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

January 5, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2008. This was five months before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. I think what this picture illustrates is that Mattie was healthy, happy, had a tremendous amount of energy, and looked and acted like a "normal" child. On the day featured in this picture, I picked up Mattie and his "girlfriend," Charlotte from school for a playdate. Mattie was very excited to show Charlotte where he lived. For those of you NOT familiar with the Washington, DC area, then you aren't aware of the issues associated with traveling between states.... DC, Maryland (MD), and Virginia (VA). Basically these states (and I use the term LOOSELY with DC!) all neighbor on one another and commuting from one to the other is VERY simple. However, over time I realized that not everyone who lives in my area would agree with me. People who live in VA, do not like commuting to DC or MD, and those living in MD do not like commuting to DC or VA. Mattie went to preschool and kindergarten in VA, yet I learned early on that not many of Mattie's friends wanted to travel to the District to visit him. Keep in mind the commute is about 15 to 20 minutes maximum from VA to DC. Nonetheless, I grew to respect this thinking, but I assure you when Mattie did have friends over, it was a big deal to him. That afternoon, it was pouring outside, and Mattie and Charlotte got creative inside. One of Mattie's favorite past times was jumping on mattresses. I recall loving this as a child too, so in all reality, I never stopped that process and enjoyment. However, pay close attention to Mattie's bed. Under his cover, was not only his mattress, but he had an aeromattress on top of his bed mattress. This air mattress was something Mattie loved to take out on the weekends, because he and Peter would have camp outs in our living room. However, that particular week he wouldn't let me deflate the mattress. Instead he wanted to put it on top of his bed, and sleep high off the ground. This was not something I was comfortable with, but he did sleep like this for several weeks. When Charlotte saw this air mattress on top of his bed, she couldn't get over it! The both of them loved jumping up and down that day and I recall the laughter quite vividly. Charlotte has a very contagious and beautiful laugh and Mattie knew just what to say and do most days to showcase that laugh!

Quote of the day: Personally, I think we all don’t even start to climb out of the murky depths until we’ve fully explored them. ~ Rosalinda Raynes

My flight was uneventful on Tuesday. Thankfully, because I was so anxious about it that I did not sleep well on Monday night. Fortunately good weather throughout the Country made traveling much easier than my flight to Los Angeles. In fact, we had quite a tail wind, and landed in Virginia 30 minutes early. That was my kind of flight! Nonetheless, there is always something to report while flying. In the cabin of the plane were two flight attendants. As they were serving drinks, they were talking quite loudly to one another. One of the flight attendants felt it was important to announce to the other attendant that someone vomited in the rear of the plane. She did not like the smell and stated, "I don't do vomit!" Frankly I get her point, but honestly did all the passengers need to hear this? I highly doubt it! Also I would imagine air sickness is not that uncommon, so from my perspective it seems to be a hazard associated with the job. Gone are the days when flight attendants were helpful, respectful, and competent. I am certainly not suggesting that this woman represents all flight attendants, but I suppose as the industry and passengers change, so does the quality and caliber of service. I can remember flying on a plane as a child, and the flight attendants would be holding my hand down the aisle, chatting with my family, and offering to help. Now when most flight attendants see children, you can see that... Oh My GOD look on their faces!

I was seated in a row last night with a mother and her two children. The children had to be two and four years of age. The girls were sweet and for the most part quite docile. They just came off another long flight, so the fact that they sat still for an additional four hour flight was impressive. In any case, throughout the entire flight, this mom was impatient, snapping at her girls, barking out commands, and expecting them to be "perfect." If they slouched in their seats, she physically straightened them up. She expected them to comply, and frankly I wouldn't like to see the consequences for non-compliance. Listening to her agitated me, so I can only imagine how a little person perceives her. At one point, the two year old had it. She wanted off the plane (I couldn't blame her, but that wasn't an option!), and was fidgeting. The mom started screaming at her. However, she gave her no alternative to fidgeting. She had NO books and NO toys for the girls. Honestly if she boarded a plane with Mattie, he would have given her a run for her money. Because five minutes into the flight he would have been bored out of his mind, and he would have really pushed all her buttons. Some times I do think certain children are matched up with certain parents. I recall several of Mattie's therapists telling me this, because Mattie was a challenging combination of being very bright and highly energetic! As Mattie's pediatrician once said, not every parent could handle "a Mattie."

When I arrived at the airport Peter greeted me and to my surprise he brought me a gift. I certainly did not expect a gift. Early on in our marriage, we decided NOT to exchange Christmas presents with each other. For us, acknowledging each other once a year seemed silly, because it is really 365 days that matter, NOT just one day. In addition, we typically had so many other gifts to purchase for family members, that it took the fun out of gift exchanging over the holidays. When I opened the gifts, I could see that they were Pandora charms for my bracelet. As some of my readers may recall, Margaret (Mattie's preschool teacher and my friend) gave me a Pandora bracelet for my birthday. My goal is to create a remembrance bracelet filled with charms that speak about Mattie's life. Margaret started me off with a beautiful Sun charm, Christine gave me a silver cupcake (since Mattie loved cupcakes), and my parents recently gave me a moonstone charm (for my Mattie Moon), and two beautiful murano glass charms. One with pink hearts on red glass, since Red was Mattie's favorite color. Peter gave me several charms that I feel do a wonderful job capturing the essence of Mattie: The letter M, a ladybug, a butterfly, an angel, and a rose (to signify all the times we planted together!). Needless to say, my bracelet looks beautiful. Today I went into the Pandora store to exchange a duplicate charm and was telling the lady the story about the bracelet and each of the charms purchased for me. She was very touched by the meaning of this piece, and to me that is the beauty of a Pandora bracelet. It can be artistic, stylish, and/or tell a story.

I spent the day being "busy" and alone. Sometimes being busy is important during major transitions. However, by dinner time, I was very tired and also did not want to cook. So I met Peter at Mattie's favorite restaurant. Peter was working at a client site close to the restaurant, which made this even possible. I felt hungry, but by the time I started eating, I think I was more tired than hungry, so I wasn't the best dinner companion. The ironic part is as I sat down tonight to write the blog, I said to myself, "I have nothing to say." "Nothing to write about!" I sometimes surprise myself, since I have been doing this for so long, I no longer plot out what I want to write or say. It just comes to me. Some of you may be saying, that explains a lot!

I received a wonderful e-mail today from Lauren's teacher, Siri. Many of my readers know that Lauren is an osteosarcoma survivor and in middle school in Pennsylvania. Lauren was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma a week after Mattie. Lauren is the creative teen who envisioned the concept of "Bows for Hope." She and her friends make hair bows out of stylish duct tape! Lauren created this project in response to a class assignment. But she breathed life into this assignment, increased awareness about pediatric cancer in her school and her community, and in the process generated a very sizable contribution for the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation. I am in awe of Lauren, her passion to help other children, and her energy to continue this project. She has another big bow sale at her school this coming Monday, and again all the proceeds from her sale, will go to Mattie's Foundation. Here is the message her teacher, Siri, sent me today. Siri has been very supportive of Lauren, and has reached out to me numerous times throughout the year. I will keep you posted on this exciting event! Siri wrote, " I wanted to let you know that there will be a national broadcast about Lauren and your organization on a school tv show that is all over the country in middle and high schools. They asked me for a picture of your son. Would you be able to provide one for the story? They are filming on Friday and then on Monday when we pull together a one day bow sale. : ) Lauren will be narrating a script that will be written by the person I have connected with through Channel One, it is owned by CBS."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Vicki,
Glad your plane trip home went o.k. You have been on my mind, nonstop, as I was envisioning your trip and transition back home, and into a new year, and knowing how difficult that can be. Regarding that too demanding mom on the plane, I am not sure I would have been able to hold my tongue, and not commented on how well behaved the children were, and then would have let her know, how it reminded me of my flights with my boys when they were little, and how I would give anything to have those days back, and just how uncertain life can be, and how much she should be enjoying each minute with her precious little ones. Like you, it irritates me so, to see people not have anything at all to entertain their kids, and then expect them to sit like a statue...I know for myself, I have to have something to read, or entertain myself with, or I go nuts! I always traveled with a suitcase full of toys, books, snacks, etc. when my kids were younger. Can't imagine getting on an airplane with children that young, and expecting them to just sit there!
I'm on my way to Houston today to lend moral support to a mom and her daughter who are having scans for a possible relapse with Ewings sarcoma. Also meeting with friends who have Jori Zemel Organization, that raises funds for osteo Sitting back in MD Anderson waiting room is always challenging, emotionally, yet at the same time, I sometimes feel closer to Keaton there...we spent so many hours there these past 3 years.
Keeping you in my thoughts.

Karen, Mother of Keaton for Always