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

August 17, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on August 31, 2008. That day was full house in Mattie's hospital room. Mattie's three cousins, aunt, and uncle were visiting. In addition, several of Peter's friends from Arthur Andersen came by to show their support. As they were going to do a Live Strong bike ride in Mattie's honor. 

Quote of the day: Some fun facts....BOSTON IS NAMED AFTER A TOWN IN ENGLAND. REVERE BEACH WAS THE COUNTRY’S FIRST PUBLIC BEACH.
BOSTON BUILT AMERICA’S FIRST SUBWAY IN 1897. THE OLDEST PUBLIC PARK IN THE USA IS IN BOSTON. ~ trolleytours.com


Hailed as the "Cradle of American Independence," Boston is filled with historic sites. Boston was America's first great city. In the 19th century, Boston was rightly described as the "Athens of America." Today this city of 800,000 retains its vitality, combining historic districts with revitalized urban centers while remaining faithful to its venerable roots. It is a city every American should visit at least once. 

We arrived in Boston this morning. As you can see the fog is following us! Nonetheless, it is much warmer in Boston than Canada and Maine. 

We ventured on a four hour walking tour of Boston! We boarded a bus which took us to Boston Commons and then began walking. We had an amazing tour guide! Boston is a wonderfully clean, friendly, and doable city!
Massachusetts Statehouse or the New State House, is the state capitol and seat of government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston. The building houses the Massachusetts General Court (state legislature) and the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts. The building, designed by architect Charles Bulfinch, was completed in January 1798 at a cost of $133,333 (more than five times the budget), and has repeatedly been enlarged since. It is considered a masterpiece of Federal architecture and among Bulfinch's finest works, and was designated a National Historic Landmark for its architectural significance.

The original wood dome, which leaked, was covered with copper in 1802 by Paul Revere's Revere Copper Company. Revere was the first American to roll copper successfully into sheets in a commercially viable manner.

The dome was first painted gray and then light yellow before being gilded with gold leaf in 1874. During World War II, the dome was painted gray once again, to prevent reflection during blackouts and to protect the city and building from bombing attacks. In 1997, at a cost of more than $300,000, the dome was re-gilded, in 23k gold.

The dome is topped with a gilded, wooden pine cone, symbolizing both the importance of Boston's lumber industry during early colonial times and of the state of Maine, which was a district of the Commonwealth when the Bulfinch section of the building was completed.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common (common, because it was a green space meant for the common man) to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. 

Stops along the trail include simple explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable churches and buildings, and a historic naval frigate. 

The Freedom Trail was conceived by local journalist William Schofield, who in 1951 suggested building a pedestrian trail to link important local landmarks. Boston mayor John Hynes decided to put Schofield's idea into action. By 1953, 40,000 people were walking the trail annually.

The Granary Burying Ground is the city of Boston's third-oldest cemetery, founded in 1660 and located on Tremont Street. It is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots, including Paul Revere, the five victims of the Boston Massacre, and three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine. The cemetery has 2,345 grave-markers, but historians estimate that as many as 5,000 people are buried in it.

Samuel Adams' resting spot. Our guide, Mike, was fantastic. He walked with 25 of us and brought the American Revolution to life for us. Frankly this is the way to learn about history and I have a feeling school children in Massachusetts have a better command of our founding fathers and history than most of us. 

Mike described Adams as a spit fire and a true patriot that was instrumental in us succeeding from British rule.

This grave stone marks the five people killed in the Boston Massacre. Mike says the Massacre is a misnomer as about 20 people died in this battle. Do notice the name Christopher Snider, age 12 on this stone. 

Apparently Samuel Adams incited the Massacre as he claimed that the British shot this 12 year old and therefore there should be retaliation.

On February 22, 1770, Snider joined a crowd outside the house of Ebenezer Richardson in the North End. Richardson was a customs service employee who had tried to disperse a protest in front of the shop of Loyalist Theophilus Lillie. The crowd threw stones which broke Richardson's windows and struck his wife. Richardson fired a gun into the crowd, wounding Snider in the arm and the chest. The boy died that evening. Samuel Adams arranged for the funeral, which was attended by more than 2,000 people. He was buried in Granary Burying Ground; the victims of the Boston Massacre are buried near him.


Snider's killing and large public funeral fueled public outrage which reached a peak in the Boston Massacre 11 days later. Richardson was convicted of murder that spring, but then received a royal pardon and a new job within the customs service on the grounds that he had acted in self-defense. This became a major American grievance against the British government.

This wonderful donkey is outside the Old City Hall. Here's the story behind him...

Back in the ’90s, Robert Webb was browsing in a Florence art store filled with statues for anyone hoping to take a piece of Italy home with them. Tucked behind a replica of Michelangelo’s David, he discovered a small bronze burro. Those other customers might have been there for Renaissance art, but not Webb: He purchased the little guy for just under $10,000, then shipped it home to Boston. He intended to present the donkey statue to the City of Boston as a gift, with the idea that it’d be a welcome distraction for young children struggling to pay attention during the Freedom Trail walking tour.

To justify the statue’s placement, he said the donkey represented the Democratic Party, a political affiliation long held by Boston’s mayors. Soon after, Webb says tenants in the City Hall building asked him where the statue’s Republican elephant counterpart would go. Rather than fly back to Florence, Webb decided to place two footsteps in front of the donkey so those who disagreed with the Democratic party could stand in opposition to it.

 This is Old South Church. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970 for its architectural significance as one of the finest High Victorian Gothic churches in New England. It is home to one of the older religious communities in the United States.
This was the old state house. As soon as I saw it, I remember Peter telling me that his maternal grandmother stood before this building in 1976, during the bicentennial to hear Queen Elizabeth address the crowd. Each July 4th, the Declaration of Independence is read from this balcony.  

Mike told us that in the 1950s, Boston wanted to tear down this building in order to widen the roads. However, Chicago heard this and wanted to purchase the building... moving brick by brick to Illinois. Boston couldn't allow this to happen, and instead preserved the building. Perhaps without Chicago, this building wouldn't still be here!
I can't help myself. When I see things that remind me of Boston spirit, I snap photos. Anyone who knows Boston, knows they love their sports!!!
How about this man hole cover? Right in the middle of Quincy Market. With the Boston Bruins (ice hockey) logo!
Me at Quincy Market. I remember visiting this Market when I was still living in New York (middle school). It was a school trip, and I found the Market incredible back then. 


Quincy Market is a historic market complex near Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It was constructed in 1824–26 and named in honor of Mayor Josiah Quincy, who organized its construction without any tax or debt. The market is a designated National Historic Landmark and Boston Landmark, significant as one of the largest market complexes built in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.
The beginning of the The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.  A linear park consisting of landscaped gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains, art, and specialty lighting systems that stretch over one mile through the Chinatown, Financial District, Waterfront, and North End neighborhoods. It is hard to believe before the "Big Dig" this was a central artery for traffic in Boston. 

Built c.1680, this was the colonial home of American patriot Paul Revere during the time of the American Revolution.
The beautiful North End. The Italian district in Boston. Today, around 25% of residents are Italian. 
More Boston Humor. A shirt that translates to "wicked smart!"
This is Cantina Italiano! When I lived in Boston, and attended graduate school, Peter and I used to eat at this restaurant. 
Old North Church in the distance with Paul Revere Statue. This is the location from which the famous "One if by land, two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent. This phrase is related to Paul Revere's midnight ride, of April 18, 1775, which preceded the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.


Two plaques are on display at the Iraq-Afghanistan Memorial located within the Old North Memorial Garden. One plaque describes the dog tags as representing each American service person who lost their life in the wars (the count currently stands at 6,970). The second plaque, a bronze poppy wreath, honors service persons from the British Commonwealth that have died.
The Old North Church is a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. It was built in 1723 and is the oldest standing church building in Boston and a National Historic Landmark. 
Though we did not go into the church, it felt like we were standing on a piece of history! In fact, I would say that about the entire Freedom Trail. Definitely a MUST when in Boston. 
















Meanwhile this afternoon I got a text from my sister in law, Lisa. Lisa, Chris (Peter's brother), Sydney (my niece) and Will (my nephew) got in their boat and came along side our ship to wave at us. It was a ton of fun trying to find each other!
To give you some perspective of our height difference!!! We waved, texted each other, shouted at each other, and they blew their boat horn at me! Love it. 

August 16, 2019

Friday, August 16, 2019

Friday, August 16, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2008. As you can see, Mattie was drawing all over the white erase board in his hospital room. When Mattie was not drawing there (which honestly he rarely did), what you would see instead were numbers. As we had to record Mattie's intake and output volumes each day while in the hospital. I am talking about 24/7. At first it was hard to get into that routine, but after doing it enough, going to the board and recording volumes became second nature to us. 





Quote of the day: Acclaimed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and author Stephen King were both born in Portland. King still maintains a residence in his native state. ~ mentalfloss.com


Our waiter, Mauricio, snapped this photo of us last night at dinner. There were two formal nights on the ship, and this was our second evening getting dressed up. Notice Mattie Moon in the background. Along with us on our journey. 







Portland was founded in 1632 by the British as a fishing and trading post and named Casco. In 1658 the name was changed to Falmouth and Portland was put on the map in 1786. While Portland's name has changed over the years the essence of the area has not changed. Today, Portland still remains a vibrant fishing and commercial port, Maine's largest city, and its cultural, social and economic capital. 

Maine produces 99% of all the blueberries in the country making it the single largest producer of blueberries in the United States. In addition, approximately 40 million pounds (nearly 90%) of the nation's lobster supply is caught off the coast of Maine. But what surprised me is that tourism is the number one source of revenue for the State. 

We docked in Portland and then took a bus to Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Along our drive we passed incredible Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian style homes, including this "wedding cake house." It is the most photographed home in Maine, however, the home is in bad condition and truly needs to be restored. The home was built in 1825 by shipbuilder George W. Bourne, for his wife. 
The beautiful rocky coast of Maine. Keep in mind that the water is cold, in the 60s!
We drove to Kennebunkport (about 60 minutes from the port), known for the houses of the rich and famous. 
Kennebunkport is particularly famous for this compound which belonged to President George H. Bush. The family still owns the home and our tour guide, Julie, said that the family was in town since the flags were up. 
Driving over the river, gets you in Kennebunk. An absolutely charming town filled with shops, restaurants, and beautiful water views. 
If you had to imagine the quintessential New England coastal town, this is it!
We crossed the street numerous times and people actually stopped their cars and were courteous. Absolutely refreshing. 
I was intrigued by the store with all the whirligigs. 
We were given about 75 minutes in town. Along the way, we stopped at Rococo's. Known for its creative ice creams. 
We had goat cheese with blueberry ice cream and chocolate coconut cream. Both were fabulous. 
Then we got back on the bus and headed to Fort Williams Park. Home of the famous Portland Head Light. The oldest Maine lighthouse. It was an extraordinary sight!!

Near the lighthouse was this plaque. It read:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (born in Maine) often walked from Portland to visit this lighthouse. The keepers were his friends and it is believed he sat here for inspiration for his poem the Lighthouse.....

Sail on, Sail on ye stately ships
And with your floating bridge 
the ocen span
Be mine to guard this light
from all eclipse
Be yours to bring man near unto man.

With the American, Maine, and Cape Elizabeth flags! You can walk all around the lighthouse, just not in it. 
I have seen this lighthouse on TV, but in person, it is incredible. Construction began in 1787 at the directive of George Washington, and was completed on January 10, 1791, using a fund of $1,500, established by him. 
Being a lighthouse fan, this was a special treat! What you may not notice, is there was also a lighthouse in the background. It is the Rams Island Ledge Lighthouse. It marks the entrance to Boothbay Harbor. 














This is Rams Island Ledge Lighthouse. Julie told us that this lighthouse was scheduled to be torn down. Until a doctor and lawyer went into a bidding war over this structure. The lawyer won, spending over $100,000 to purchase the lighthouse. What is he going to do with it? Nothing! He bought it to preserve it and its history. 


August 15, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on August 21, 2008. That day the head and assistant football coaches at Mattie's school came to visit us. With them, they brought a signed team ball, a signed team photo and lots of other gear. We knew the assistant coach, because he was one of Mattie's kindergarten teachers. But Coach Dave (in red), never met us, until that very visit. 


Quote of the day: Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia. It hosts the largest population east of Quebec City – 403,000 people at last count.
Halifax has been around for a long time. It was founded in 1749 by Honorable Edward Cornwallis of England. The Cunard Steamship Line was founded in Halifax in 1840. ~ hikebiketravel.com


Last night our waiter, Mauricio (from Peru), snapped this photo of me. I entitle it.... I caught Mattie Moon!
All three of us last night with the moon!
We arrived at the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia this morning. This was the view from the balcony. This fog did not burn off until 10:30am. Honestly it was disorienting, as we could have been anywhere!

This is the famous Pier 21! It is Canada's last remaining ocean immigration shed. The facility is often compared to Ellis Island (1892–1954), in terms of its importance to mid-20th-century immigration to Canada. Literally we disembarked from the ship into Pier 21. Seems like a rather historic greeting, given the number of immigrants who walked through these doors. 

The capital of Nova Scotia is Halifax and the largest city in Canada's Atlantic Provinces. Halifax was once Great Britain's major military bastion in North America.

Our tour guide, Glenn, was incredible. A retired principal. However, he sounded like Jimmy Stewart. If you closed your eyes, you would have thought you were transported in time to Hollywood. He made Halifax come alive for us. 
 I would say that Halifax has the most significant infrastructure compared to the other islands we have visited on this trip. They have 6 universities and major medical centers. 

Halifax also has distinct geographical territories that are defined by tree type. Lots of oaks and pine. But there is a part of the Island that is simply lined with granite cliffs. 
Halifax is filled with charming fishing villages. 
Our first stop today was at Peggy's Cove. The first recorded name of the cove was Eastern Point Harbor or Peggs Harbor in 1766. The village is likely named after Saint Margaret's Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret), which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother Marguerite. There has been much folklore created to explain the name.
We had about an hour to walk around this charming fishing village. Filled with cute shops, a few restaurants, and even a lighthouse. 
 Hags on the Hill was tongue a cheek! The ladies who operate the store are young and have a cute sense of humor. Many of the things sold at Peggy's Cove are made in Halifax!









This Peggy's Point Lighthouse. The classic red and white structure was built in 1914 and it is still in use today. 

Do notice the incredible granite cliff that this lighthouse sits on. Our tour guide warned us about climbing on the rocks, as they are very slippery. He told us that many tourists have slipped in the past and had to go to the hospital. Basically it was a warning NOT to climb. Especially with the fog all around us.

I think this is one charming lighthouse, especially surrounded by granite. It makes it look so stately! You are not allowed inside the lighthouse. 
Glenn made it very clear to be back on the bus in an hour. So much so that I set a timer on my phone. The reason for being so timely was because it took an hour to drive back into town where the Fairview Cemetery is located. The Cemetery which has the largest number of Titanic victims buried. 
Well 50 of us got back on the bus! But we were missing one passenger! We waited for thirty minutes and even some of us on the bus got off again to search for this passenger. I am saddened to say we never found him. We do not know what happened to him and the ship basically asked us to return without continuing our tour! So we never made it to the Titanic Cemetery. I am a big Titanic follower, so this was disappointing. 
We drove passed the Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Other than the ocean itself, it is the world's largest burial ground of 121 Titanic victims.

I can't tell you how many stories Glenn told us about passengers who survived the Titanic. He also recanted how horrific it was in Halifax, as all the dead were brought to her shores. When the Titanic went down the closest land mass was Newfoundland. However, because Halifax has access to trains, Halifax was chosen to collect all remains and to bury victims. 

Glenn is a born story teller. You literally  could hear a pin drop in the bus as he was sharing the stories of victims and survivors. We were all glued to every word he was sharing. His stories remind me of how one death can send an entire family's life spinning. Forever! It is my hope that we can one day return to Halifax so that I can visit the museum and Cemetery.