MATTIE MIRACLE VIRTUAL WALK WAS AN $110,000 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

February 17, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on Valentine's Day of 2009. Mattie's classmates made him all sorts of Valentine's Day cards. Enough cards to fill two shoe boxes! In addition, one of Mattie's friends gave him this big lollipop! Mattie thought the size of the candy was hysterical! He never ate it, but enjoyed playing with it!


Quote of the day: Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it. Margaret Thatcher




I am now back in Washington, DC. However, this is what I left today. The weather has been glorious all week in Los Angeles. Sunny every day, and in the 70's! As is typical, DC greeted me with its usual..... raw and rainy weather.

This was what I saw during take off! 
Flying over the Pacific! Looking at Southern California and mountains in the distance!
Quite a sight! 
I couldn't get over all the sailboats in the water! They are all the little white dots in the water!

As it typical with me, I got to know my seatmate. He started talking to me. He grew up in Westchester County, NY, like me. He said he could hear my accent! As I said to him, you can take the girl out of NY, but you can't take the NY out of the girl!

In any case, I learned a ton about this man. He was visiting Los Angeles to say good-bye to a friend of his who is dying from cancer. Can you imagine having to do this? I could just picture his week, and from that alone, I knew anyone who experienced this would need a listening ear. I also learned about his dad who has Alzheimer's and the challenges he has been facing with his dad's care. Ironically, when flying back from LA, I always meet someone who has a meaningful story! I remember one of my last seatmates. His name was Kevin. He served in Afghanistan and I got to hear some of his experiences. At the end of the day, we both concluded that we experienced two different traumas, but the aftermath was the same. He literally talked to me for 4.5 hours. 

When I arrived home, Peter snapped this photo of Sunny and me. This is one happy pooch tonight! 
Can you see Sunny smiling? 

February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on Valentine's Day of 2009. This photo was taken after the one I displayed on last night's blog. Mattie surprised me at the hospital that day with a crown of paper hearts and this box filled with cut outs
and drawings. To this day I still have this box inside my closet. I remember that moment in time. Mattie celebrated many holidays and weekends in the hospital. The hospital was practically our second home, and we saw more of that second home that year, than we did of our actual home.  





Quote of the day: Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used. Richard E. Byrd


This afternoon we met up with my dad's long time friend, John, and his wife Phyllis. I have known John since I was in high school. So one could say, I grew up with John as we would get together with him for dinner every Friday when I was in high school. He was practically part of our family. Now my parents continue the tradition with lunch every Friday. 

I had lunch with John and Phyllis last Friday and today. The waiter snapped a photo of us to capture the moment. I should mention however, that the restaurant is also noteworthy! 

When Mattie was alive, we use to take him to this restaurant. It was one of his favorites as they made homemade pizza. But he loved this outside terrace, and especially loved the lion head fountain on the terrace. Mattie always wanted to sit at the table right next to the lion. I can't come to this restaurant without seeing the table we used to sit at with Mattie, and remembering those times! 

It is hard to believe that a week has gone by already! Tomorrow I head back to DC. In a way being here is disorienting because the sun is always out, the weather is glorious, and everything is green. Keeping in mind that it is February. I am not sure why I am so confused, but it maybe because I don't typically come to Los Angeles in the winter time, I forgot how lovely it can be!

February 15, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2006. Mattie was three years old and in preschool. On Valentine's Day the kids exchanged cards with one another. I could have gone out and bought cards for Mattie, but I figured it would be more fun for him to create his own cards. Mattie loved art projects of all kinds. We did Valentine's Day cards for a couple of years together. But this wasn't an unusual sighting in our dining room. I literally would cover the floor with newspaper and lay out different craft projects. Mattie would always jump right in and he somehow understood that paint, glue, clay, and glitter all stayed on this drop cloth.  


Quote of the day: Sometimes you don't realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.Susan Gale



Last night, my parents and I went out to dinner for Valentine's Day. Typically none of us go out on this day, but since we were altogether, we did something different. The restaurant was extremely crowded. In fact, all of the local restaurants were telling us today how packed and busy they were for Valentine's Day! I had no idea. 
As I typically do, I did some plantings today in my parent's garden. Check out this glorious purple daisy! It's electric. It was in the 80's today! Absolutely glorious weather. I have not had one grey or cold day yet. Night and day difference from Washington, DC! 
A lovely white daisy! It is truly remarkable that people are out and about and we are surrounded by greenery. While DC is most likely dealing with its typical grayness or raining. 

My last day is tomorrow! I have to prepare myself for the weather that will hit me on Saturday. 

February 14, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on Valentine's Day of 2009. This was the last Valentine's Mattie and I celebrated together. Mattie worked with his art therapists for several hours that day. They were in the child life playroom and I was sent out of the room. When I was allowed back in, Mattie surprised me with this paper crown of hearts and a box filled with all sorts of cards he made for me. This maybe my all time favorite photo, which was taken by Jenny, one of Mattie's outstanding art therapists. She captured what Mattie always did with me.... touched noses and looked right into my eyes. 




Quote of the day: Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.Chris Bradford



I started my day today with a photo of Sunny! Peter tells me that my absence is very noticeable to Sunny! Look at this sad face! Sunny is good at turning it on.














As today is Valentine's Day, I have found there are really two types of people as it relates to this holiday. Those who are all for it and those who truly avoid it like the plague. Naturally the reasons why one may not like this holiday can vary by person, but when grief and loss are factored into the picture, it can provide insight into the reactions we see.

When I mention grief and loss, I don't necessarily mean from a physical death. It could be the dissolution of a relationship, the longing for a bond and connection with someone special that hasn't happened, or simply the feeling of isolation. All of these things can impact how we view the holiday of love.

I decided to google..... "Valentine's Day and Loss" and a host of articles popped up. The one that intrigued me is below. It is entitled, "Valentine's Day - using loss to celebrate love." This blog posting was written by a fellow mom whose daughter died unexpectedly. She explained that her daughter died four days before Valentine's Day and therefore this has clouded her whole feeling for the holiday. Not that she was ever a big Valentine's Day celebrator to begin with, for like me, she feels it is a commercialized day.

Yet it was her rationalization toward the end of the article that captured my attention. I totally agree with her. That when you lose a child, aspects of happiness, celebrating, and actively taking part in life dies. In fact, when you feel happiness or celebration it is tinged with feelings of guilt. Yet I do think it is possible to acknowledge such a great loss and also recognize the importance of one's marriage. It isn't one or the other. Both are possible, and yet it does take some time to come to this realization. As this mom points out..... "we’re still there, we’re still committed, we still care."

Using loss to celebrate love is a very appropriate title for her article, because I do think through great loss, we hone in on what is actually more important in life. Valentine's Day is not just for romantic love, it is for celebrating friendships and our connections with others. Given that St. Valentine was the patron saint of love and young people, it is simply tragic that several families in Florida are either sitting in a hospital room or identifying their child's body from such a senseless school shooting today. It is a horror of grand proportion and was sickly timed with the love that today is supposed to symbolize. My hearts go out to these families and school community, as I know all too well the journey these parents will be forever facing.


Valentine’s Day – using loss to celebrate love

https://chasingdragonfliesblog.com/2015/02/13/valentines-day-using-loss-to-celebrate-love/

February 13, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 -- Mattie died 439 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2005. To be perfectly honest, I do not remember where this photo was taken, other than in Los Angeles. I want to say it was at a street fair we visited, but I am not sure. In any case, I love it, because it features two smiling sunflowers.


Quote of the day: You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.Marcus Aurelius


My mom has been a long standing member of a local women's group. Besides being a member she has also been a president of this group. I was happy I could attend the group's monthly luncheon and I got the opportunity to hear my mom speak. But more importantly to hear and see people's reactions to her message. 

My mom was a high school mathematics teacher in NYC for many years. She is a born teacher, as I personally benefited from her skills. Unlike her, I am not gifted with numbers. I would come home from school, perplexed and unable to do my math homework. However, my mom explained complex concepts in very manageable and understandable ways to me. But she is not limited to just explaining math, she can present on a whole host of topics. 

When my mom spoke today, the audience was DEEPLY LISTENING. She captured their minds and hearts! In fact, my mom ended her talk with a Butterfly World quote...... Love is like a butterfly: It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes! Given that Valentine's Day is tomorrow, everyone just loved this quote and the way my mom ended on such a positive note. 


I loved the presentment of the luncheon's dessert! I can't recall when I have received a lovelier Valentine's Day treat!
Sometimes beautifully presented desserts do not taste good. But I happy to say that everything on this plate was delicious!
I came back to my parent's house and was greeted by these beautiful flowers! I always tell Peter not to send flowers or give gifts on Valentine's Day! As I really feel this is such a commercialized holiday! But I suspect since I won't be in DC, he wanted me to know he missed me! There is nothing like fresh flowers, they just make you happy seeing them. 













Meanwhile, I looked up at the sky this afternoon and this is what I saw! A sky writer working on..... I LOVE YOU! I would like to think this is a Mattie message! Of course I know it is not, but that doesn't stop me from taking it as a sign. 

February 12, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2005. Mattie was visiting Legoland. Mattie went to Legoland at least three times in his lifetime. He never got tired of it, and in fact he grew with the rides. As you can see at age 3, he was taking kiddie rides. But as he got older, Mattie ventured right to the roller coasters. This was one of the ways we greatly differed!!! Mattie loved fast rides and fortunately so does Peter. They were a good tag team. Meanwhile, my parents and I were the observers and picture takers. We were just fine with that, as long as Mattie was having a good time. 




Quote of the day: The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.Mahatma Gandhi



My mom and I have a running joke this week. She has nicknamed me, "quick quick" and she is "slow slow." What is she talking about? She is referring to my ability to get tasks and chores done quickly. I do not dilly dally around and when I focus, I can get a lot done in a short period of time. 

This is a photo of the outside of my parent's home. They have lived up in the hills for 11 years now. But soon they are putting their house up for sale. When I come and visit, I try to help with chores that they may want to get done. On the outside of the house, are lights, that look like lanterns. When Burbank had a massive brush fire in September, the ash from this fire went everywhere. Including inside homes! Today I removed a ton of ash from the outdoor lanterns. My mom couldn't get over how fast I got up and down on ladders and got the job done. 

The other task I took on was cleaning the lovely fountain in their backyard. This fountain was filled with ash  and leaves. It was a total body work out to remove pails of mucky water and piles of leaves. Every muscle feels it today!

This morning, I received photos from DC. My friend, Ann, went to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to deliver sweet treats and Valentine's Day cards to the pediatric nurses. 

Ann's daughter, Abbie and her Girl Scout Troop (#2342) created these lovely handmade cards and baked Valentine's brownies. Pictured with Ann is Tricia. 

Tricia was Mattie's favorite HEM/ONC nurse. How do I know? I know because one day Mattie screamed out Tricia's name across the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit hallway. When Tricia came over to Mattie, she wasn't sure what on earth he was going to say to her! But what came out of his mouth surprised us all. Mattie said, I LOVE YOU! These were not words Mattie used lightly. So if he said this to you, he meant it. Tricia may have been Mattie's nurse, but she honestly cared for all three of us, advocated for us in crucial situations, and continues to share our cancer journey with us. As Tricia knows that the psychosocial issues do not end when the treatment does. 

A photo of some of the brownies and cards!
Tricia sent me photos of the cards, which I appreciated, since I wasn't there to see them for myself. 
I hope these cards and brownies brightened the day of all the pediatric nurses. As they are incredible women who serve on the front line of psychosocial care for children with medical crises. 

February 11, 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2005. Mattie was three years old and getting ready to have an adventure in Legoland, located in San Diego, CA. Mattie LOVED Legos. They may have been his favorite toy, if you consider them a toy. Legoland is truly an amazing theme park that is geared for children (and adults) of all ages. Everything is there from amazing Lego sculptures to rides. Rides Mattie LOVED!!! He was all about movement and adventure. 


Quote of the day: We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot. Eleanor Roosevelt


My parents and I went to see a drama at a community theater today entitled, A Walk in the Woods. The story focuses on a relationship between two arms negotiators—in this version, a Russian male and American female—and what happens when they step out of the war room and into the woods. A Walk in the Woods was produced in 1988, played on Broadway, and Time magazine called it one of the best dramas to hit the stage that year.

The play is suggested by a real-life incident, which occurred in 1982. Negotiators Paul H. Nitze and Yuli A. Kvitsinsky left the official Geneva sessions for an unofficial "walk in the woods" and achieved a breakthrough, soon rejected by their Governments. While watching this play, I had a feeling it was based on a true story. Unfortunately the play's program did not reveal this fact, but to me the candor and insights seemed too realistic. 

The play is about two hours long and there are ONLY two actors that fill the stage. That can be a hard play to watch, but in this case, both actors were fantastic, brought their characters to life for us, and in the end made us think. It isn't an uplifting play, on the contrary it is very cynical. But then again, it was about politics, and I would have to say no matter what side of the aisle one follows these days, the average American is left wondering and upset. 

In a nutshell, this play gives us insights in a year's long diplomatic effort between two negotiators, trying to develop an armament agreement between two super powers. One negotiator has been doing his job for decades and the other is new to her job. She is more of an idealist and believes that their efforts of negotiation will impact the decisions the US and Russia make regarding a treaty. As the play enfolds, she realizes, with the insights of her Russian counterpart, that to some extent the efforts they are making have really been just for show, because the powers that be have no intention of ever signing any sort of treaty. 

As an observer it is clear that the diplomats are very cognizant of the press and make certain decisions that will influence what the media reports about their meetings. Very reminiscent of our current political climate. In addition, this play leaves you feeling dejected because you see how powerless these individuals were despite their best efforts and at the same time you see the inner workings and politics of governmental leadership. Besides the political angle of this play, the other focus was the development of a working friendship between the diplomats. Their personalities were like night and day, or better yet like the Odd Couple. Just like the famous Neil Simon comedy with Felix and Oscar, a great deal can be learned from a person who is our exact opposite. Being a relationship person, I loved watching that dynamic unfold between the characters and it made the play very memorable. 

After the play, we went out to dinner at the Smoke House. This restaurant is a legend in Burbank. I used to go to this restaurant with my parents and grandmother when I was in high school. I can't say that four generations of my family dined here, as we never introduced Mattie to this restaurant. He was too small at the time, and he wouldn't have liked it then.