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

January 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 -- Mattie died 385 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2009. Mattie was in the outpatient clinic sitting by the art table, working on a clay pottery wheel. Sitting beside him were Jenny (his art therapist) and Whitney (a child life intern). Mattie made many beautiful clay pieces while battling cancer and I have each and everyone of them on display in our living room today. I am not sure that the art therapists realized this while Mattie was creating his masterpieces, but every item they did together, became important memory pieces for Peter and me. The beauty of the art table was you did not have to be physically mobile to participate and this worked out wonderfully for Mattie. I can't tell you how much insightful information we found out about Mattie and his feelings/fears about cancer while he was creating and playing at the art table. It was therapy in motion!


Quote of the day: Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back. ~ Jodi Picoult


Not to hold you in suspense after last night's blog..... but today's presentation to the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada went well. I was on the phone for TWO hours. Literally when I finished I could hardly talk. The professor was able to fix technology on her end which enabled me to see the class and hear them. Though not well. Things were muffled and filled with echos whenever they spoke. Nonetheless I gave them a comprehensive presentation of Mattie, childhood cancer facts, the importance of psychosocial support, the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, and the developmental process to create the Psychosocial Standards of Care. Fortunately I went into this presentation with NO or low expectations. Given my years teaching undergraduate and graduate students, I am very well aware of the developmental age differences between these two student groups, which directly translates into course investment and participation.  

After being on the phone for two hours, there wasn't one student comment or question. In all fairness, there were 46 students in the class and if they wanted to speak they would have to stand up and walk to the computer's microphone. Which certainly can be intimidating given the subject matter. So that didn't make free flowing communication natural to say the least. Later in the day the professor did email me and thanked me profusely. She said that the students were visibly moved and this also prevented them from talking. Nonetheless, apparently she was crying through my presentation and the students observed her! The professor has asked me to generate test questions based on my content for her course. So I am in the process of doing this as well. It was important to introduce the students to Mattie, childhood cancer in general and the standards, because their assignment is to sift the standards down into marketable handouts for professionals and for parents. It will be curious to see what that looks like over the course of the semester. 

Meanwhile, I am on a tirade within my complex. With the passing of the legalization of recreational use marijuana in DC all hell is breaking loose around me. People are smoking this foul substance in the buildings of my complex, even in public spaces (which isn't legal). So after verbally complaining for two weeks, I finally put my issues in writing to management. Before doing that, I had to stop what I was doing today to read the DC law and get educated about the issue. So my letter is below in case you are interested in reading it. From all my Internet searches today I realize I am not the only one who is complaining!

---------------------------------------------
MY LETTER---

I want to thank you both for listening to my concerns about my disheartening observations within our Complex since the passing of Initiative 71 (Legalization of Marijuana Law) in the District of Columbia. As you know I have lived here since 1994 and consider my unit to be my home. I appreciate the opportunity to put my complaints in writing with the hopes that you will share this letter with management. I imagine management is equally confused about how to proceed and to regulate residents given the passing of Initiative 71, however, I feel strongly that a stance must be made to preserve the peaceful and safe community I have come to know and appreciate over the decades.

Over the course of the last six months, I have observed the smell of marijuana in complex hallways, in the garage for residents, and I consistently see several young adults lighting up and smoking marijuana outside in the fire lane, which is a public space in DC (meaning that this is against the law and is a federal offense). I have been doing some research into the law and what is legal. I have included several links below that I feel are of value for management. In DC, two ounces or less of marijuana is legal to possess. Given the frequency and duration of smoking coming from Unit# (I removed this specific info for the blog), I suspect this resident is well beyond the legal limit. Regardless of the time of day or day of week, the entire hallway of the third floor of Building X (changed the name for the blog) is consistently inundated with the smell of marijuana. Though the resident  maybe smoking the substance in his private dwelling, the smoke is seeping into the hallway, a public space. This is infringing on the health and well-being of all of us who access and use the hallway. Mayor Bowser was interviewed by Fox 5 News on this very issue and was quoted as saying, "It is up to apartment buildings and condo buildings to regulate their smoking policies.” Specifically, because there is NO specification in the law about resident complaints and smoke seeping into shared spaces. Now is the time for management to start developing policies and procedures to handle this issue because the smoke of marijuana is not just unpleasant but also has health consequences on all of us.  

Here is what the American Lung Association has to say about marijuana smoke and also those of us exposed to secondary smoke (http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/marijuana-and-lung-health.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/):
Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more.  No one should be exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. Due to the risks it poses to lung health, the American Lung Association strongly cautions the public against smoking marijuana as well as tobacco products.

In addition to dealing with the noxious smell of this substance, there is also an issue of safety associated with the recreational use of marijuana. Though research and the FBI Uniform Crime Report shows no increase in crime with the use of medical marijuana, the verdict is still out about the use of recreational marijuana. It is quite possible and certainly a community concern that recreational use of marijuana can lead to the need to seek and possess illegal substances, to drug dealing activity in our complex, and potentially altered cognitive states and destructive behaviors within our buildings. It is my hope that the Complex's management put a policy in place because it is their responsibility to make sure that living conditions are favorable for their residents' lives, safety, and health. In addition, when a behavior is deemed offensive or a nuisance, there is more of a chance a behavior can be addressed and a situation can be reinforced when clear resident guidelines are established.

I look forward to hearing a response from management on this serious concern that impacts the lives of all of us living here, and I welcome you to contact me to further discuss my position and concerns.

In appreciation,
Victoria A. Sardi-Brown, Ph.D., LPC



Facts on DC Marijuana Laws:

Marijuana facts in DC:

Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Initiative of 2014 (Initiative 71):

DC residents complain of pot smoke in condos and apartments: http://www.fox5dc.com/news/1625142-story

How to confront a pot smoking neighbor:

1 comment:

Margy Jost said...

Vicki, your quote touches me in a profound way.
The picture of Mattie working with the art therapist is special. You can see Mattie's feel of success. No one knows, in a play room on a Pediatric Oncology wing, how precious all of the art may become over time. I am glad you have these pieces!
I am glad today's session went well or better than you anticipated. Whatever, the reason for the lack of questions following your presentation, I am going with the thought that emotions were running high, the material touched them possibly more profoundly than they thought. In the abstract, one can listen about all the things that should be done to make sure the best care is given to a child with Cancer. That is why a Standard of Psychosocial support is as necessary as the medical standards. In my opinion, what makes your presentation about Mattie Miracle, above & beyond, is you personalize it with every word. You are Mattie's Mom and to show this importance you have Mattie's time in treatment be the guide. I know sometimes, a picture of Mattie or a description of what he is doing, is all I can comment on.