appalled by the students, who were in the class where you spoke. I have long known how high school students treat fellow students that receive a cancer diagnosis. A handful of teens find support among their peers but many don't. So they are faced with a lot of isolation!
I know teens, outside of patients who do care and are involved and caring. This happens when kids from little on are taught that things in life happen that are not fair. Serious illness, like Cancer is one of those things. Those children walk with a friend through treatment, they don't run the other way. I believe it starts at home. How many adults abandon a friend who is facing illness or their child is. I believe, I have seen enough to know more walk than stay. This feeling filters down through the family. Some people just are naturally compassionate but compassion can be taught. It is taught through example at home and school. The fact that no one said anything following your video of Mattie is troubling to me. So is the fact that the student helping with the Candy delivery was helping but dud not have the bigger, more important information that came with the delivery. Mattie lived. He deserves to be known & remembered. That students involved in helping a Foundation should know why it exists and who was Mattie!
Parents think they insulate their child from hurt when they don't discuss topics like death and illnesses like cancer. However, what they are really doing is raising a child who believes life's hardships and sadness can't touch them. That it is ok to walk away or not listen respectfully to someone like you explaining the importance of the Mattie Miracle Foundation.

As you can see, I feel quite passionate about this. I have known far too many teenagers who are hurt from the coldness of supposed friends! I also have known too many parents who have not received the support, they should have!

Leslie said...

Wow... I am so sorry this was your experience today. It is so sad to see that parents are clearly not having the important and difficult discussions with their teens about what it truly means to be kind, empathetic and selfless. Please do keep educating others... It will reach so many.
Much love and peace to you from Holland.