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 23, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017 -- Mattie was diagnosed with cancer 9 years ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken on July 23, 2008. The day Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. This was a day I will never forget. Mattie had been complaining of arm pain for a week. We did not think much about this at first, given he was enrolled in a tennis camp. We figured he strained or pulled a muscle. However, by the second week, I took him to see the pediatrician. Fortunately the doctor took me seriously and sent us over to the hospital for an x-ray. I sat with the tech while the x-ray was being performed. I expected the x-ray to be quick, but after an hour of re-positioning Mattie and taking multiple scans I was getting annoyed. I really thought the tech was incompetent. It NEVER dawned on me that something was seen and therefore more scans were needed. I know better now. After scanning, the tech placed us in a waiting room with a group of other people. Again I thought nothing of this. In the room was a telephone. The phone began to ring and NO ONE in the room with me was answering it. So I went over to answer it and the radiologist on the other end of the phone asked to speak to Mattie Brown's mom. Once he understood that was me, he said I had to go back to Mattie's pediatrician office immediately. Given his tone, I wasn't moving until I heard his perspective and understood what he saw on the films. He did not want to tell me at first, but I insisted. He then told me Mattie had osteosarcoma. Again, I had NO IDEA what that was, until he told me.... bone cancer. I was delivered this horrific news over the phone and in front of Mattie and a bunch of strangers. How I kept it together was beyond me, but I did not want to scare Mattie. Before heading to the pediatrician's office, I text messaged Peter and told him the news. Peter got himself to the hospital and together we met with the pediatrician. When we took Mattie home that day, he seemed to know something was seriously wrong and requested that his Christmas lights come out and that we decorate the deck. Keep in mind it was July, and taking out all these lights was laborious. But we never gave the request a second thought. We just did it!!! I think outdoor Christmas lights help us all deal with the darkness of winter and in our case, Mattie felt we needed this cheerful glow to help us through. 

Quote of the day: My assignment is to take my situation and to use it to help others who feel hopeless and/or helpless because of loss. ~ Marvin Sapp

In the photo above, you can see that Mattie was in my lap. This was not an unusual position when Mattie was upset or scared. In fact, Mattie did this several times during his treatment and on the day we learned Mattie's case was terminal (August 5, 2009), Mattie jumped into my lap. 

I am posting all of these photos so you can see all the wonderful outdoor lights Mattie collected over the years.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Peter and Mattie had a tradition of decorating our outdoor commons space with Christmas lights. Our neighbors truly loved it for years and always told us! With each new year, Peter would take Mattie shopping for an additional light purchasing. Mattie always looked forward to the day after Thanksgiving. Mattie had light up snowflakes, candy canes, automated deer, and even a Christmas Scooby Doo. 
Mattie with his automated deer. The deer would move its head up and down. 

It is truly hard to believe that Mattie was diagnosed with cancer 9 years ago. It feels like it was just yesterday to me. In fact, today on Facebook I wrote that Mattie died 8 years ago. Then a fellow cancer mom wrote to me that she met us 9 years ago when Mattie was diagnosed. She was correct, but a part of me couldn't believe that it really was 9 years. It is a day that many in our care community have forgotten about, but for us July 23 will always be a life altering day. 

It is hard to know what to do today. But we were invited by our friends (Annie and Alex) who live in Charlottesville to their new art gallery and for lunch. Our friends lost their daughter to cancer in 2010. We met them while advocating for childhood cancer on Capitol Hill years ago. 

This is the outside of the gallery. The flowers and bench are so inviting. The art gallery is connected to this lovely boutique on the ground floor. 

 In front of the entrance to the gallery. 
The gallery featured paintings, local pottery, jewelry, and handbags. It was an eclectic gallery, but everything spoke to each other.  
Our friends are both artists. Both paint and these lovely trees were created by Alex. After spending time with Alex today, I am quite sure there is nothing he can't fix or build. He paints, sculpts and even designs furniture. His pieces are stunning and though each local artist featured in the gallery was wonderful, Alex's pieces resonated with me the most. 
I had the opportunity to meet the artist who created the orangey colored piece. She is a cancer survivor and her works are bright, vibrant, and make you feel happy. 
Annie has done a wonderful job making her gallery inviting and makes you feel like you are walking into a home. The art is not organized together by artist. Instead, she has really arranged things next to each other because they complement one another. 
Peter and I bought a piece of art today created by Alex. It is his only water color, and it is of red oak tree. The title is red oak tree (deceased). It seems like the perfect piece of art for us. Mattie LOVED oak trees and collecting acorns. He loved these trees so much that when Mattie's school planted a memorial tree for Mattie on the campus, they asked me what type of tree we wanted. I naturally selected an oak tree. Unfortunately two of Mattie's trees died because many of the oaks caught a disease in Alexandria. Nonetheless, I really believe today's purchase was symbolic of Mattie. Like Mattie, the tree that Alex captured in this painting, died. I can't think of an oak tree without thinking of Mattie. Mattie would give those he was fond of acorns as gifts. In fact, every time he visited his occupational therapist (pre-cancer), he brought her an acorn. She had quite a collection, since she worked with Mattie for two years. 

I would have to say I have been agitated all day. I may not talk about it, but I feel it. One could say tomorrow will be another day, but in all reality when you lose a child to cancer, each day is like the day before. 

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