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 24, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken on July 31, 2008. Eight days after Mattie was diagnosed. Right after Mattie's first x-ray on July 23, he then went through a battery of more testing and also a bone biopsy in order to confirm that he had osteosarcoma. By July 31, we knew Mattie not only had osteosarcoma but he had a very unique form of it..... with four primary tumors (one in each arm, one in his right leg, and one in his left wrist). Let me put this into context for you. His oncologist let us know that if a case like Mattie shows up once every ten years, around the world that is a whole lot. Which meant there was very little research done on a child with multifocal osteosarcoma.

In this photo you can see that Mattie was stomping on something. It was a play-doh created "bone bug." Earlier that day, Mattie's art therapist worked with us to find a way to tell Mattie about his cancer and to educate him about the treatment he would have to endure. Because I knew that Mattie LOVED bugs, I figured helping Mattie envision bugs in his body, would help him understand cancer (similar to a foreign body that replicates uncontrollably). With the notion that taking chemotherapy would kill the "bone bugs." After giving Mattie this analogy, we then asked him what he would like to do with this play-doh bone bug, and as you can see, his response was to STOMP out the bone bug. This whole bone bug creation, and watching Mattie stomp it out, inspired us to create the phrase.... "stomp it out for a Mattie miracle."

A close up of the bone bug.

I stomped out play doh bug. 

Quote of the day: Children must be impressed with the fact that the greatest heroes are those who fight to help others, not those who fight for power or glory. They must be made to understand that victory does not prove that the thing fought for is right, nor that defeat proves that a cause is wrong. ~ Ellen Key

Today we visited Montpelier, the home of James Madison, our fourth president. This home had three phases of building. In the early 1760s, Madison, Sr. (James' father) built a house that forms the heart of the main house at Montpelier today. Built around 1764, it has two stories of brick laid in a Flemish bond pattern, and a low, hipped roof with chimney stacks at both ends. His son James Madison later stated that he remembered helping move furniture to the new home. The building of Montpelier represents Phase 1 (1764–1797) of the construction. Upon completion, the Madisons owned one of the largest brick dwellings in Orange County.

Phase 2 (1797–1800) of construction began in 1797, after the son James Madison returned to Montpelier with his new wife Dolley Madison. He was then 39 and she was a young widow with a child. At this time Madison added a thirty-foot extension and a Tuscan portico to the house. Madison's widowed mother, Nelly, still resided in the house following the death of her husband, James, Sr., in 1801. 

In the last period of construction, Phase 3 (1809–1812), Madison had a large drawing room added, as well as one-story wings at each end of the house and he directed construction of single-story flat-roofed extensions at either end of the house; these provided space for the separate household of the newlyweds James and Dolley Madison. Literally when you look at the house it looks like it has two wings. One wing from James and Dolly Madison, and the other wing for James' mom. After his second term as president, in 1817 Madison retired there full-time with his wife Dolley.

James Madison died in 1836 and is buried in the family cemetery at Montpelier. His widow Dolley Madison moved back to Washington, D.C. in 1837 after his death. In 1844 she sold the plantation to Henry W. Moncure. After Dolley Madison died in 1849, she was buried in Washington, DC and later re-interred at Montpelier near her husband James.

After Dolley Madison sold the estate to Henry W. Moncure in 1844, the property was held by a total of six additional owners before the du Ponts bought Montpelier in 1901.

We literally got confused about where the entrance to Montpelier was today. So at one point we were driving on a gravel road. It was hysterical.
On the gravel road we passed field after field of corn!!!
We also came across two baby deer. 
Not to mention my favorites.... black and white cows. 
This is the front of Montpelier. Do you see the three front doors. The center door, guests entered to visit with the president and his wife. The door on the right, was Nelly's entrance (the president's mom). The right side of the home was Nelly's and the left side James and Dolley's. They had different staff and dining rooms too. 

From the front porch, this was the view. They owned 3,500 acres!
Like many presidents, the Madison's also had money problems. Dolley had to sell the property after her husband died. She had a son from her first marriage who apparently caused her great heartache, as he gambled and had MANY debts, which she had to repay. 

Eventually when the duPonts purchased this property, the wife created an extensive garden. 
Our walk through the garden on a very hot day. 
Garden pathway
As is true in Charlottesville in general, there is a ton of wide open spaces and greenery. 
Floral beauty
 More gardens
 Last flower shot!
When the duPont's purchased the home, they transformed it. However, once the duPont's passed the house along to the National Historic Preservation Society, the Society spent 25 million dollars to transform the house BACK to the way it used to look. 

I would say that I now have a much better understanding of both James Monroe (after visiting Ashland Highland) and James Madison (Montpelier). Our fifth and fourth presidents. James Madison is credited for being the visionary of the Constitution and in fact he researched its development in his second floor study at Montpelier. Madison was known for being a soft spoken man, but brilliant. He had the vision to know that the Articles of Confederation was not a solid document to govern our free society, and it was in the Constitution that he created a governing body regulated by the people for the people, not to mention created a balance of power with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Madison's document has withstood the test of time, as now over 200 years later, we still follow the constitution and other developing nations who are looking for ways to develop a structure to govern their country, turn to our constitution for guidance and inspiration. 

As for Dolley Madison, she was considered America's first FIRST LADY. A position she occupied for almost 16 years in a way. Thomas Jefferson's wife died, and Dolley (as James was the Secretary of State) stepped in to help coordinate socials and events. She then continued this role into her husband's two terms. However, after her husband left office, she was still consulted, as Monroe's wife was not as politically savvy or as social as Dolley. Dolley was credited as being an asset to James!

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