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

April 11, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 -- Mattie died 395 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Do you love Mattie's huge fly swatter? He got this at his birthday bug party and took it to the hospital with him. As you can see one of his art therapist's was being clever. To get Mattie to use his arms she had him swatting at things they created together. Mind you we could have asked Mattie to do certain physical therapy exercises, but he responded better to creativity in real time. Fortunately Mattie had an amazing child life specialist, two art therapists, and a physical therapist who understood that Mattie was bright, creative and a free spirit. 

Quote of the day: The most important function of education at any level is to develop the personality of the individual and the significance of his life to himself and to others. ~ Grayson Kirk 

Today I visited Mattie's lower school. As you can see Mattie's memorial tree is beginning to bud leaves. Always a wonderful spring sight. The tulips we planted around the tree are in full bloom too.

Why was I at the school? To visit Donna, one of the kindergarten teachers. Every April/May, I visit Donna's classroom and teach the children about Picasso and Matisse. I have done this for six years in a row. After Mattie died, Donna invited me to her classroom for tea. Mind you Donna was not Mattie's kindergarten teacher, but she knew from Mattie's teacher that I was an involved parent. I did several visits to Mattie's kindergarten class and did a gingerbread project, a cruise ship project, and even a coconut project. 

When I met Donna six years ago, she invited me to get involved with her students but we had to brainstorm how. As she was talking she mentioned that she reads a book called "When Pigasso met Mootisse" to her class and she wished she had more time to expand on the concepts in the book so students could experience these artists. I took on that challenge and that first year, I literally went to the library and did a ton of research on Picasso and Matisse. I knew of their art, but not enough about their lives and how they developed their painting styles. So I learned! It was painful to develop curriculum for kindergarten students, as I was used to teaching adults! None the less, I always kept Mattie in mind when developing these three lesson plans, along with matching art activities to bring the concepts we talked about alive. For years, I would also bake treats to match the theme of what we were discussing during each session. It has been a real labor of love for years.

With each successive year I teach, I find that I am given less and less time with the students. NOT on purpose but because the schedule for these 5 and 6 year olds is so packed with classes. Free time is a commodity. When I first taught the classes, I would have close to three hours with the students. Now I have one hour for each of the three lessons. What surprised me this year, is that instead of showing my usual power point presentation and discussion with the children, I have been asked to pick a five minute youtube video that will introduce the content to the children and then the remainder of the hour be devoted to the hands on creative project. This is SO counter to my educational background, though I realize that education has changed drastically from when I went to school or taught at the college level. There is NO didactic learning anymore. Now students need hands on assignments and activities every 7 minutes. I am not making this up, taught to any teacher! It makes me pause and wonder WHY ON EARTH has education changed so dramatically? 

Personally it is a sign of the times. Children are plugged into devices at a young age and their use and familiarity with technology surpasses their parents. In addition, we are reinforcing in our children the need for immediate results, answers, and gratification. There is NO TIME to read, to think through problems, and to explore concepts! I will see how I feel about presenting to the children this year using this new format, but for the moment this CHANGE doesn't sit well with me. If you rely on a video, then what purpose does a teacher or in this case, ME, serve? 

I also was hearing about a new mindset being integrated into the elementary school, based on this book: In essence five words are being integrated in the curriculum, and they are "optimism, persistence, resilience, flexibility, and empathy." As a mental health professional, I certainly value each of these complex "traits of joyful independent growth." However, factors such as resilience and especially empathy are not easy to convey, much less understand. Even for adults. But moving away from that, I guess I left school today wondering why are teachers integrating this into the classroom? I certainly did not get these skills taught to me in elementary school and yet I have them! 

To me these are concepts that are nurtured within one's home and community. They are taught by parents. So what's happening? Are we saying these things are no longer taught at home so now they need to be included in the curriculum? I truly am pondering the state of education today. It is one thing to send your child to school to learn concepts, but at the end of the day, I always believed that it was MY RESPONSIBILITY as Mattie's parent to teach him life skills, to assist him as he learns how to assess himself, and the world around him. Not to mention be able to articulate his feelings and those of others, in order to be a productive, thoughtful, and contributing part of our society. I wanted to teach him values and to me it is noteworthy when such concepts become integrated into curriculum. Just like service learning has been mandated into curriculum, and guess what?! This HASN'T inspired service, but instead volunteerism is a box to check off rather than a passion that gets inspired to be an agent of change in one's community. Once complex issues become requirements they evolve, morph, and in my opinion lose their significance.   

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