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: 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 31, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken on August 9, 2008. This was Mattie's first week of chemotherapy and being in-patient at the hospital. We did not know if we were coming or going that week. This scene that I took a photo of, was taken in the hallway of the PICU, right opposite Mattie's room. Pictured with Mattie was Linda (Mattie's child life specialist). As you can see Linda started working her magic early with Mattie. Which was why I used to call her "our medical Mary Poppins." Linda lined the floor with craft paper, and was protecting the walls of the unit with plastic isolation gowns. The goal was for Mattie to paint on the paper and create. Linda learned quickly that Mattie was into building and creating, so this project was perfect for him, and more importantly took his mind off cancer and being in the hospital. We met Linda in the beginning of the treatment process and she became an indispensable part of all of our lives. 

Quote of the day: A dog is able to smell the hormones you emit when you’re happy, nervous, or scared. A dog does not read your behavior and body language with his eyes, he literally “smells” if you’re happy, or sad. He can pick up on the tiny amounts of perspiration when you are having a stressful thought. Dogs can smell tiny parts of adrenaline that are emitted from your body, making you feel that your dog is psychic, however, these abilities are all scientifically based in a dog’s ability to smell our emotions. ~ from the InSitu Foundation

In April I received the magazine, Cure, in our Mattie Miracle mailbox. On the front cover was a photo of an adorable dog. So naturally it caught my attention. Given that it was around the Foundation's fundraising season, I put the magazine in my "read later" pile. Yesterday, I finally read the article that piqued my interest months ago.... The Nose Knows! I have included a link to the article below, if you want to read it for yourself. It was a fascinating and intriguing read!!!

The nose knows: Can dogs be trained to sniff out cancer?

The content for this blog came from the above link...................

The premise of the article is that for decades people have reported that their pet dog identified their cancer. Detected before medical science. It isn't like dogs have x-ray vision, but what they do have is an incredible sense of smell. So much so that they can smell 100,000 times better than humans. The article features the non-profit, InSitu Foundation, which has trained over 50 cancer smelling dogs to date, with almost a 90% success rate. In 2004, a research team in the United Kingdom conducted a study to see if dogs could detect bladder cancer from urine. After seven months of training, the dogs got it right 40 percent of the time. That may not sound like a high percentage, but it was high enough to inspire similar research. 

Studies have established that some dogs, after intensive training, can indeed detect many types of cancer such as breast, ovarian, lung, prostate, thyroid, colorectal, melanoma. Dogs can detect cancer from a variety of biological samples, including breath, urine, plasma and blood. 

Dogs have approximately 300 million odor receptors, compared with 6 million, at best, in humans. A dog’s anatomy allows it to sniff pretty much continuously, separating air into one stream for respiration and into another stream for smelling. Proportionally, the section of a dog’s brain devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times larger than that section in humans. 

Current methods of cancer detection, can be hit-or-miss. In many cases, symptoms don’t appear until the disease is in late stages. Many types of cancer, such as ovarian or prostate, are unable to be detected reliably at early stages. The article interviews Cindy Otto, director of the PennVet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who stated, "there is no early screening tool for ovarian cancer. We would love to be able to shift this, to see if there’s a way to use dogs’ amazing sense of smell to develop a screening tool that saves lives.”

People noticed long ago that illness had a particular smell. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, famously sniffed his patients. In the last several decades, medical research found that dogs could smell maladies such as hypertension and malaria.

The smells of disease come mostly from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). We excrete hundreds of VOCs in our sweat, breath, urine and other bodily fluids, creating a signature smell. If we’re sick, it stands to reason that our cells’ metabolism changes, and so does our odor signature.

Not all studies of cancer-sniffing dogs have been successful, and experts need to figure out if that’s due to the dogs’ cancer-smelling ability, or some other factor that affected the results. Training methods for the dogs need to be standardized. Opinions differ on what kinds of samples — breath, urine, plasma, blood, tissue — yield the most accurate results. Studies must be designed so that dogs won’t be tipped off by subtle signals from their handlers. Dogs’ sense of smell is so sensitive that results can be thrown off by changing the kind of preservative used to treat samples, or by the smell of the person collecting them, or by the place in which they were collected, or even by the color of the Sharpie used to mark the sample.

In Situ Foundation, a 501(c)3, has been dedicated to scientifically training dogs to detect early stage cancer in humans for over 12 years. They are the leading experts in the field of training cancer detection dogs, and were among the first to participate in published research, setting the bar for future studies on the subject.:

1 comment:

Margy Jost said...

Vicki, I watched first hand that Kimber's dog Jake, knew Kimber was not well. Their other dog seemed unable to detect anything but as Kimber got sicker, Jake paced in front of her, would whine, would jump up on the couch if I left to get something. Jake definitely knew that Kimber was not well. It made him anxious & protective. I hope this study continues. I have no idea how Jake acted before Kimber's diagnosis.

I just am in awe of Linda, Mattie's Child Life Specialist. She went the extra mile as they all should do. She made it her job to know Mattie. There is no better way to help a patient, than know their likes, dislikes, work to their needs not the other way. This is not a learned trait rather an innate ability to understand the vulnerability of patients, especially children, the most vulnerable. If a person is truly tuned into the needs of a child, they can make days a little less fearful and form trusting relationships. All of this seems like such a no brainer - it is psychosocial support at its best. Yet, many just don't get it! I am so glad Mattie had Linda