Mattie Miracle 10th Anniversary Walk was an $119,000 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

October 27, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2009. Another highlight of our trip to NYC was seeing the Lion King. In fact, Mattie's art therapist Jenny helped us secure tickets. She got us six tickets and back stage passes. It was very exciting for Mattie to be standing on the stage after the performance and meeting Nala, one of the main characters. She was very thoughtful and kind to Mattie and I would say we all thought the show was memorable and magical. 


Quote of the day: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lao Tzu


My mom snapped this photo of me yesterday in Tarrytown, NY by a scarecrow. I miss seeing these quaint types of towns, as living in DC is quite different. My parents and I left NY around 11:00am, and we did not get into DC until around 5:30pm. It was a very long drive, and of course the horrible traffic popped up as soon as we hit Maryland. Otherwise, the rest of the journey was smooth sailing, even with rain and fog. 
Want to know what this wooden box is? Well apparently it is a space heater. I honestly had no idea what it was when I checked into my Marriott room on Tuesday. For the most part, the temperature in the room was fine for me. Well that was until Thursday night. By that point, it was about 65 degrees in the room and I was frigid. You know the kind of cold where you can't get warm for entire 24 hours!! 

I called in engineering to look at the room's thermostat. The engineer was lovely and he noticed this wooden box out of the corner of his eye. He asked me how long that box was in my room! I told him it was there since I checked in. He then told me that this old fashioned radio looking thing was a space heater. Which indicated to him that the room had a pervasive problem, since the heater existed in the room before I checked in. Needless to say, once I found out there was a room heater, I turned it on immediately! Just sharing this photo, in case anyone else comes across a similar device. 

My parents and I took the hotel elevator to the lobby today. When the doors opened up, I saw a familiar face. It was Joseph, the person I mentioned in Tuesday's blog. My family and I have known Joseph since 1984.... yes 34 years. Joseph has worked for this Marriott for 34 years and we got to know him each time we visited NY (we moved from NY to LA in 1984, and would come back to NY to visit friends and family quite often). Joseph was there when I finished high school, started college, celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday and also when I got married. All events which took us East to stay at his hotel. I practically grew up with him, which is why this particular hotel holds memories for me. Of course as I always say, it isn't the building that I love, but the people in it. I was meant to see Joseph today and I will never forget how kind he was to all of us and especially my grandmother. 

October 26, 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2009. In between visits to Memorial Sloan Kettering, we took Mattie to see as many sights as possible.... such as the Empire State Building and a ferry ride around the city. I am very grateful that a fellow ferry passenger offered to take a photo of all three of us. As we have very few photos of us together. 

It was a cold day and I would say we were all stressed out. Unfortunately  the immunotherapy had massive sign effects for Mattie that were down right scary. Landing us back into the hospital's ER. 




Quote of the day: The trick in life is learning how to deal with it. ~ Helen Mirren

Out of a deep sleep this morning, I could hear a blaring fire alarm at 5:30am! I was exhausted from the day before and was up until 1:30am catching up on Foundation work. I truly did not know what hit me when I heard this alarm. But the main issue was I am traveling with my parents and for dad to get himself together quickly and to walk down flights of stairs is not easy! Of course when such an alarm goes off, you never know if it is a real emergency, so you have to take it seriously. We managed down four flights of stairs and went outside, in the dark and it was freezing. I would have to say the communication between the hotel and its guests about the alarm was poor. The hotel's PA system worked in certain parts of the hotel, which was problematic since without communication most of us were clueless. 


I have always wanted to visit Kykuit. Today was the day!!! It is a 40-room historic house museum. The house was built for oil tycoon, John D. Rockefeller. Conceived largely by his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and enriched by the art collection of the third-generation, Governor of New York, and Vice President of the United States, Nelson Rockefeller. It was home to four generations of the family. The house is a National Historic Landmark owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

This lovely Tudor is NOT a house! Instead it is deemed the "playhouse." It is where all the indoor sports are played from swimming to basketball courts.

Now, this playhouse has been converted to a conference center. This space is lent out to qualifying non-profits for free. 
John D. Rockefeller loved horses! Believe it or not this was once the stable/barn for the property. 
The name Kykuit, is derived from the Dutch word Kijkuit meaning "lookout." It is situated on the highest point in Pocantico Hills, overlooking the Hudson River at Tappan Zee. 

This is the view from the front steps. It is grand!!! These orange flame looking things are actually Tiffany glass lanterns. They are stunning, especially with the beautiful orange mums!
This I did not take these indoor photos! Photos were not allowed, yet I was able to find many on-line. 

This was considered the men's room.... where John D. Rockefeller and his son, John, Jr. conducted their business when on the property. 

The dining room. Though it appears bright in this photo, it is actually a dark room. The beautiful crystal chandelier was actually converted from electricity to candles. Yet when candles are lit the light reflects up and not down. One of the main flaws to the room. 
The open oculus in the ceiling of the "music room" is absolutely incredible. Originally this feature was not in the house's plans. But the architecture traveled to Europe and saw this in other grand homes and decided to integrate it into Kykuit. 
This is the women's drawing/sitting room. The Rockefellers were big on attention to detail. They would match rugs to paint, or outdoor wrought iron patterns to foliage. 
The design of Kykuit's grounds was undertaken by the architect William Welles Bosworth, who designed the surrounding terraces and gardens with fountains, pavilions and classical sculpture. These gardens in the Beaux-Arts style are considered Bosworth's best work in the United States, looking out over very fine views of the Hudson River. His original gardens still exist, with plantings carefully replaced over time, although his entrance forecourt was extended in 1913. The terraced gardens include a Morning Garden, Grand Staircase, Japanese Garden, Italian Garden, Japanese-style brook, Japanese Tea-house, large Oceanus fountain, Temple of Aphrodite, loggia, and semicircular rose garden.


Absolutely incredible views, with land as far as the eye can see. It is hard to know whether the Rockefellers bought all this property for preservation or to illustrate their wealth. Perhaps a little bit of both. 

Because three generations lived in the house, several different decorating styles are represented from traditional, modern, to Asian influences. Nelson Rockefeller collected many outdoor modern sculptures and they are all over the property. 

Do you see the sculptures? The black one on the left was a horse sculpture. The landscape is breathtaking, along with views of the Hudson River. 
This was a photo of Michael Rockefeller, the son of Nelson Rockefeller. This story captured my attention. Michael was a twin. His sister Mary was permanently impacted when her brother went missing. He was on an anthropological mission in New Guinea when he vanished in 1961. He went missing as he tried to swim to shore from a stranded boat
It is widely believed - including by the family - that he drowned but there has also been speculation that he was killed and eaten by cannibals.
His twin sister Mary is known for her candidate feeling about being a surviving twin, and I hear she is a psychologist who specializes in helping twins who have been separated by death. In fact, she helped the 60 some odd twins who were permanently separated after the 9/11 terrorist attacks at Twin Towers. 


After our house tour, we drove to the charming little town of Tarrytown. What I love about NY and New England, is that they have such charming towns. 
Tarrytown is ready for the fall. Each street lamp featured a scarecrow!
Get the picture!




















We had four wonderful dinners in NY. Our first night, after a long day of travel was at Ruth's Chris. Right in our hotel. 


The second evening we ate at Xavier's X20. It was a special dinner with our cousins and my lifetime friend, Karen. I will share more about this reconnection in an upcoming blog posting. 
Our third dinner, to celebrate my mom's induction in the DeWitt Clinton High School's Hall of Honor was held at Harvest on Hudson. 
Our final night was spent at Sapori with my lifetime friend, Karen, and her mom. It was a delicious experience and a wonderful way to end our trip. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2009. This was our second visit to NYC, so that Mattie could start the experimental immunotherapy treatment. In order to be eligible for this drug, it had to first be administered at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Then all remaining treatments were given at Georgetown Hospital. The one positive of the trip was the hotel. When we checked in, they took one look at Mattie in his wheelchair and upgraded up to a penthouse suite. It was an incredible room and with balconies. I have to say that NYC is a challenge when you are well, but with Mattie in a wheelchair and immuno-compromised, it was practically impossible. 


Quote of the day: I tell you, in this world being a little crazy helps to keep you sane. ~ Zsa Zsa Gabor


It was a LONG day today! We got to my mom's school at 11:30am. We did not leave until 4:30pm.  This is a photo of all the inducted teachers in the Hall of Honors. It was the inaugural induction, with the hopes that more teachers can be given this distinguished honor each year. The number one criteria for being selected was that a teacher had to have provided service to the school for at least 25 years. Believe it or not, my mom was the ONLY math teacher given this honor today. A permanent plaque will be on display in the school's front entrance. 

My mom is pictured with the current principal of DeWitt Clinton High School on the left and John, the president of the school's alumni association on the right. My mom got to make a speech as well, and I was happy I got to video tape it. She spoke for about seven minutes and what was clear was she was a female pioneer at her school. Most teachers at the time were men and my mom not only taught, but developed a curriculum on statistics, helped to run the math honor society, served as a college advisor as well as the program chair. 
This was what she received to take home, but there will be a plaque just like this that will be on display at the school. 
From left to right are:

Larry Stein, David Fuchs (the principal when my mom taught at the school), Eugene Weissman (my mom's friend and also a math teacher), Ronee (Eugene's wife), and my mom. 
I would have to say that a highlight for any teacher, is when the teacher is reconnected with former students. Not to mention to learn how successive these students turned out! My mom was surrounded today.

From left to right:

Gary, David, my mom, and Terry
My mom and one of her favorite students, Gary. Gary is also a Mattie Miracle supporter. 
After the ceremony! Eugene, Ronee, my dad, my mom and me.
After the ceremony, I planned a dinner for my mom. I had one heck of a time finding this restaurant. GPS was no help and I land up in NJ, rather than in NY. So we were about 30 minutes late to a dinner a was hosting. That made me totally frazzled after a long week. 

Pictured from left to right:

Naomi (my lifetime friend's mom), my dad, Ronee, Eugene, my mom, and Gary. 

Standing from left to right: Lisa (Gary's wife), Karen (my lifetime friend) and me

The restaurant made my mom a cake to celebrate this momentum occasion!
The floral arrangement I had made. Johnston's Florist did a spectacular job. I loved talking to the florist on the phone. They captured the exact look I was hoping for!!!

Overall, it was a bittersweet day because I was surrounded by a caliber of teachers who I know no longer exist in schools today. These teachers lived and breathed their school and wanted to do whatever it took to make a difference in the lives of their students. Teachers who to this day love their colleagues, the school, and want to spend time together because of great respect. I could also see that the graduates in the auditorium still had admiration and respect for their teachers, despite the decades that have lapsed by. However, since the school was in session, I was able to see the current student body and the physical state of the facility. All I can say is some changes are not always for the better, and that things never stay as you remember them to be. 

October 24, 2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2008. This was Mattie's first trip to NYC. Unfortunately his trip was for the purpose of consulting with Memorial Sloan Kettering about his cancer diagnosis. Yet in between doctor visits and testing, we tried to do fun things with Mattie. As you can see Mattie went to FAO Schwarz and came away with some toys. The BIG apple behind Mattie was actually on display on the pediatric outpatient floor of the hospital. 






Quote of the day: Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. ~ Benjamin Franklin


We visited the Katonah Art Museum today. It was about thirty minutes away from where we are staying in NY. None of us have ever journeyed to this museum before, but I would have to say it is more like visiting a private gallery than a museum. Though I am biased as in Washington, DC our museums are enormous. We saw an exhibit entitled, Outrageous Ornament. In a nutshell the exhibit features the provocative work by internationally renowned artists that expand the boundaries and understanding of personal adornment.

This large sculpture greets you on the outside. It is entitled, Open Mind by Lawrence McGarvey. I happened to like this aluminum piece. The cloud cut out for a brain is supposed to inspire the viewer to see the changing world through this cleverly placed negative space. 
Another noteworthy sculpture sat in the gardens.... it is entitled, Rust Angel by Mark di Suvero. He is known for transforming industrial material in order to create works that highlight their setting.  





I have to admit that this exhibit does not resonate with me, as I am not a modern or avant garde lover of art. I am more of a traditionalist. Yet despite that, I still found aspects of this exhibit stimulating, engaging, and definitely worthy of conversation. 


This is Spring over the line by Marjorie Schick. This is considered a body ornament. Though I can't imagine anyone truly wearing anything we saw today, it does make you pause and converse. We had a wonderful dialogue with a docent at the museum, which helped to bring some of these pieces alive for us. 

To me this reminded me of a butterfly's wings!
This is Green Cicada by Marta Mattsson, and YES it is made out of real cicada wings. Mattie would have had a field day with this! The artist says she makes ordinary and familiar objects seem extraordinary!  
This is Salt Necklace by Naama Bergman. Basically this is a steel wire soaked with salt. Again, very innovative and creative, but certainly not practical as an object to wear. 
This is Encroachment, 2013 by Jennifer Trask. This is almost like a three dimensional diorama composed of bone, antler, calcium carbonate and let's not forget TEETH. The flower blossoms had teeth inside.  
No one should leave home without an antler necklace, right? This is entitled, Volute by Jennifer Trask. 
This piece may look colorful and captivating but it has a dark story behind it. It is entitled Sneak by Joyce Scott. Through bead work the artist took on the difficult subject matter of domestic violence. The attacker is in yellow and the woman is down on the right. The three little characters at the top, seem to be pulling the attacker away. We debated who the one on the left in blue was.... perhaps police?
This pink strand of pearls.... is made out of bowling bowls. It is entitled, Bowling Balls by Kathleen Ryan. As we know bowling balls are heavy and yet they seem to be lying weightless on the wall. 
My favorite piece was this one. It is entitled the Yellow Giraffe. It is supposed to be a bracelet but it is truly whimsical. It was created by Robert Baines who was a traditional goldsmith. Yet here he seems to break all the rules by incorporating toys into this piece!

October 23, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 -- Mattie died 475 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2008. A day I will never forget. We took Mattie to Memorial Sloan Kettering to meet with an oncologist and a surgeon. A particular immunotherapy trial for osteosarcoma was being conducted at the hospital and we wanted to find a way to get Mattie enrolled. In addition, Memorial Sloan Kettering was consulted for a second opinion. However, every aspect of our experience there was horrific. The surgeon alone was a made for TV movie. He made us wait four hours to see him (the photo shows Mattie getting very restless). When the surgeon finally graced us with his presence, he could only spend five minutes with us because he was running to a gala across town. If that wasn't bad enough, he spent the first minute of our meeting silent. We just stared at him. Then he started talking, what came out of his mouth was frightening and NOT age appropriate for Mattie. I literally told him to stop talking so I could remove Mattie from the room. In a nutshell, the surgeon said he would not operate on Mattie because Mattie was going to die. We needed to face that and start palliative care. To this day, I still don't like hearing about Memorial Sloan Kettering. 



Quote of the day: Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. ~ Marcus Aurelius





I am proud to say that I drove 273 miles by myself today. My parents and I took a road trip from Washington, DC to Tarrytown, NY. We are in NY because my mom is getting honored by the school she taught at on Thursday.

We snapped a photo at our only rest stop! It was a great place to stop, right before the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Not crowded and clean!


Outside this rest stop was a Fall harvest theme! Mattie would have loved this!!! It was an absolutely beautiful fall day to take on this drive. 
I am in a sweater and my mom is in a coat! In all fairness, compared to LA, it is freezing here!
As we drove into Westchester County from NJ, we crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge. Or at least what used to be the bridge. Now a new suspension bridge is up, parallel to the old bridge. I was stunned. The new bridge is called the Gov. Mario Cuomo bridge. The old bridge is on the right and the new one on the left! Keep in mind that at one time my parents and I lived in NY! I always find it hard to go back to a place I once lived in, because it never remains as how I remembered it to be. 


We checked into the hotel tonight! This hotel means a lot to me as we used to stay here whenever we came back to NY to visit family. When I was in high school, my family moved to Los Angeles. It was a huge adjustment. So every year we would come back to visit family and friends and we would stay at this hotel. We also hosted my grandmother's 80th birthday party here and it was also the hotel where all our out of town guests stayed for our wedding. Clearly the hotel doesn't look the same inside, but it still reminds me of all our family trips!


We checked into the hotel and one thing of the past that NO LONGER exists is porters! I remember the hotel's porter. His name was Joseph. A lovely person, and always treated my grandmother beautifully! How people make me feel is NEVER forgotten no matter how much time lapses by!!!