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

November 30, 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2006. To me this was a great fall themed photo I captured of Mattie and Peter. Getting Mattie to sit still for photos in general wasn't easy. But as he got older, he learned to put up with my requests. The photos in which Mattie wasn't looking directly into the camera, was my signal that Mattie didn't want to sit still. He had a different plan than me, but yet complied with my photo request. I am so glad I always snapped photos in order to remember not only special occasions but everyday living. 

Quote of the day: Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. ~ Margaret Cousins

Peter and I are taking it slower this weekend, as we have another full week ahead of planning for our December annual fund, a check presentation party at Children's Hospital at Sinai, and a ton of admin from the November 7th fall event hosted by friends of Mattie Miracle. 

By noon, Sunny was looking to us for a walk. So we took him back to Roosevelt Island. It is a peaceful place to walk that all three of us enjoy. While walking, we came across two deer! Here's the first one. 

Here is the second one! Fortunately Sunny's on a leash, because if he wasn't, he would be chasing the deer. 

Of course with any walk with Sunny, we had people stopping to talk and pet Sunny. Sunny also got to sniff and check out a couple of dogs on our walk as well. 
Meanwhile, here is Indie. Indie doesn't take well to visitors. I would say she spent a good portion of this week hiding under our bed. However, now that she has full reign of our home, she has made herself comfortable on Peter. 

November 29, 2019

Friday, November 28, 2019

Friday, November 28, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was home from the hospital and he and Peter went to Home Depot and picked a special light to add to their Christmas light display. A display that they would assemble every year, the day after Thanksgiving. Mattie was a huge Scooby Doo fan, so I am not surprised he picked this Great Dane. That year, 2008, was the last year we decorated for the holidays inside and out. 

Quote of the day: Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

This is a photo of Peter and me with our God Daughter, Charlotte. So happy we captured this moment last night. 

During the beginning of November, as we were knee deep in the candy drive, we had a new couch delivered. It was entertaining trying to balance all of this!

This photo is of our old couch. When I say this couch was OLD, I am not kidding, as it was close to 30 years old. So old, that I constantly had it covered in a couch cover. A cover which I changed maybe every other year. 
See what the old couch looked like without the cover? My mom bought me this couch when I first moved into an apartment in Boston to attend graduate school. This couch has served me well..... as it took me from a student to a professional, Mattie grew up with this couch, family and friends slept on the pull out mattress, and frankly it was a consistent in our lives. 
This is the new couch. It is much larger and until we got it, I did not realize how bad our old couch was. Peter has been complaining about the old couch for years, but I don't take to change easily. 

That is until I had kidney stone surgery in March. When I got home to recover, I sat on the couch. Since it was so low and saggy I couldn't easily get up on my own. That was it! I knew we had to make a change.

I would say that the couch is a great new addition, that made entertaining during Thanksgiving much easier. As everyone can easily sit on this couch and there is plenty of room. 

November 28, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. This was Mattie's last Thanksgiving with us. His friend brought him this cute turkey hat, and I am so happy I snapped this whimsical photo of Mattie. Overall, however, Thanksgiving 2008 was a nightmare. Mattie was home recovering from surgery. He was very depressed and the first signs of medical traumatic stress appeared. Yet we had trouble convincing Mattie's medical team that there was a big psychosocial issue brewing. Instead, we were home dealing with all of this on our own. I remember turning on the Macy's Day Parade, to watch it with Mattie. But he did not want any part of it. He was disengaging from the world and it was at that point we could see the large toll cancer was taking on Mattie. A Thanksgiving we will never forget. 

Quote of the day: Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. Franklin P. Jones

This is what our table looked like today on Thanksgiving. 
We set up a buffet which had: turkey, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, green beans, ginger carrots, gravy and fresh cranberry sauce. 

Our group during dessert. Starting left, going counter clockwise: Don (my father in law), Attila, Peter, Charlotte (our God daughter), Koseth, Vicki, Barbara (my mother in law), and Ilona. 

For dessert, I made a pumpkin cheesecake and Barbara made an apple pie. 
Peter jumped out of the photo and Cesar jumped in, during Peter's place. 

Peter worked with Cesar and we met Ilona and her husband Attila in 2014, after the death of their only child, Chris. 

November 27, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was home recovering from two limb salvaging surgeries. We had a hospital bed in our living room while Mattie was convalescing as it was vital that parts of the bed moved to support Mattie's body appropriately.  As you can see Nurse Patches came to the rescue and stuck close to Mattie. This was before we had to board Patches at our vet. Because we spent so much time in the hospital, we were unable to care for Patches and give her daily meds. So she lived at our vet's office for over a year. Mattie missed Patches and he wanted her to visit him in the hospital, but we were never allowed to make that happen. 

Quote of the day: Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. Margaret Cousins

Today we went to see the movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. As my faithful readers know, I never go to the movies. But Mister Rogers is a character all of us love and relate to! 

I am not sure what I was expecting to see in this movie! Perhaps learn more about this soft spoken giant and how his own life influenced his career, ideas, and in essence caused him to be a champion and advocate for childhood mental health. 

However, if you go into this movie with this premise, you are going to be disappointed. This movie did a great job at portraying Mister Rogers' personality, outlook on life, and his love and deep interest for every individual he met. In a way he was the consummate therapist. You could ask him a question, but instead of talking about himself and sharing, he turned around the question and the next thing you know he has you talking about yourself. Certainly a great quality for therapist or preacher, but I am not sure I could have handled this in a spouse or parent. 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is "a sort-of-but-not-really biographical picture (from USA Today)" that chronicles the time Mister Rogers formed an uncanny friendship with a cynical investigative journalist, for the magazine Esquire. In typical Hollywood fashion, one could have thought that this relationship was manufactured to tell a story and to help us understand Mister Rogers personality and life. However, after some digging on the internet, Mister Rogers was indeed interviewed by an Esquire writer by the name of Tom Junod. 

In real life Rogers helped to shift how Tom Junod defined masculinity:
"A lot of men think holding on to your anger and holding grudges fortifies your own sense of machismo and is necessary to being a man in this world," he says. "And Fred in so many ways says, 'You don’t have to do that. Let it go.' And to this day that is something that affects me and guides me."

The one line in the movie that caught my attention was.... EVERYTHING MENTIONABLE IS MANAGEABLE. A direct quote from Rogers. Which truly is the premise of counseling and positive mental health. As giving words to feelings and sharing them with others we ultimately feel empowered in a positive manner. 

Another scene in the movie involves Mister Rogers on a subway train with the Esquire writer. Kids are riding the train after school and notice Rogers sitting near them. They actually break out into song on the train. Again this looks like another crazy Hollywood moment. Except in this case, this happened in real life. Esquire writer said:
It was late in the day, and the train was crowded with children who were going home from school. Though of all races, the schoolchildren were mostly black and Latino, and they didn't even approach Mister Rogers and ask him for his autograph. They just sang. They sang, all at once, all together, the song he sings at the start of his program, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and turned the clattering train into a single soft, runaway choir.

One thing I noticed was that people in the theater were glued to the movie. You could have heard a pin drop. But with that said, I have more questions about Rogers life than answers and I truly would have loved to learn more about his anger that is mentioned in the movie, his issues with his sons, and how this influenced his career and life choices. 

I end tonight's posting with a clip of Rogers testifying before congress in 1969. He was trying to encourage congress to fund PBS so children could have access to quality TV. It is a short clip......................

November 26, 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 -- Mattie died 530 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2002. Mattie was 7 months old and going for a walk with Peter. I have to say that Mattie strongly disliked this baby carrier. Therefore we did not use it that often. Yet this was one of my favorite photos as I loved Mattie in his puppy dog hat. 

Quote of the day: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

We drove to Fredericksburg, VA today. It is about an hour drive each way. The weather was incredible, over 60s! Fredericksburg is a charming historic town to tour. Our first stop was at Kenmore. 

Built by George Washington's sister, Betty Washington Lewis, and her husband, Fielding Lewis, this beautiful, Georgian-style, brick mansion reflects the pre-Revolutionary-War wealth and status of the Fredericksburg merchant. Fielding Lewis was a planter and successful merchant in town. Their plantation grew tobacco, wheat, and corn by the labor of slaves. More than 80 slaves worked on the 1300-acre plantation, including a number of domestic slaves. The mansion's rear frontage was oriented to the Rapahannock River for easy transportation access.

During the Revolutionary War, Lewis loaned the state of Virginia money to build and support a gun factory in Fredericksburg. At the time of his death in 1781, he was still owed £7000, but it was never repaid. He also lost a great deal of money during the war because he was not able to carry on his mercantile business with England. However, his house still stands—with its elegant exterior and interior rooms adorned with colorful paint, wallpaper, and decorative plaster ceilings.

The house is architecturally notable for the remarkable decorative plaster work on the ceilings of many rooms on the first floor. In 1970 the property was declared a National Historic Landmark.
Ironically on the first floor of the home was this room... it was a combination bedroom and social sitting area. Frankly I have never seen a woman of Betty's stature having her social space integrated within her bedroom. To me it was odd and caught my attention, especially when you consider that this room was right near the front door of the house.

Peter pictured with his parents in front of Kenmore!

After our Kenmore tour, we had lunch at Foode. Which was the site of a former National Bank. 
Then we drove to Gari Melchers Home and Studio. To me this is a must see, especially if you love impressionist paintings. What is so unique about this is the property was Melchers' home and studio. In fact, many of his amazing pieces are on display in the studio. 

Melchers' Georgian home was called Belmont and was built in 1790. He is considered a portraitist and American Impressionist painter.

Melchers was one of the most respected artists of his generation as a portraitist, muralist, and landscape painter. Upon Mrs. Melchers’ death in 1955, the property and all its contents were deeded to the Commonwealth of Virginia, making Belmont one of the most complete and authentic artists’ homes anywhere.

This is the foyer of the mansion. It reminded me a lot of Mount Vernon. As the front door opens and across the foyer straight ahead is a back door onto a porch. It was a very inviting, interesting, and artistic home. Clearly they loved to collect things and display them in creative ways. 

All of the docents we had today, both at Kenmore and at Belmont were delightful women. Who really loved what they were doing and appreciated sharing it with their visitors. 

Not far from the mansion, is the artist's studio! This is a photo of the studio.

In the early 1920's Gari Melchers developed plans for the construction of a studio (photo is of the interior of the studio) adjacent to the house, he instructed the architect to design a practical space that would function as both work space and storage, but he was “not to forget that it is meant to be a private gallery and must eventually do service.” Detroit architect, John Donaldson, a longtime friend of Melchers, designed the structure according to the artist’s specifications. Work was completed on the stone building in 1924.

Today the building continues to serve as a Melchers showcase, housing the largest collection of his paintings and drawings anywhere—some 1600 items in all—and features rotating exhibitions spanning the whole of his career.

Here are some samples of his incredible works! He was a direct competitor of John Singer Sargent, and yet, I think it is sad that so many of us have never heard of Gari Melchers!

This watercolor is entitled, Opening Reception. 
 Portrait of Mrs. Melchers
This painting is entitled, Early Spring. A painting with his mansion in the background
This painting is entitled, Window. Most likely he painted his wife sitting in their sun room of their mansion reading a book.

November 25, 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

Monday, November 25, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2002. A friend of mine gave me this huge entertainment saucer. At first I really thought, what am I going to do with this? It took up 1/3 of our living room space. However, I quickly learned that this saucer was a God sent. Mattie would stay in it for a few minutes, while I could get things done around our home. He especially loved how his feet touched the ground and he could turn 360 degrees in this seat!

Quote of the day: When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.Gilbert K. Chesterton

We picked up Peter's parents at the airport today and then went to lunch at the Hamilton, part of the Clyde's Restaurant Group. After lunch we toured the National Museum of the American Indian. Though this Museum has been open since 2004, I have never visited it before. 

Everything about the Museum is not user friendly. Starting with the entrance and proceeding through security. I have been through other Smithsonian museum security check points, but today's experience was bordering on rude. It didn't leave a good first impression. 

I would say that the museum has more space than actual exhibits. They recommend that you start on the fourth floor and work your way down to the first floor. On the fourth floor was a 10 minute introductory video. Saddened to say a video with very little content, no introduction to the museum and NO preparation for what we would be seeing. 

The fourth floor was dedicated to treaties and the deals between Native Americans  and the US government. The content in the Museum is heavy and it is presented in a very sterile and uninteresting manner. Lots of words and little to no actual exhibits. 

I snapped a photo of this display because it was a journal that had an entry for each day, over the course of a whole month. The journal gave us a snapshot of what an American Indian experienced as he was forced to migrate from one state to another. What caught my attention was each day on the journey, a child died. 

We were hoping to see more of the beautiful items created by Native Americans and also learn more about each of the tribes. However, to me the Museum is disjointed and need of a strong curator. 
This display featured dolls and toys. Items children played with that also enabled them to learn about their culture and values. 
This room was noteworthy. It is called the Americans room. On each of the walls, were ads that depicted Native Americans. Specifically how Native Americans were promoted in all every day items...........
 Such as apples.
 A Root Beer Shop.
Even in Friskies!
 Featured in this bourbon ad. 
In the 1970s this ad was popular as it was a fight against pollution. As a viewer, we assumed the person delivering the message was a Native American. Turns out he wasn't in real life. 
We know this honey now as Sue Bee. However, it was once known as Sioux Bee. 
These were handkerchiefs.  But check these out as they were advertised at hanker chiefs. 
It's a corn flakes ad, yet look at how the little girl was dressed. With an Indian headdress.  
Wild West Tribal Chief in Legos no less. 

November 24, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2002. Mattie was 7 months old. He loved looking at books, seeing the pictures, and hearing me tell him stories. As I always say, Mattie was born ON! He always wanted to engage with the world and take everything in. 

Quote of the day: Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie

Peter's parents are coming into town for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I set up Mattie's room and look who seems to have claimed the aero mattress! Got to love Sunny!
Peter and I spent the day doing chores and later in the afternoon, we treated Sunny to a walk on Roosevelt Island. Typically Sunny doesn't walk out on this log. It was a first today! Peter and Mattie always did this together. But when Peter led Sunny out on the log, like Mattie, Sunny was eager to explore new territory!
In the midst of our walk, I can't tell you how many people stopped us. They wanted to pet Sunny and wanted to know what kind of pooch he was! Sunny gets a lot of attention where ever he goes. A whole family with children even came up to Sunny and pet him all over, and he just stood still and was very patient!