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

June 16, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2007 at Peter's parents home in Boston. This was Mattie's first experience with a slip and slide, and as you can see he took to it immediately. The faster he went down this slide, the better he liked it.
Quote of the day: And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery
On Friday night, Peter and I went out to dinner with Deborah. I met Deborah almost two years ago at another childhood cancer organization's fundraiser. Deborah and I took a liking to each other immediately, and from that brief encounter we have become friends. Deborah is a patient care advocate and skilled with pediatric palliative care issues. In November of 2011, Deborah invited Peter and I to serve on a parent panel at the annual DC Palliative Care conference. This was a very powerful and meaningful panel experience for us. It is a very atypical experience for Peter and I to be able to talk freely about Mattie's cancer, his death, and our reactions and feelings about this with others. Most people in our lives can't or do not want to hear about these issues, but in a palliative care educational setting, our insights are valuable and are needed. Deborah is giving us another opportunity on June 29, to present to physicians, nurses, and hospital personnel at the Georgetown University Hospital's Grand Rounds.
We meet with Deborah periodically for dinner. Deborah is very familiar with loss, since she lost two children, and more recently her husband. So we can relate to each other on a professional but also a personal level, and she gives Peter and I opportunities to be reflective and to share our feelings with each other. For the most part, though Peter and I do talk about Mattie often, we do not always reflect on the deeper pain of this loss. Not because we can't, but more likely we don't due to the fear of what issues this will bring up. However, last night, Deborah asked us various questions, that got us to open up, be reflective, and to dialogue about the future and what Mattie Miracle means to us. Why is she asking us these questions? She is asking because she is writing an article on the impact of a child's death on parents, and how parents make meaning of their lives after such a traumatic loss. Deborah gave us her questions ahead of time, but Peter and I did not converse with each other about our responses before the Friday dinner. I find our dinners more meaningful and stimulating when we can explore our own thoughts and feelings independently, rather than having dialogued about these things ahead of time and presenting a pat answer to Deborah. Ironically, though our answers are at times different, at the core, the reason why we established the Foundation is the same. Some people are lucky enough to give birth to a child and have that child with them for the remainder of their life. We weren't so fortunate, and in essence for us the Foundation has become our baby. It is the organizational equivalent of Mattie. It has Mattie's name on it, and his spirit is alive within it. So from my perspective I run the Foundation certainly to help other children and their families with cancer, but at the heart of my motivation is MATTIE. I nurture the Foundation because it is Mattie, it keeps his memory alive, and it highlights his battle, and we use that battle to gain insights into how to help others.
Over dinner we talked about many of the inappropriate comments we received from others once Mattie died. I believe people say these things because they are uncomfortable or at a loss for words. Nonetheless, offering platitudes, putting a religious spin on the loss, or even minimizing the loss are NOT helpful. Ironically, my friend Charlie sent me the article below this week, which is in line with our conversation last night. I copied the article below if you should want to read it.
Below the article you will find more pictures from this year's Foundation Walk!
What Not to Say to Someone Grieving....................By Annie Tucker Morgan

If you have had the experience of losing a loved one in your lifetime, you understand that the mourning process can be so agonizing and prolonged that it feels as if it will never end. Sometimes it’s so excruciating, in fact, that even when we aren’t grieving firsthand and are simply trying to help a person we know heal following the death of someone important to him or her, we panic, unsure of what words of reassurance can possibly suffice in the face of such monumental loss and emotional trauma.

According to bereavement expert Camille Wortman, PhD, blogging for the PBS series This Emotional Life, our personal discomfort surrounding death and tragedy, whether conscious or unconscious, often rears its head when we try to reach out to grieving people, even if we have the best of intentions. She notes, “We are not sure what to say and we do not want to make [the person] feel even worse. Conversing with a grieving person can evoke feelings of helplessness because objectively, there is little we can say or do to help. Such interactions may also enhance feelings of vulnerability, because they make us realize that bad things can happen at any time.”

In addition, Wortman points out, as we sense our own stress levels increasing while we try to soothe someone who is suffering, we freeze up and tend to default to a one-size-fits-all approach, making “remarks that are part of our cultural understanding of how to help others.” Yet such statements are risky at best and downright damaging at worst. When attempting to console a bereaved person, you’d be wise to avoid the following types of behaviors.

Offering Platitudes
“Time heals all wounds.”
“You have so much to be thankful for.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
“This is simply nature’s way of dealing with a problem.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”

Minimizing the Problem
“It was only a baby you didn’t know; you can always have other children.”
“She was seventy-five, so she lived a nice long life.”
“It’s over now. There’s nothing to do but move on.”
“Others are worse off than you.”

Giving Unsolicited Advice
“You should seriously consider getting a dog to keep you company now that your husband is gone.”
“It’s not healthy for you to be visiting your mother’s grave every day.”
“The best way for you to get over your wife’s death is to start dating new people as soon as possible.”

Grasping at Straws in an Attempt to Relate
“I know how you feel about your son’s passing. My husband and I got divorced last year, and I’ve had a very hard time with it.”
“I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s untimely death. I understand what you’re going through, because I had to put my dog to sleep recently.”
“I know how hard it must have been to lose your five-year-old. I experienced a similar tragedy when I had an abortion.”

Putting a Religious Spin on the Situation
“God has a plan.”
“God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle.”
“God needed your father more than you did.”
“She’s a flower in God’s garden now.”
“Heaven needed another angel.”

Expressing Intolerance for the Length of the Grieving Process
“Think positive.”
“You must be strong.”
“Keep a stiff upper lip.”
“Pull yourself together.”
“Get back on the horse.”

These verbal red flags might make you feel as if trying to console someone who’s lost a loved one is akin to stepping into a minefield, but bear in mind that saying nothing at all is still more harmful. Treat this as an opportunity to practice mindful compassion—instead of blurting out clich├ęs, make sympathetic and selfless comments, such as:

“I’m so sorry to hear about your loss.”
“I can’t imagine what you are going through.”
“I don’t know exactly what to say, but I know I can listen.”
“Would you like to sit down and tell me how you’re really feeling?”

We had six child/teen vendor tables this year at the Walk. The past two years, we invited local vendors to sell their wears at the Walk, but unfortunately many of their wonderful products did not sell at our events. However, last year, Lauren sold her duct tape Bows for Hope at the Walk, and I noticed they were a HUGE hit. So Lauren's success gave me the idea to have ONLY kid and teen vendors at the Walk this year. That decision was an excellent one, because the children actually generated over $500 in sales. Our photographer took a close up of Ellie's Bands For Hope. Ellie worked for weeks on her hand created headbands. As you can see they are bright, cheery, creative, and very professionally done. Keep in mind that Ellie is ONLY 10!

Here is a close up of Ellie, our creator of Bands for Hope. Ellie has plans for designing more bands and finding other ways to generate funds for Mattie Miracle.
Ellie's "Bands for Hope" table at the Walk!
This is Isabel! Isabel is the daughter of my friend, Heidi. I worked with Isabel and her Girl Scout Troop all year, and when I told the Troop about our Annual Walk, Isabel came up with the idea to create and sell her own hand designed magnetic bottle caps. You will be hearing more about Isabel, since the community service work she has done for Mattie Miracle helped enable her to receive one of the highest honors her school bestows on an 8th grader. Isabel will be highlighted in our Foundation's July Newsletter.

Here is a close up of the Magnetic Bottle Caps. Isabel chose things to highlight that were either Foundation related or that Mattie loved, such as Elmo, the moon, tennis, art, and of course the ROACH!

This is a picture of Isabel and Ella. Ella is one of Isabel's closest friends, and she helped sell bottle caps at the Walk. Ella completed several hours of community service learning with Mattie Miracle, and then put together a presentation and poster session for her school. Ella's presentation and poster were so well received that she was invited to participate in her school's service learning fair. I will be sharing more about Ella in an upcoming Foundation Newsletter.

This is Annie. Annie is the daughter of Coach Dave. Coach Dave is the former head football coach at Mattie's school, and a big Team Mattie supporter. Dave visited Mattie often in the Hospital and is instrumental to our Walk logistics. Annie created 20 amazing duct tape purses to sell at the Walk. These purses went like hot cakes! In fact, my mom bought one, and when I saw her walking around at the Walk, I asked her where she got the beautiful purse she was holding. She told me it was one of Annie's creations, and I was absolutely stunned. I never knew duct tape could form such an eye catching purse.

The girl on the right is my 12 year old friend Katharina. Katharina wanted to participate in the Walk and supplied the materials and taught children the technique of making friendship bracelets. Making a friendship bracelet is time consuming and labor intensive, and we appreciate Katharina's thoughtfulness for running this table. Katharina has given me a friendship bracelet with Mattie's colors, and I keep it attached to my purse always, regardless of the season.  

Our sixth vendor was Lauren's Bows for Hope. Lauren was unable to attend this year's Walk, but she sent me 100 bows to sell, and like last year, selling them was NO problem at all. Our photographer captured this young girl coming up to the table to examine the bows. Also notice that this girl is wearing an Ellie head band too!

This picture says it all, and it is a wonderful way to end the kid/teen vendor picture display. This little girl bought an Ellie head band, was wearing a childlife button she made, and also purchased a Mattie hair ribbon created by another teen vendor named Margaret. So basically this little one was a walking symbol of our Walk DAY products!!!

June 15, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. We stopped along the way at a country store. I wanted to see what was inside, particularly the local foods and crafts they were selling. Naturally my two fellows weren't as interested in shopping as I was, so after a quick glance, they then went to sit outside on the porch. When I came out of the store, I found them both rocking back and forth on these lovely hand made chairs.

Quote of the day: A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

My dad sent me tonight's quote, and though it may seem simplistic, it most definitely rings true. For example, applying this quote to the Foundation's Walk, it maybe our goal to plan a major fundraiser and community awareness event, but without a PLAN, nothing would ever get accomplished. The Walk is a full time job in and of itself, and then compound it with all the other activities and events we planned or went to this year, and we had a very full plate. In January, a woman contacted me about our Walk. She wanted to host a similar Walk for her friend who is battling cancer this year. She heard about Mattie Miracle from another childhood cancer organization. She asked me for my Walk timeline, notes, and any other helpful information to generate and run such an event. It has taken me three years to get the Walk down to a science, and believe it or not, my plans are NOT on paper. They are in my head. So when this woman wanted my plans, I couldn't give them to her, but I did try to give her some helpful pointers, suggestions, and ideas to help her move forward with her event.

So far over the past two days on the blog, I have shared the following children activities with you: 1) balloon animals, 2) face painting, 3) childlife table, 4) juggling, 5) Lego tables, 6) magic show, 7) moon bounce, and 8) nail art. Tonight, I will highlight our rock climbing wall, the Lego train and city scape tent, and our food area.

This is the third year in a row that we have had a rock climbing wall. The unique nature of this wall is its sheer size, 26 feet up into the air. Most portable rock walls, are not that tall. Each year, this wall attracts children of all ages, and though some may be intimidated by the wall at first, they feel a great sense of accomplishment once they have reached the top. The rock wall company is very much into monitoring the safety of the children, and each child who climbs is strapped into a belay or harness.

I have entitled this picture..... Concentration! I love how this fellow was completely focused upon his climb and I think the facial expression speaks for itself.
Thanks to the Washington,  DC Metropolitan Area LEGO Train Club (WAMALTC), an amazing train and city scape scene were set up at the Walk. This picture shows some of the dedicated WAMALTC members in attendance at the Walk for the whole day! Mattie would have been intrigued by these men, especially since they share his love and enthusiasm for Legos. Which proves to me, that Legos is so much than a toy, it has therapeutic and educational properties for people of ALL ages.

Can you imagine how long it took these men to set up this Train and City Scape design? You would be surprised!!! They did it in about an hour, which is miraculous, considering how detailed and intricate it is!

This train tent captured the attention of children and adults alike. This was NOT a stationary display. The trains were moving around the track and throughout the city landscape!  
Check out the intricate details of this city park! How this all gets transported and set up at a remote location is a feat, especially since I know how fragile certain Lego structures can be.

As I look at this little boy observing the trains going around the track, I have to wonder what he was thinking about. He seems as if he was studying and absorbing what exactly was going on before his eyes and trying to understand it.

Mattie Miracle is very fortunate to have a wonderful connection with Becca Jacks. Becca is the executive chef of Clyde's at Tyson's Corner. Becca also helped us this year  successfully comply with the City of Alexandria's Health inspection of our Walk food areas. Becca donates all the cooked foods to the Walk, she also cooks them to order on site, and many of our supporters enjoy meeting and talking with her. As you can see from this picture, the food area was bustling during the Walk.

We have three food stations at the Walk. One is where Becca grills and serves the food, the second is where Patricia (our food committee chair) is located. Patricia manages all the food proceeds, and sells non perishable items ranging from drinks to candy and chips. The third food station is run by Marisa. Marisa has been our bake sale committee chair for three years in a row! Marisa was one of the caregivers who helped me entertain Mattie when he was home between hospital stays. Marisa is a very dedicated part of Team Mattie, in fact, her whole family is instrumental to our success (her mom, dad, brother, and boyfriend all participated and volunteered at the Walk!). One of the bake sale treats Marisa sold this year, were 120 mini cupcakes donated to us by Georgetown Cupcake. My understanding was the cupcakes and large donuts were a hit this year!

This year, Mattie Miracle had to complete several Alexandria City permits to host our event at Mattie's school. One of the stipulations of the health department   was we were no longer allowed to sell home made baked goods. All our items had to come from a store. This naturally changed the nature of our bake sale, as well as the way supporters who normally contribute to this event could participate. Nonetheless, Marisa handled these new requirements very well, and was motivated to make this work regardless of the stipulations. Volunteers like this who are committed to our cause, and to making this a successful event are beyond priceless to us.

June 14, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007 at a theme park called Dutch Wonderland. Mattie was not in this picture. The reason why was because he was sitting right next to me in a cable car as we were flying over the park. Naturally going on this ride was Peter and Mattie's idea. I on the other hand couldn't look down, and was scared out of my mind. In the midst of screaming, I snapped a picture of where we were. So this was a bird's eye view of what we were seeing. This was Mattie's first and last cable car ride and he loved it!

Quote of the day: He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery

This week, I went back to my zumba class twice. I went on Tuesday and Thursday, and I find a regular routine like this helps. After class, I went to my friend Tina's house. We spent the day together working on a project, and I feel honored that Tina values our friendship enough to always include me on all the activities she is involved in. But most importantly she verbalizes how she enjoys our time together. That is a special gift to hear and to receive.

As promised, the Walk pictures continue. So far over the past two days you saw the following children activities: balloon animals, face painting, juggling, the childlife table, and the lego tables. Tonight, I will show you pictures from the moon bounce, nail art, and the magic show.

Last year, a friend of ours suggested that we consider adding a moon bounce to our Walk activities. I wasn't sure how popular these structures were anymore. But our friend was correct! This was a big hit, especially with the smaller children. In this picture, our photographer captured a girl going down the moon bounce slide, with her balloon creature in hand. Clearly she was holding onto her balloon and trying to protect it!

Thanks to Celina, the owner of the Molecule Salon in Washington, DC, a team of  professionals provided nail art to children of all ages at the Walk. This tent and table was VERY popular this year!

You can see nail work in progress in this picture.

and Voila........... pretty in pink!

In 2009, Mattie's community planned and hosted a Mattie March. Which was a family fun day, not unlike our Foundation Walks. At this March, Bob Weiman (aka The Magic Man), Mattie's head of the lower school, performed several magic tricks with Mattie. From that point onward, the magic show became a tradition that Bob upholds each year. It is certainly entertaining for the children and adults, but to me it is also symbolic of the connection Mattie and Bob shared. As you can see the children were very absorbed and focused upon the tricks done before their eyes.

This picture captures the Magic Man performing a trick with Gavin. Gavin is my friend Carolyn's son, and like Peter an avid Red Sox fan! What I notice about this picture however, was Gavin's huge smile as he was participating in this trick.

The magic show is loved by ALL ages. In this picture is the Cooper Family. The children are Campbell and Livi. Campbell was one of Mattie's closest kindergarten buddies, and for my faithful readers, these are the two children who we recently saw and spent time with at Ellen's beach house.

Bob performed a trick I have never seen him do! Thanks to the pictures, I got to see him in action. The trick involves putting a metal rod through a balloon!

Here was the final product! I am amazed to see this rod through the balloon, and as the picture below indicates, the children were amazed too.

I love this picture! It captures the intrigue felt by the children as they watched a rod go through the balloon. Tomorrow I will highlight a few more children activities from the Walk, and by the weekend I will be able to share with you actual pictures from the walk, the walk ceremony, and other highlights.  

June 13, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007 in our hotel room in Lancaster, PA. A couple of nights ago I mentioned that the Marriott gave Mattie a chef's hat because they fell in love with him in the restaurant. Mattie wore the hat around the hotel and I am happy we snapped a picture of that priceless moment.

Quote of the day: We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. ~ Dorothy Day

I received the email below from my friend Nancy today. Nancy lives in New York and we were colleagues first and then became friends. We met through the American Mental Health Counselors Association years ago, and we struck up a conversation about her mom. At the time Nancy was a caregiver to her ailing mom, and Nancy was very interested in my research with caregivers. Over the years, our connection has evolved, and I consider her a valuable member of our support team. After reading Nancy's message, I found that she caused me to pause and reflect upon all the things we were able to achieve at this year's Foundation Walk. Not only did we meet our financial goal, but the achievements are much greater than that. First let me share her message with you. Nancy wrote, "I was so moved by the pictures of all the children and what they were doing at the Walk. I can’t wait to see the duct tape purses. It is an amazing way for children (the teen vendors) to give back. Mattie has inspired all of this outpouring of energy and care. I can’t get over how wonderful Brandon looks. He was such a help to Mattie and a “real big brother” at a time when he needed it most. As a result of Peter and your love of children, the Walk is not a scary issue for children. The Georgetown Hospital team created a learning table where children learn about good health and help. In this way, too, you are helping families in psychosocial ways. As I’ve said before, the two of you are 'one in a million.'"

In so many ways the Walk provides something for everyone, whether that is childhood cancer information and content, entertainment of all kinds for children, food from Clydes, hearing messages and insights from childhood cancer survivors, raffle prizes, meeting Georgetown Childlife staff and nurses, and walking around the track to symbolize community support for those battling this deadly disease. For so many of our supporters with young children, they look forward to the Walk each year, and in a way, as they grow older, they will learn that their presence at our events is SO important. They are growing with us, and as such, they are becoming wonderful little ambassadors for the Foundation and for bringing awareness to others in the community about childhood cancer. Though I understood this on some level, I am not sure I ever verbalized it until I read Nancy's note.

As I continue to share more photos with you this evening, please keep in mind that our Walk wouldn't happen without volunteers, who freely give of their time, energy, and resources. All of our children activities are run by volunteers at the Walk (except for the moon bounce and rock climbing wall), so when you see children enjoying crafts, balloons, face painting, kid tattoos, nail art, and Legos, it is in thanks to these amazing people who help Mattie Miracle make this possible.  

Last night on the blog, I highlighted balloons and the Childlife tables. Tonight, I am showing you some pictures from the face painting, juggling, and Legos tents. This year every activity was hosted under its own tent, which called a participant's attention to each distinctive activity. Many high school students from the St. Stephen's and St. Agnes school volunteered this year at the face painting tent. Having volunteers from Mattie's school is a wonderful and lasting reminder of his connection to this school.

This is Emily. Emily is the daughter of my friend, Mary. As you can see, Emily requested a red heart on her face, and inside the heart are the letters MM (for Mattie Miracle). Emily and her sister Abby attended Mattie's preschool, but while Mattie was battling cancer, the girls visited the hospital, dropped off dinners for us, and also picked out all sorts of wonderful toys to cheer up Mattie. There are aspects of Emily that remind me of Mattie, and one of the similarities is their hugging style. Both give you very powerful and meaningful hugs.

A new addition to our Walk activities this year was a juggling clinic tent. I wasn't sure how well this was going to go over, but from the pictures I am viewing it appears that the kids really gravitated to this and wanted to learn. I love this picture because it is art in motion! 

Last night, I made mention to a young girl named Amanda. Amanda is an Ewing's sarcoma survivor. This year, Amanda's mom came up to chat with me at the event, and I am so happy she did. This is Amanda's second year at our Walk, and children are intrigued by Amanda, and are fascinated to watch her run, walk, and participate in all activities. Amanda is an inspiration to watch, and I have no doubt is indirectly teaching children at the Walk some very valuable life lessons. As I mentioned last night, there is nothing Amanda can't do. Our photographers captured Amanda learning to juggle. In addition to Amanda's family, I also had the opportunity to meet Dennis, her prosthetist. Dennis helped to design this J shaped prosthetic leg for Amanda, and he brought his whole family to the Walk. It turns out after the Walk, when we went out to dinner, Dennis and his family were sitting behind us, and they told me how much they enjoyed the Walk, and this would be a yearly ritual for them.

I love the composition of this picture with Sarah juggling, and the beautiful blue sky and clouds as her backdrop.

Thanks to the Washington  Metropolitan Area Lego Users Group (WAMALUG) and the Washington Metropolitan Area LEGO Train Club (WAMALTC), we had thousands of Lego bricks at our Walk. Under the Lego build tent, you could find children of all ages building and creating throughout the day. In this picture is Michael, with his son Aaron. Michael and his wife Leslie, went to Union College with Peter and I. This is not an unfamiliar picture to me, and if Mattie were at the Walk, this is where I would have found him, with Peter right by his side building.

I entitled this picture.... A creative mind at work! Though I do not know this little boy, I can tell that he was engrossed with Legos and was very focused upon the vehicle he was building. Our photographers this year, tried to capture events and people in a very natural way. Almost like a snapshot in time.

These two girls are Katie and Gabby. They are the daughters of one of Mattie's wonderful sedation nurses, Norma. When Debbi wasn't available at the Hospital, we were assigned Norma. Norma is a very competent, capable, and compassionate nurse, and she helped us through some difficult scans and procedures. On one particular procedure day, which was a nightmare, Norma surprised me with a chocolate cake, baked by Gabby (her older daughter). Gabby is a wonderful baker and when I see Gabby, I reflect on her cakes and cookies, and how these kind gestures made a huge difference to me while I was trapped in the hospital dealing with one of life's greatest horrors.

I entitled this photo....Loving Legos! You can tell by this little fellow's facial expressions that he was VERY happy and excited to be sitting with thousands of Lego bricks at his disposal! 

The last picture tonight is of another cutie at the Lego tables. This fellow is deep in concentration building, and what these pictures show me is that Legos are a wonderful component of our Walk. They are a beautiful symbol and reminder of Mattie, and it is clear that his love for Legos are shared by so many in attendance.

June 12, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 -- Mattie died 144 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007 at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. As you can see, Mattie and Peter went down this enormous slide together sitting on some sort of sack. The irony of this picture was for the first three years of Mattie's life, he was very scared of slides. He did not like the feeling, motion, or the sensation. However, between the help of his occupational therapist, Peter, myself, and his preschool, Mattie overcame this fear. So much so, that by age five, only two years later, he sought out all sorts of rides, slides, and adventures.

Quote of the day: Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are. ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon

I have begun sifting through all the electronic pictures taken at this year's Foundation Walk. This took me hours to organize, label, and electronically file them. Over the next couple of days, I will highlight some of the Walk events and it is my hope that you can sense the energy and community spirit captured within these photographs. Peter and I want to thank Photozee (, who provided the Foundation with two wonderful photographers probono to cover all four hours of our event!  

There were many kid friendly activities at the Walk. One of the activity tents housed John, our resident balloon hat, animal, and sword artist. Here you can see my friend Mary's daughter, Abby, with a balloon hat designed just for her!

Mattie's good buddy, Charlotte, was at the Walk and went to visit the kid/teen vendor tables. At the table, you can see that she purchased an orange Bow for Hope. As my readers know, Bows for Hope is a non-profit created and run by Lauren, a 14 year old osteosarcoma survivor. Lauren's mission is to raise money for Mattie Miracle! Lauren sent me 100 bows to sell at the Walk, and it is safe to say that Lauren's bows are VERY popular and sell quick!

This was not an unusual sight at the Walk. Children with friends walking around, taking in the sights and participating in all the activities. Each of these girls is walking with our  Foundation's drawstring bag and some sort of balloon art!

I love this photo!!! I entitle it.... the sword fight! These two boys are the sons of Dave Holm. Dave is an instrumental member of Team Mattie, the former head football coach of St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, and a vital Walk volunteer. Dave brought his entire family to the Walk, in fact, one of his daughters was a kid vendor and sold her hand made duct tape purses. Wait until you see what these purses looked like, then you will understand why they sold out immediately!

Mattie's good buddy, Jocelyn, an osteosarcoma survivor, attended the walk with her niece. Both were meeting John, who was working on a ballooned creature for them. 

Under this blue tent was housed a fun kid activity hosted by the Childlife department at Georgetown University Hospital and the HEM/ONC pediatric nurses. Sitting down on the far right is Brandon, Mattie's big buddy, and a lymphoma cancer survivor. In addition, you may notice a young girl, Amanda, who is wearing a prosthetic leg. This is Amanda's second year attending our Walk and she is an amazing Ewing's sarcoma survivor. Wait until you see some of the pictures I will be posting of her later in the week. There is NOTHING Amanda can't do!

Katie, is one of the Childlife Specialists at Georgetown, and Katie devoted her whole day under the tent, helping children make colorful buttons. Mattie LOVED Linda's button machine, and though others in attendance may not know this connection, Linda picked this activity in honor of Mattie. At the Hospital, Mattie made a ton of buttons. More than I could keep track of!

In addition, to the fun button making activity, there was also a great deal of substance at this table. Anita, the nurse manager of the pediatric HEM/ONC nurses at Georgetown was behind the table and answered questions from the children about the x-rays hanging from the tent or whatever other medically related questions they had. In addition, Linda generated a beautiful handout which was available at the table that highlighted Childlife, what her program accomplishes in a year, and how Mattie Miracle's contributions are helping children, families, and the Hospital.

In this picture, you can see Mattie's kindergarten classmate, Tim, using a stethoscope on a friend. The Childlife/Nurses table was filled with all sorts of interesting things this year, which is why the kids inundated the table.