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

February 3, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. This was Mattie's first trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the sand and ocean were down right overwhelming and intimidating to him. In fact, throughout that entire week's vacation, we may have ventured to the beach twice, and for very short periods of time. Mattie did not like the feel of the sand on his feet and the sound of the ocean waves crashing down on the shore scared him terribly. Needless to say, for a person who finds the beach therapeutic, I was very upset that Mattie did not share my love for this immediately. But we did not give up. Each summer thereafter, we kept bringing him back to the beach, and by the third summer, he loved it. Mattie began to see the building possibilities with sand and that could absorb him for hours!

Quote of the day: No greater grief than to remember days of gladness when sorrow is at hand. ~ Friedrich von Schiller

When I read this quote, I felt transported back to the last week of Mattie's life. We were at the hospital and fighting to make him comfortable, since his body was filling up with fluid and he was having a horrific time breathing. I recall those were days of gladness (because Mattie was still with us) but they were also clouded with a sense of sorrow, because we knew Mattie's death was imminent. I remember these days so well, and I concur they do produce and contribute to the grief Peter and I feel now.

February is turning out to be a very busy month for me. Perhaps focusing on different things right now will be good for me. The first and foremost thing on our mind is the Foundation's Walk on May 22, 2011. Peter and I are having our first planning meeting with our amazing volunteers in about two weeks. We have a core group of about 30 people who walk this journey with us each spring to plan this event. I am not sure where we would be without them?!

The other activity Peter and I are involved with this month is lobbying on Capitol Hill for pediatric cancer. Our Foundation is very grateful to Mercury, a high stakes public strategy firm, for working with us to develop an advocacy plan. I look forward to sharing more about this with you as it unfolds.

I mentioned this in the Fall, but I will be working with one of the kindergarten teachers at Mattie's school this semester to develop a three part series on Matisse and Picasso for the children. As many of my readers know, I have been an educator for many years, but of adults. Never of children, much less kindergarten aged children. I have been brainstorming several hands on activities for the children as they learn about the wonderful works and talents of two great artists. I appreciate Donna's invitation to come to her classroom, and her openness to share her students with me. One of the things you notice immediately in your life when your child dies, is that your opportunity to be around other children diminishes. When Mattie died, many aspects of my life died along with him, and in a way, I feel that Donna is trying to help me recapture this piece of myself. Needless to say, I went to the public library today and checked out several books on Matisse and Picasso, that I know will be helpful as I prepare for the sessions with the children.

It is funny how you can start out the day, and not really be prepared for how it will end up. This evening, as I drove back home and was parking in our complex's garage, I saw a neighbor of mine. I have known Kathleen for many years and she was very fond of Mattie. Kathleen is one of my older adult friends. When she learned that Mattie had cancer, she too was devastated. During our returns from the hospital, between treatments, she would always leave me something at my door, as a welcome home present. Many times she left me flowers because she knows how much I love gardening. She would leave me happy flowers like sunflowers or gerber daisies! She continues to reach out to me after Mattie died, but I wasn't in a reachable place for the most part, well maybe until today.

We started talking in the parking garage, and after I helped her inside the building, she asked me if I would like to visit with her in her home. Because Peter was working late tonight, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to connect. I spent several hours with her over tea and cookies. During that time, I learned all about her life. Her life story literally blew me away. It wasn't what I was expecting to hear, especially since she seems like such a happy, well-adjusted, and sensible lady. She has suffered many heartaches in her life, along with many losses. Her mother died when she was only 8 years old. When she learned of her mother's death, the nuns who were visiting her family basically told her "to make the most out of it!" I asked her what on earth that was supposed to mean? She said they were trying to tell her this was an opportunity for her to connect further with God. I get the message, but the delivery of this to an eight year old seems a little inappropriate. Because this is Kathleen's life, I am not going into details here on the blog, but suffice it to say, I can't remember the last time I listened so intently to a life story. I almost felt like I was a child again, listening to a story and was SO eager to hear all the details and the outcomes. I told Kathleen that her life story should be written down, and her response to me was no one would be interested in it. For some reason I got the feeling that no one ever told Kathleen that she was special, that she was a survivor in so many ways, and that despite her own pain, she carries on in a cheerful and spiritual manner. My visit with her made me pause tonight, because she wanted me to know that the hardship I am experiencing now is making me stronger than I know. She says this strength will be needed later on in life. I found that premonition actually daunting because when she said that I imagined that potentially I will experience something even worse than losing Mattie.   

After our tea, I gave Kathleen a hug, and thanked her for sharing part of her life with me. She showed me family pictures, and a picture of her and her brothers when they were children. It is a very special feeling holding someone's memories in your hands, and as I looked at a picture of her mother, she recalled the dress her mother was wearing in the picture so vividly to me. The picture was black and white, but her description was most definitely in color. As I was leaving Kathleen told me that every time she sees my car, she thinks of Mattie, and almost looks to see if he is in the backseat. But of course he isn't, nonetheless, she wanted me to know that this doesn't prevent her from saying hi and talking internally to him.

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