Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 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

June 16, 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on July 4, 2003. Mattie was one year old and we took him to the Outer Banks, NC that summer to experience the ocean and sand. Mattie did not like either that first year! What fascinated me about Mattie, was he had a sixth sense. Or he was just wise beyond his years, as he had an innate instinct to be cautious around things that could potentially cause him harm. He wasn't the kind of kid I had to worry about jumping into water for example. Not that I gave him the opportunity as I watched him like a hawk. This photo says it all though.... Mattie was taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean and his little hand made a fist. Mattie's fingers were like little radar scopes and the fingers closed into a fist meant that he did not want to absorb any more of what was going on around him. He was scared. 

Quote of the day: Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.
The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! ~ Anne Frank

We left Kiawah Island today and drove back to Washington, DC. It took us 9 hours. It was a long day in the car, but really the drive is quite beautiful and peaceful up until you hit Richmond, VA. Otherwise, driving in the South is picturesque and very pleasant. Unlike driving on the other part of I-95 going North. 

However, 9 hours makes for a long day. I wish every state could be as whimsical at South Carolina. I absolutely love how South Carolina breaks up the trip with its tongue and cheek "South of the Border" signs and then theme park at the South Carolina border. I literally NEVER knew such an attraction existed because I have never driven this far South on I-95. But for 40 miles before you hit the South Carolina border you see all sorts of billboards advertising the "South of the Border" attraction. Not South of the border to Mexico, but South of North Carolina's border, putting you in South Carolina. Honestly the signs really catch your attention and they kept me engaged as I tried to photograph them from the car. The photo above is what the "South of the Border" attraction looks like. 

This is the sombrero observation tower at the theme park. 

South of the Border was developed by Alan Schafer in 1950. He had founded South of the Border Depot, a beer stand, at the location in 1949 adjacent to Robeson County which was, at one time, one of many dry North Carolina counties. Business was steadily expanded with Mexican trinkets and numerous kitsch items imported from Mexico. The site itself also began to expand to include a cocktail lounge, gas station and souvenir shop and, in 1954, a motel. In 1962, South of the Border expanded into fireworks sales, potentially capitalizing on the fact fireworks were illegal in North Carolina. In 1964 it was announced that the route for I-95 would pass right by South of the Border, and the facility would be next to two exits and within view of the highway. 

By the mid-1960's, South of the Border had expanded to include a barber shop, drug store, a variety store, a post office an outdoor go-kart track complete with other outdoor recreational facilities and the 104 feet tall image of the mascot, Pedro.

Keep in mind I am snapping photos from a moving car on a highway. I missed many of the signs, but the ones I did capture are priceless.

This is hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil!
This one says.... You never sausage a place, You're always a weiner at Pedro's (the mascot for South of the Border).
ICYMI (I see why am I..... South of the Border)!

Because Nouth Carolina is ONLY 19 miles away from this sign. 
Smile! You're almost there. 
 Smack hit!
 Life is good
This is what we drove passed on I-95 in South Carolina. Greenery everywhere and hundreds of yellow blooming lilies. 
The highway is divided by crape myrtle trees and yellow lilies. I assure you I-95 North isn't as pretty!
Crape Myrtles starting to bloom. 
Meanwhile, we decided to stop for a rest break in North Carolina. Check out this rest/truck stop. I felt as if I was in the movie, Cars. Mattie would have LOVED this stop. Check out what was inside.....
Literally there were trucks on display inside. In addition to restaurants, restrooms (the cleanest I have seen at a public rest stop), and shops to purchase just about everything. 

An amazing display. Mattie would have been running around looking at every truck and item possible. 
Steering wheels to purchase and on display!

Meanwhile, this is the sight we left this morning. We have a very different environment around us now. 

June 15, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. Mattie was a year old and this was his first trip to the Outer Banks, NC. As it was Mattie's first trip, he was very cautious and I would say intimidated by the ocean and sand. So instead of having beach time, we went around sight seeing. We took Mattie to all the lighthouses. The one we posed in front of was Bodie Light. Last summer was the first time Peter and I actually climbed Bodie Light. In all the years we went down to the Outer Banks, we never climbed up this one. That of course changed in  2017. 

Quote of the day: Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul. John Muir

Given that we are driving back to DC tomorrow, which will be 8-9 hours (if not longer,) there was NO way, I wanted to spend any time in the car today. So we ventured in the other direction today by bicycle. Bicycle riding on sand is an experience. If you are peddling with the wind, it is NO problem. If you are peddling with the wind blowing at you, it feels like you are biking up a steep hill. You can't even see where we rode from in this photo. That is how far away it was. We bicycled all the way to the Kiawah River, and it is at that point, that the river separates the beach, making it impossible to cross. So in the last two days, we have rode about 20 miles and have seen the entire stretch of beach on Kiawah Island. 

It was such a feat to get to the Kiawah River, that when I got there, I had my hands up in the air for victory. Vicki vs the wind, and I won! I kept asking Peter as we were riding, how close we were to the river. As I knew the river meant we would turn around and be able to ride with the wind.... which makes peddling a breeze!

While peddling to the river, I had Johnny Cash's song... "I walk the line" in my head. Do not ask me why!!! 
Peter was standing right in front of the Kiawah River. I think it is a sight to see a River separate the beach! On one side of the River is Kiawah Island and on the other Seabrook Island. 
So between Wednesday and today's bike adventures, these are the incredible shells we collected. I am telling you.... intact whelk, giant Atlantic cockle shells and sand dollars. But you won't find such wonderful shells just anywhere on the beach, you really have to ride down to either end of the beach.  
We found this fish swimming right by the shore of the River. 
After bicycle riding, we re-grouped and then went out for an early dinner on the Island. This is what a typical street looks like on the Island. 
The drive up to the entrance of Ocean Course clubhouse. There are at least four golf courses on this Island and each course has a lovely and well appointed club house with restaurants. I am not sure who planned this community, but they were brilliant. 
Sitting at the Ryder Cup Restaurant at Ocean Course Clubhouse. From our table we could see the Atlantic.
Our view
The flags blowing in the wind....... The Ocean Course flag, the American flag and the state flag of South Carolina. 
I end today's posting with my deer friends. I have nicknamed them Bucky. There is also a female in the bunch that I have seen and I have named her Daisy. Daisy and Bucky visit outside our balcony every night and when they are not there, then we have found them in the parking lot chomping on bushes. 

June 14, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. This was Mattie's first trip to the Outer Banks, NC. Mattie was a year old and back then little ones were allowed to climb up the Corolla Lighthouse in a back pack. This is no longer allowed. But look at Mattie's expression! You can just see his fascination with the spiral staircase and the adventure before him. 

Quote of the day: The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.Ralph Waldo Emerson

We visited Magnolia Plantation and Gardens today. It is one of the oldest plantations in the South, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The plantation dates to 1676, when Thomas and Ann Drayton built a house and small formal garden on the site. The plantation remains under the control of the Drayton family after 15 generations. Magnolia was originally a rice plantation, with extensive earthworks of dams and dikes built in fields along the river for irrigating land for rice cultivation. 

It just excludes Southern charm, doesn't it? This however, is the fourth house to exist on this property. As several were either destroyed in fires or during the Civil War. 
The Reverend John Grimke-Drayton inherited the property in the 1840's and developed them. He transformed the property and planted English style gardens to attract his wife to the area. His wife, Julia was from Philadelphia and at the time Charleston was thought to be the land of no where. Not to mention extremely hot and buggy in the summer. The Reverend is buried by this white bridge. 

I have no idea why there are peacocks at the plantation, but they are everywhere and VERY vocal.
The gardens at the Plantation are extensive but I must admit they are very natural or as they call them Romantic. No longer are they of English style. So they aren't manicured, or as the Plantation staff say... the gardens are NOT being controlled, instead, the gardens are incorporated into the nature vegetation. Needless to say they are buggy and overgrown. 
Do you see the Spanish moss draping from the trees. This to me is quintessential South Carolina. 
Close up of the Spanish Moss. It is neither Spanish or moss. But an air plant. It got the nick name Spanish Moss, as the settlers felt it looked like the beards on Spanish men. 
Over 500 acres of this beauty. Originally the family owned 2,000 acres, but they had to sell off 1,500 acres to pay off debts after the Civil War. 
Even the bridges are lined with flowers. 
At the plantation, we took a house tour (in which we couldn't take photos inside), a tram tour around the property and an Audubon swamp tour. The tram tour was a great option as it was in the high 80's with over 80% humidity. 
This was one of the 12 slave houses that existed on the property. About 10 people lived in this one small house. The slaves were the ones responsible for digging ditches to create irrigation for the rice fields. Not to mention planting and harvesting the rice. Which was how this family originally made its money. After the Civil War things changed and the Draytons couldn't afford to pay for the help they actually needed to run the plantation.mJohn Drayton cleverly decided to open his property to tourists for money. People have been paying for the last 150 years to see his gardens. 

See the green looking stuff. It is actually water covered in plant material. But this is an example of one of the trenches slaves created at the Plantation. 
On the plantation there is also an Audubon Swamp Garden, dedicated to John Audubon, who apparently spent time on the Plantation. This is the cute metal statues greeting you into the garden, preparing you for the fact that you will see alligators and birds. 
A rookery inside the swamp garden, filled with snowy white egrets. 
Of course an alligator!
The board walk around the swamp. 
I have no idea what kind of vegetation this red stuff is, but it fools you into thinking you are seeing cranberries. The green stuff sitting on the water is not algae. But instead duckweed. Which is are flowering aquatic plants that ducks LOVE to eat. 

At the end of our tour of the swamp garden, I saw this little lizard. Another sighting Mattie would have loved.