Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 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: 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

November 25, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. The day after Thanksgiving to be exact. Peter started a holiday lighting tradition with Mattie! The day after Thanksgiving, they would work together on designing a holiday light display in our commons area. They would begin Black Friday by going to Home Depot and buying a new light addition to add to their display. I loved watching how they transformed our commons area together and because it was a commons area, we weren't the only ones who benefited from the lights. Our whole complex did. For years, people would stop me to thank us for brightening up their December! Mattie was a huge Scooby Doo fan, therefore it was no surprise that in 2008, they bought a Great Dane animated light. 

Quote of the day: Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live.  Jackie Windspear

When Mattie died the elaborate Christmas light displays that we used to put together also ended. This disappointed many of our neighbors, but Peter did not have the heart or inspiration to do this. Then a few years ago, Peter started it back up in memory of Mattie. Certainly he no longer does the displays, but Peter does string out lights. This is the only holiday decorating we do.
 A view of our balcony from the road. You can never miss us since we are the only balcony on our side that does this. But worse, I leave these lights up until the Spring. To me it isn't just about Christmas. The lights help cheer up our bleak winters. 
We have lights in two places.... on our balcony and on our deck. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. This was our last Thanksgiving with Mattie. Of course at the time, we had no idea. We were naive and we thought our biggest challenge was managing Mattie's cancer treatment. 

This adorable turkey hat was given to Mattie by his school counselor. In true Mattie fashion, he played along and put on the turkey hat. I snapped that photo because I thought it was a priceless moment in time. 

Thanksgiving of 2008, was LESS than pleasant. Mattie was home and recovering from his second limb salvaging surgery. He was in over the top pain and medical traumatic stress was beginning to take over Mattie's life and ours. Mattie was absolutely miserable in his own body and was dealing with the trauma of surgeries and living in a pediatric intensive care unit for months. There was nothing we could do to make Mattie comfortable, happy, or at peace. Thanksgiving 2008 was a day of true heartache. We tried to change the atmosphere in our home by turned on the TV and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. That was a VERY bad idea, because it further depressed Mattie. To this day, I refuse to watch, hear, or even talk about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Just hearing the name of the parade takes me right back to Thanksgiving 2008.

Quote of the day: There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American. ~ O. Henry

Today was a very long day. I would have to say I worked about 12 hours on Thanksgiving day preparations and then clean up. This is my parent's dining room table. I take no credit for this, my mom put the table together and it looked very elegant and festive.  
Meanwhile I was in control of the kitchen. I set up a buffet because it makes it slightly easier to serve multiple dishes for a group of people. Here was the menu:

Turkey with gravy
Stuffing with apples and dried cherries
Fresh cranberry sauce
Sweet potato souffle with marshmallows
String beans with fresh mint
Candied carrots
Crescent rolls
While I am in LA, Peter remains home in Washington, DC. Peter and Sunny went to our friend's house today. They sent me this photo! It is hard to believe that just about a week ago, Ann's table was filled and covered with candy. Funny what a difference a week makes. 

November 23, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2007. Mattie was home recovering from his second limb salvaging surgery. At that point Mattie became truly disabled and was unable to walk, toilet himself, or even feed himself. Our living room was transformed into a hospital room, as this hospital bed replaced our couch. However, whenever companionship was needed, Nurse Patches came to the rescue. She was an amazing cat because she had a sixth sense about sickness, and as you can see just knew Mattie needed her. 

Quote of the day: In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~ Albert Schweitzer

Each Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Mattie's school has a "Saintsgiving" event. This is an event in which students and faculty can freely volunteer to help with school selected projects that will benefit the community. Each November Mattie's school chooses to help sort Mattie Miracle candy and also make sandwiches for Martha's Table. 

Peter went to Saintsgiving today and pictured with Peter are Bob Weiman (Assistant Head of School, and the Magic Man--- as Bob came to the hospital weekly to teach Mattie how to perform magic tricks) and Kirsten Adams (Head of School).

All the kids and adults you see in this photo came to volunteer on their own volition. They aren't getting service hours or anything in return for their hours of support! 
A table of kids sorting candy and clearly full of smiles!
A colorful table indeed! Though Mattie Miracle is MUCH more than just candy, the candy drive does help kids have a better understanding for some of the direct psychosocial services we provide families. It is the hope as they learn more about us they may want to participate in our other events. 
The girl with the braid, on the right, is Claire. Claire was in Mattie's kindergarten class. Of course now she is in 9th grade. 
The assembly line of candy sorting! Basically children and adults would sort candy at their tables and once their table was sorted, that sorted candy came to this centralize location. 
There were signs for each bag, so kids and adults knew which candy went in what bag. Our friend Ann worked very hard to organize this massive sorting event, and what I can say is candy sorting is now officially over! Mind you we started sorting on November 1! Twenty three days later, over 10,000 pounds have been sorted!!! Now that is something to be thankful for. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 -- Mattie died 375 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was in the hospital recovering from his second limb salvaging surgery. What was so remarkable about all of this was how Mattie decided to entertain himself. He wanted to play around with the computer, so I set it up for him and then used the only limb he had that wasn't operated on! His left leg got the nick name of "Curious George." Mainly because it was always getting into trouble by doing all sorts of things. Mattie was skilled with this left foot, and used it just like a hand with fingers. To me this photo captured the strength, power, creativity, and persistence to carry on in the face of adversity. 

Quote of the day: Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. ~ William Arthur Ward

I am happy to report that 5,000 pounds of candy was removed from my friend's garage and transported to Mattie's school. Mattie's school helps to store the candy and also assists me on two of the 12 candy deliveries I need to make this year. This team of students and faculty were our candy helpers today who helped load the truck with bins and bins of candy. The teacher on the far left is Larry Jenney. Larry was one of Mattie's kindergarten teachers. Larry understood Mattie beautifully as a teacher and Mattie truly respected Larry. Now years later, Larry is still supporting us and Mattie Miracle. The other teacher on the far right is Mary. Mary is new to the school, but has helped me coordinate today's candy pick up and our next deliveries around town on December 2. 

The students hard at work! This was the first year these particular students helped us with loading the truck. I have a feeling they learned first hand just how heavy candy in bulk is. 
The progress being made, as they picked up 40 bins filled with candy today!
It is a back and forth kind of process between the garage and the truck, and though this may look easy, there is nothing easy about picking up and lifting these bins into the truck. 
This is the after photo... with the garage emptied of most of the bins. However, in the back of the garage are 20 more bins and boxes and boxes of candy, which Peter and I will have to deliver on our own. 
A photo of the bus leaving from my friend's house. The bus transported the students to the house, since the truck can only fit a driver and passenger. So it truly is a caravan of candy!!! 

You maybe asking yourself.... how did Vicki capture these photos today? Well I didn't since I am in Los Angeles. But thankfully my friend Mary oversaw the whole process and kindly took these photos and sent them to me. The power of technology! A big thank you to Mary!!! 

November 21, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008, about a week after Mattie's second limb salvaging surgery. If you could see the number of IVs and monitors connected to Mattie, you wouldn't believe it. It was an octopus of chords. The only limb that Mattie could easily move was his left leg. His arms and right leg had all been operated on. Yet given how incapacitated he was and the level of pain.... look at that smile!!!

Quote of the day: Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~ Margaret Cousins

Today I flew to Los Angeles to visit my parents. This was the sight I saw flying into LA.
The city of LA! I took this photo because I could see a plane right outside our window. It blends into the photo, but if you look closely you can see the plane hovering over the small cloud in the middle of the photo! To me it is disconcerting to see such big aircraft so close to us. This wasn't the first one I saw either. We flew over several others throughout this cross country flight.
Meanwhile, now that I am not home, someone needs to care for Sunny. Peter took Sunny to his office today! Apparently Sunny fit right in and was a hit of the office.

Sunny has never been to Peter's office before and frankly I wasn't sure how he would do. I had confidence in him given his wonderfully patient, calm, and obedient disposition!
Peter tells me that the office wants Sunny back for periodic visits throughout the year because they find him therapeutic! That is exactly how I feel about Sunny, which is why I really want him to be certified as a therapy dog.
Peter had to attend a business meeting today and look who also joined in!!! I find it amazing how intuitive and sensitive Sunny is to others and his surroundings.

Peter and I got very lucky when we rescued Sunny, because I selected him sight unseen. I just fell in love with his photos the shelter provided! Something in the photos spoke to me. Perhaps it was his eyes or his facial expression. Either case, Sunny is a great match for us and we need him as much as he needs us.

November 20, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tonight's photo was taken in July of 2008, right before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. Mattie loved taking baths and when he collected all the soap bubbles and placed them on his chin, I called him.... Santa Mattie. Mattie got a huge kick out of that name!!!

Quote of the day: Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished. Dean Koontz 

We took Sunny for his third training session today. His final class is next week and then on December 4th he and I get evaluated/tested. If Sunny passes his test, he will get a Canine Good Citizen certification. A certification which is needed in order for him to apply to a pet therapy program. If accepted into the pet therapy program, then we will take a six week training class plus undergo an internship within a hospital setting. 

Some organizations make qualifying for pet therapy training easier than others. I am going with the most rigorous program, so Sunny will qualify to work in hospitals with children who have cancer. 

It was frigid today and windy. Winds like I have never seen before. You felt like you were going to become airborne. Which made walking Sunny challenging. Later in the afternoon, Peter was on the couch watching a game and he was joined by our two furry family members! Seemed like the perfect place to be on such a cold day.