Mattie Miracle Walk 2023 was a $131,249 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

October 2, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2007. That weekend we took Mattie to Glen Echo Park in Maryland. This was one of his favorite places to go because within the park was a wonderful puppet company. Over the years we must have seen every one of their productions using real marionettes. It was a treat. In so many ways, raising Mattie was like reliving another childhood for us. I suppose that is the beauty of children, they keep us young in mind, body, and spirit.

Quote of the day: There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. ~ John Holmes

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation hosted a very successful FIRST EVER Chocolate Therapy Workshop at Georgetown University Hospital today. Last month my friend Heidi introduced me to a friend of hers, her friend happens to be a chocolatier. Robbin studied chocolate making at a renowned school in Belgium, and over lunch in September I learned about Robbin's work and the fact that she is a cancer survivor who thrived on chocolate during her own treatment. Needless to say her personal story and expertise caught my attention. At lunch that day, she gave Heidi and I a box of the chocolates to take home. When we got home, we tasted them, and Heidi and I instantly emailed each other. Her handcrafted chocolates were that INCREDIBLE!

Robbin has conducted chocolate therapy workshops with adult cancer patients but has never worked with children. Today was a first, but she did just beautifully. She is organized and thought the whole event through, which is crucial for young people, and even more important when in a pediatric cancer clinic.

I have to tell you that returning to clinic and to the Hospital are not easy feats. In fact, I know many parents who refuse to go back to where their child was treated and died. It just holds painful memories. So being in clinic today was an interesting experience, especially when I could see Mattie's ceiling tiles which he painted above my head. I spent some time interacting with parents during the workshop (I brought Mattie Miracle bags, brochures, and pens -- most of which were gone by the end of the event). I could tell that many of the parents figured I was just there bringing a fun activity to the kids. They did not suspect that I was a mom who spent many hours in the clinic and who lost a child to cancer. I listened to several parents telling me their story and battle for a while and then through conversation it came out about Mattie. I could tell many of them were visibly moved. One dad had tears in his eyes, because he was amazed that I not only came back, but I was there to help others like his family.

As tonight's quote aptly expresses there is something wonderful about being able to lift people up! I can't think of a better way to do that than through chocolate. That was my hunch, but it was BEAUTIFUL to see this hunch become a reality. The chocolate was a HIT for ALL ages. Children, teens, and parents!!! Honestly there were smiles everywhere. In addition, when I told parents about what Mattie Miracle does for the Hospital they were speechless. Many of them told me they would be lost without Jess, the child life specialist Mattie Miracle has funded for three years in a row, and our free snack cart. Frankly I hear this indirectly from the staff all the time, but to get this direct feedback face to face from parents meant a great deal to me. This is why I do what I do. The beauty about today's event is it gave me the opportunity to do direct service and to interact with families. This is work that I actually love the best, but running a Foundation does not give me the opportunity to do much of this. Instead, I am researching, writing, networking, fundraising and the list goes on! After today's event, I felt somewhat energized, with the direct knowledge that what we do matters.

Here as some examples of the finished chocolate products the kids could make. Chocolate lollipops decorated in any way they wanted using nuts, cranberries, and candy corns.

There were different small tables set up around the clinic. Robbin met with all of the kids and instructed them briefly on the technique of working with real Belgium chocolate. This wasn't Hershey's in a block. This chocolate was melted, the kids had to stir it and mold it into a form. The chocolate then interacts with the air and hardens. In fact as Robbin explained creating with chocolate is an art and a science. There were definitely kids interested in the science of chocolate and were fascinated about the melting and hardening process.

This is a mother daughter team, Jo-Ann and Caroline. I had a wonderful time getting to know this family and in so many ways Caroline is a miracle child. When she came to Georgetown in March, she was given the prognosis of only weeks to live. Now she has no evidence of disease. Remarkable!!! Caroline helped Robbin set up for the event and learned the science of melting chocolate and checking its temperature before it is ready to be used.

I had the opportunity to work one on one with Stacy. I unfortunately did not catch her expression moments before I snapped this photo. What you are missing is Stacy had two thumbs up in the air expressing her love of the chocolate.

Peter was a live wire and was creating chocolate lollipops blending milk and dark chocolates together. In addition, the candy corns represented a volcano and in the middle of the volcano he placed more chocolate, indicative of lava!

After the children created the chocolate products they then got to go to the decorating zone, where they could put their chocolates in bags, with ribbons and other fun things. Robbin provided Halloween sticks, dinosaurs, aprons and hats. Some of the kids got a kick out of decorating their chef hats!

Linda, Mattie's child life specialist, captured this photo for me. So much was going on, that I did not have the opportunity to meet these two cuties. However, while I was working with the kids, I noticed a male teenager patient watching. I could tell he loved chocolate. I told him anyone could participate in the workshop, it wasn't just for children. With that, he left his mom, and joined us at the table with a big SMILE! 

Linda snapped this photo for me too. This cutie was in a treatment room, but still got to participate in the fun of making chocolate.

At the end of the event, I snapped this special threesome making chocolate. The two ladies in the front are Katie and Jess, Child Life Specialists, and the lady on the back right is Katie, an art therapist. I was thrilled to see them taking part in the event after spending two hours helping all the kids.
Another highlight of my day was seeing Bridget. Bridget is a young adult and has been battling cancer since she was 15 years old. In fact, while Mattie was in treatment, this is when I met Bridget and her special family. Though Mattie died, Kathy (Bridget's mom) and I remain connected through email. It was an absolute delight to see both of them face to face today. In fact, after the event was over, I went into Bridget's treatment room and chatted with them for an hour. During that time, I watched Bridget get an infusion of medication and also undergo an examination by her physician. I asked if she wanted me to leave either time and she said no. The cute part is when a visiting physician came in, she introduced herself to him, then she introduced her mom to him, and then she turned to me and introduced me as mom #2. Bridget knew Mattie and she knows about the work I do, but ultimately what she was saying is she considers me a mom first and foremost, and a mom who understands cancer. That was about the nicest compliment I have received in a long time. The trust from another child. I can't say enough about Bridget and from my perspective she is amazing and a role model to other childhood cancer patients and survivors. Bridget has basically grown up with cancer and it is hard to not let this disease define you, scare you into submission, and fear the future. I see how Mattie's cancer has impacted me and I can't even imagine how this disease plays with a developing mind.

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