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

November 16, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on November 2, 2003. We took Mattie to a farm in Virginia and when he approached this sheep, I just loved their interaction. So I started snapping photos. Back then the iPhone did not exist. Instead I carried a small camera in my purse at all times. I am not sure why, as I never did this prior to Mattie's birth. But I guess I wanted to capture all moments with Mattie, and fortunately I did! 


Quote of the day: One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession. ~ Sophocles


Today we went out to lunch with my freshman college roommate, Leslie, and her husband. It is ironic because Leslie and I both met our husbands at Union College. So in reality all four of us are friends. Now many, many years later we are still friends. We do not have the opportunity to see each other often, but when we do get together, we pick up right where we left off. 

I most likely wouldn't be reflecting on this tonight, but the it was our waiter who pointed out this connection. He told us that he serves many people throughout the week and most people spend a lot of time on their cell phones and NOT conversing with one another. He was amazed that we sat down and had lunch over a four hour time period and never stopped talking. He was so amazed by this that he did not want to disrupt the conversation by giving us a check for the meal. 

In any case, what has happened to people that we have lost the art of conversation?! Why do people prefer having their nose glued to a cell phone rather than living in the moment with the person in front of them? I am not sure I have an answer for this other than we are raising the 'fear of missing out' generation. With social media things are posted every second of the day and in a way this can be addicting and also bordering on stressful. 

Peter and I are both recovering from two weeks of the candy drive and frankly it would have been easier to stay home and sit on the couch all day. But I do find connecting with people and going out energizing, and of course when you are with college buddies, we don't necessarily reflect on the good old days, but it is evident that we have lived them together, and they set the foundation for a solid friendship. 

November 15, 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2004. What was Mattie playing with? Try a cat toy. He was fascinated by the little toy mouse that would pop out of the holes. In fact, I am not sure who liked this toy better, Mattie or Patches!!!



Quote of the day: The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away. ~ Dorothy Day


Our morning started at 6am. Peter got to our Candy Drive site by 7am, and started loading the Uhaul. We managed the truck loading and all of today's deliveries on our own. Which is a feat! We had to place about 70 big boxes into the truck. Thank goodness, Peter is physically strong, because some of these boxes weighed close to 100 pounds each. This was the scene within the garage this morning. 
You can see all the boxes loaded into the Uhaul. Unfortunately we couldn't fit them all in, so we had to make our first delivery in Reston, VA and then we headed back to the garage to pick up the rest of the boxes and clean our friend's garage. 

Our first candy drop was at Cornerstones the Embry Rucker Shelter (Reston, VA). Cornerstones is a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for those in need of food, shelter, affordable housing, quality childcare, and other human services. Cornerstones received 1,000 pounds of candy from us today. 

Our next stop was at Covenant House (Washington,DC). For over 24 years, Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) has served as the region’s leading non-profit throughout the area in protecting, supporting, and transforming the lives of youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, disconnection, and exploitation. CHGW has provided a safe harbor and wrap-around supportive services to one of the area’s most vulnerable populations. The programs and services offered to young people help them to get back on track in achieving housing, career, and economic stability. 

We donated 1,000 pounds of candy to Covenant House today and all the people at the front desk told us that residents look forward to our candy every year!
Our next candy delivery was to Sasha Bruce Youthwork (Washington, DC). Sasha Bruce Youthwork is one of the largest and most experienced providers of services to youth in Washington, DC. Sasha Bruce helps young people find safe homes, achieve and maintain good physical and mental health, create and strengthen supportive and stable families, and explore opportunities in education and careers.
Our last delivery today was at St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth, and Families (Hyattsville, MD). St. Ann’s strengthens and supports families on their journey toward stability. The Center provides a nurturing community where families heal from the past, overcome barriers, and take hold of their future.

Our friend and board member, Ann, delivered candy to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital today. This candy supplies our free snack and item cart at the hospital which serves all in-patient pediatric families. Pictured with the candy is Christine, the Educational Specialist at the Hospital. Christine is a big supporter of our Mattie Miracle Cart. 
Viola! It's magic (well NOT quite).... all the candy is gone. Peter and I plan on taking it easy this weekend as it was a very long and stressful two weeks. 

November 14, 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2004. Mattie was two years old and had just gotten his first table and chairs. He was very excited to have this space. Space to play on, to color, and to create! If there was a flat surface around, sure enough Mattie would transform it with tracks and trains. 

Quote of the day: The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. ~ Pablo Picasso


Peter and I divided and conquered today. I continued dealing with the candy drive, and Peter hopped on a plane for Louisville, KY. Why? Because he had a meeting with the CEO of Aetna, Kentucky. We got connected to this CEO through Spencer, a social worker we presented with and met at professional social workers conference (in Phoenix, April 2019). We are working hard at introducing insurers to the Psychosocial Standards of Care and inspiring them to endorse the Standards of Care and to partner with us on our vision to coordinate a demonstration project. Such a project would help assess outcomes (quality patient care, patient satisfaction, and cost of care) of implementing the Standards at 3-4 treatment sites around the Country. 

My first candy delivery today was to the Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax, VA. I got to meet the childhood cancer clinic's child life professional and art therapist. Both lovely! 
I then drove to the Ronald McDonald House in Falls Church, VA. All I can say is.... thank goodness for GPS. It makes traversing our region much easier for me. As it is stressful enough schlepping candy, much less being worried about getting lost. 

Each site that I visited this week, thanked me profusely for sorting the candy. They know, as I do, that it makes the candy last longer and also makes restocking easier. 


I am so happy our candy drive can support the important work that Nourish Now does in Maryland. Nourish Now is a 501c3 nonprofit food bank, specializing in food recovery and providing donations from grocers, caterers, restaurants, bakeries, and other food donors for the benefit of children, families, and the elderly, as well as shelters, food pantries, and other organizations working to end hunger.
My two friends, Ann and Catherine, drove 500 pounds of candy today to Nourish Now in Rockville, MD. 

November 13, 2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in celebration of Peter's birthday in 2008. Mattie was in the hospital preparing for his second limb salvaging surgery. While in-patient, Mattie made this birthday cake out of model magic for Peter. This cake sits on our bedroom bureau today, and looks like it was just made! This was the last birthday that Peter celebrated with Mattie, and though today is officially Peter's birthday, neither of us really enjoy celebrating anymore. 






Quote of the day: Where grace happens generosity happens. ~ Max Lucado


This week is totally dedicated to delivering candy around the region. Eighteen places to be specific. Check it out:

Monday: 

  1. Hackerman-Patz House; Baltimore, MD
  2. Children's Hospital at Sinai; Baltimore,MD
  3. Ronald McDonald House; Baltimore, MD

Tuesday:

  1. Hospital for Sick Children; Washington, DC
  2. Ronald McDonald House; Washington, DC

Wednesday:

  1. Special Love; McLean, Virginia
  2. Children's Inn at NIH; Bethesda, MD
  3. United Community Ministries; Alexandria, VA

Thursday:

  1. Children's National Medical Center; Washington, DC
  2. Pediatric Specialists of Northern Virginia; Falls Church, VA
  3. Ronald McDonald House; Falls Church, VA
  4. Nourish Now; Rockville, MD
Friday:


  1. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital; Washington, DC
  2. Embry Rucker Community Shelter; Reston, VA
  3. Cornerstones; Reston, VA
  4. Covenant House; Washington, DC
  5. Sasha Bruce; Washington, DC
  6. St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth, and Families; Hyattsville, MD 


Monday and Friday we rent Uhaul trucks to distribute candy. However, Tuesday through Thursday, I stuff my car and drive around town. Thank goodness for GPS.

I met the Program Director for Special Love this morning. Special Love provides many different opportunities for the childhood cancer community to socialize and receive support. We are happy our candy is a special treat during their holiday season. 

 I then drove to the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To get onto NIH's campus is a real feat. Your car has to be inspected, you have to walk through a metal detector, as well as show ID. Many of the security folks remember me because of the candy. When I got to the Inn, I received a lovely greeting from the staff, including Zoey, the therapy dog. 
Our board member and friend, drove to United Community Ministries today and made a large candy donation!
This is what the donation to United Community Ministries looked like. You would think the garage would be empty after all these donations this week. However, it is still quite full. Friday will be a very challenging delivery day. 

November 12, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 -- Mattie died 528 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. We took Mattie to the National Geographic Museum in DC, and right outside the doors to the Museum, were these wonderful bronze sculptures of monkeys. Mattie posed by one with a big smile. To me this photo is priceless. 


Quote of the day: There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have a feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well. So I take the memories as they come, accepting them all, letting them guide me whenever I can. ~ Nicholas Sparks


Today was day two of candy delivery. When I opened the car door this morning to step inside, the smell of candy was OVERWHELMING. I filled the car last night with candy, so that I would be able to hit the road in the morning for deliveries. I visited two places today. First was the Hospital for Sick Children in DC and the second was Ronald McDonald House, DC. 

When I arrive at the Hospital for Sick Children, all the security folks know me. To them, I am the "Candy Lady." It is hysterical, on their walkie talkies, they alert people inside the building that the CANDY LADY is on the premises!






The staff at the Ronald McDonald House snapped this photo of me today with all the candy we donated. They couldn't get over what they were seeing. The staff are new to the House, so this was their first time seeing our donation. It is always interesting to see how new people react to my visit. Though I am sure this looks like a lot of candy, to me it is nothing. Mainly because I have the context of knowing what 18,000 pounds of candy looks like.... candy to fill an entire garage!

After the candy delivery, I drove back to Arlington to refill the car for tomorrow's deliveries. When I tell you that it takes me hours to load the car, I am not kidding. Keep in mind that candy is a lot heavier than it looks! The Candy Drive is the ultimate work out!

November 11, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. I have many photos like this, mainly because Mattie loved to create! Not just create, but he loved painting with his feet. There was where he and I differed greatly. Nonetheless, Mattie created some beautiful pictures that went on the front of note cards. If you look closely at the photo, you will see Mattie's feet were a mess. Yet when he was finished painting, he would put his arms up in the air, which signaled that he was ready to be picked up and transported to the kitchen sink to get clean. Never did I have to worry about him running around our home with painted feet. 


Quote of the day: Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


We started our day bright and early. Peter loaded the Uhaul with the help of our friend, Don. Then we were on our way to Baltimore to start candy deliveries. Being that it is Veteran's Day, traffic was very light, which was a gift. 
Our first stop was to the Hackerman Patz House at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. It is considered one's 'home away from home,' when a loved one is treated at Children's Hospital at Sinai. Families can stay in this facility for a nominal fee, instead of having to commute and stay in a hotel. For the past three years, we have donated candy to this house. 
Our second delivery today was to Children's Hospital at Sinai. Where we house one of our FREE snack and item carts. Adina, our child life specialist, met us and helped us store the candy on-site. Adina is committed to the cart and she even sent me a video today of what the cart looked like fully restocked!
Our last stop today was at the NEW Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. It was a four year campaign to build this 55 room house, and let me assure you the attention to detail in the design was incredible. We got a tour of the house from Debbie, the Vice President of the House. We interact with Debbie and Sandy (the CEO) every November when we make our deliveries.



Take a virtual tour of this facility:
https://rmhcmaryland.org/be-our-guest/photo-tour/

By the elevator banks at the House, there are hundreds of stones. Stones that have sayings on them, written by patients. 
There are over 200 pieces of art hung all around the house. Each of these pieces was donated by a regional artist. The house has 6 floors, each with its own theme. I loved this hotwheels art piece. Mattie would have responded well to it!
On the fifth floor, all the rooms are for children who have cancer. Each room is a suite. In the hallway, right off the elevator, was this heart made out of butterflies. The heart is the Ronald McDonald House symbol. 
Can't miss this heart! It is huge and on top of the house. This is the sixth floor of the house. It has outdoor terraces, with amazing views of the city as well as fountains. I can imagine that families truly appreciate this space, especially after spending a full day in the hospital. 

November 10, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2006. As you can see, Mattie was doing a favorite activity.... painting in our living room. One thing I learned early on with Mattie and that was I had to engage his mind and his body. Otherwise, he would get bored. Mattie loved to build and create things. He particularly loved three dimensional puzzles and models like this dinosaur. Despite Mattie's need to be busy, he was very neat and contained his paint to the area he was working in. Which to me was always remarkable how he understood certain things without me having to tell him. 



Quote of the day: For it is in giving that we receive. ~ St. Francis of Assisi


Peter and I could have never made it today without the amazing volunteers who showed up to help us. Actually people truly amaze me. Several of the volunteers who found out about our Candy Drive on a local listserv, became dedicated volunteers this year! So much so, that they brought their entire family to help us today. Originally we were planning on taking the day off since deliveries start tomorrow. But given the volume of candy that came in, we couldn't process all of it yesterday. In addition, we had three more deliveries today! All these boxes that Peter was standing next to are filled with sorted candy. 


Our board member Brett delivered sorted candy to us today. His wife is the Director of Take the Stage Performance Company and her students collect and sort for us every year. 
Brett took this cute photo of us. We estimate our collection at 18,000 pounds!
The amazing group of volunteers! I can't tell you how much candy they processed through today. 

Left to Right (on the left side): Caroline, Lulu, Maria, Megan, Brooklyn, and Brayden

Left to right (on the right side): Vicki, Abby, Mary, Peter, and Mike
One of the highlights of doing the Candy Drive at my friend's, Ali, home, is that I get to spend time with her children. This cutie is Charlotte. Charlotte and I get along splendidly, as we are a lot alike. 
This is Parker. Another cutie. 
This fellow under the jack-o-lantern is Grayson. Ali's youngest. He is as cute as a button. All three children came out to the garage daily to help sort candy and to interact with us. My friend Margaret, who died of ALS, would be very happy to know that I am getting to know her grandchildren and that they are helping with Mattie Miracle work. 
I end with this photo! Someone donated two banana flavored lollipops with scorpions inside of them. The arachnids were dead, but STILL!!!