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

May 14, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken on May 11, 2009 during the Mattie March. To me, I entitle this photo.... Friendship! Mattie was surrounded by Brandon, his closest cancer buddy, and Robbie, a volunteer at the hospital. Mattie relied on these two fellows greatly and they were true friends to him at the Walk. They stayed with him and helped him through every aspect of the event. 

Quote of the day: Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A.A. Milne

This is the sight we woke to this morning! I am not sure what is more noteworthy, the SUN or the shadow of our butterfly wind chime on the wall. Peter and I had NEVER seen this before! We both instantly took it as a MATTIE sign! He is with us this weekend. 

This is the reflection of the chime. Look how crystal clear it is!!!

We broke out the corn hole boards today and started doing test matches so Peter knows how to run this part of our walk tomorrow. Needless to say we learned some things that have helped us tweak the rules for tomorrow. But ALL of us had a great time doing this outside!!! Hope this catches on at the Walk!

May 13, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. With Mattie is Tricia, Mattie's favorite HEM/ONC nurse. Tricia was not only a competent nurse but a true advocate and caregiver for my whole family. She made the unbearable more tolerable and every year Tricia comes to our walk. She hasn't missed an event yet! Which means a great deal to all of us. 

Quote of the day: Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. John Quincy Adams

We are coming down to the line.... the walk is on Sunday! The pace that we are working at to get this Walk accomplished is bordering on frenetic! You wouldn't think there would be much to do, since this is our seventh annual walk. But the logistics for this are huge and adding on a corn hole tournament on top of the walk is beyond challenging!!! Peter is still working on the corn hole boards as I type!

Given that I am not feeling well too, I am not writing much. But I am happy to report that the Walk plans and fundraising are progressing along and we are very grateful to our supporters! 

Thursday, May 13, 2016

Thursday, May 13, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken on May 11, 2009, at the Mattie March. Which was the predecessor of the Mattie Miracle Walk. At this event, Mattie performed several magic tricks with Bob Weiman, aka the Magic Man. Or Mattie's head of the lower school. Mattie loved working with Bob, and Bob visited Mattie often in the hospital and taught him to perform several magic tricks. Mattie felt SUPER special to be learning these skills and had several impromptu shows in the hospital for his nurses and child life staff. In fact, the trick you see with the peanut butter jar was something Bob and Mattie first did together. Since that time point, Bob unofficially calls it Mattie's trick. In line with this beautiful friendship and tradition they started together, Bob is invited back to the Walk every year to do a magic show for attendees! I know Mattie would approve!

Quote of the day: Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amidst joy. ~ Felicia Hemans

I can't believe it is Thursday already and the walk is just three days away! I think working around the clock and this weather are a bad combination for me. Thankfully I was able to email my doctor and she started me on antibiotics today. I am hoping tomorrow is a better day!

May 11, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken on May 11, 2009. It is hard to believe this was 8 years ago, since it seems like yesterday to me. This was a special day planned for Mattie by is care team. Hundreds of people came out to support Mattie from his school, work, and community. It was this event that the Foundation's Walk was born. In this photo, Mattie was surrounded by his friends from the hospital, and they helped him collect some of his favorite creatures while on the track.... tent moth caterpillars. Mattie loved collecting them every spring. Don't you know it, after that walk was over, we came home with a cup filled with all the caterpillars he collected that day. Mattie was wheelchair bound, but with help from his friends he secured all those caterpillars. 

Quote of the day: It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.Babe Ruth

I very much appreciate Babe Ruth's quote, but I think I have met my match now. I am officially worn out and need to take a break tonight. Mind you it is 11pm, and I am still working. I was up until 3am today and got up at 7am, so I am worn. Walk preparations are pretty much set now, but there are still some outstanding things that must get done. None the less, as of tonight we have achieved 93% of our financial goal and hold steady at $65,000. How was this achieved so far? With 1) 300 individual donors, 2) 9 corporate sponsors, 3) 10 individual walk sponsors, and 4) walk registration and the online raffle. We thank all of you who are supporting us and we want to make ONE last push in the next couple of days to get us at our target goal as well as increase event registration. 

For more information about the walk go to:

May 10, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 -- Mattie died 347 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. Actually on Mother's day! Mattie was six years old and it is hard to believe that only two months later he was diagnosed with cancer. 

Quote of the day: Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Teddy Roosevelt

Besides working around the clock it is the time of year when our home gets transformed into a warehouse. Which makes me really edgy. Since Mattie's illness, I really do not like disorder, chaos, and clutter. So dealing with this for several weeks is challenging for me. With each day we get closer to the Walk more items come out of storage and get staged for the event. This is the current state of Mattie's room, and this is now somewhat organized. Yesterday I had things everywhere. 

We had cases of wine delivered to us tonight for the wine basket raffle. You just wouldn't believe all the boxes around me. They all have to go to the event, get set up for the event, then repackage once the event is over and stored again. It is a logistical ballet. 
We are bringing over 3,100 colorful cups to the Walk (cups are in the boxes you see here). These cups are used to mark laps that each person walks. One lap=one cup! We have 13 teams this year, so each team needs its own cup color. Each box of cups you see here, holds 240 cups. If a team is able to walk 240 laps, this is equivalent to 60 miles. It may sound impossible, but last year, we had a team who did just that and of course won our team cup challenge!

May 9, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2008, two months before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. We took Mattie to Calvert Cliffs Park in Maryland. This was a special place to us because you have to walk over a mile, through a beautiful nature trail to get to the beach. The beach itself wasn't thrilling, but what caught Mattie's attention was digging for fossilized sharks teeth. Mattie could dig for HOURS with Peter and they never left empty handed. I still have Mattie's bag of sharks teeth in the kitchen, right where he left it. 

Quote of the day: There are always flowers for those who want to see them. ~ Henri Matisse

Today I went to Mattie's school and did my third and final art session for Donna's kindergarten class. It is hard to believe I have done this for six years now! EVERY year. Yet each year I learn something knew from the children. 

I haven't seen the children for two weeks, as I had to take a hiatus last week to go to a conference. But today we seemed to have picked up right where I left them. They were able to recall information about Picasso and Matisse and what I find fascinating is they remember the stories I told them about the personality styles of the artists. In fact, I would say they found that information intriguing! 

Now that they were familiar with Picasso and Matisse, today's session focused upon the rivalry and friendship that developed between the artists. As Picasso always said.... no one looked at Matisse's painting more closely than him, and no one looked as his own art more closely than Matisse. There was deep competition and jealousy between them, and yet these emotions are what probably pushed them to their greatness. Picasso was known for his drawing and use of geometric shapes, while Matisse was known for his bold colors. Yet over time, after studying each other's material long enough, they started to blend the two styles together (shape and color). In addition to this, they always painted similar subject matter and this was intention. As if one saw the subject matter and thought.... I can paint it better than you!

Here is a sample slide from my presentation that I showed the children. The painting on the left was done by Picasso and the painting on the right (done a year later) was created by Matisse. Notice the same subject matter and in some cases the titles of their masterpieces are practically the same. Of course there is no mistaking whose painting is whose, yet look at the vibrant colors Picasso incorporated into this painting and as for Matisse, look at the shapes and strong lines he brought into his work. By adopting and incorporating each other's style within their paintings, the finished product became very noteworthy.  

Below is a short video clip I showed the children today. I feel it gives a nice overview of the rivalry between the artists. 

A short CNN clip on Picasso and Matisse exhibit from 2003:

After I shared my slide presentation for about 30-40 minutes, I then had an art exercise for the children. They learned about still life today and they had me laughing because I asked them what a still life was. The response was.... when you stay very still. 

Any case, they learned that flowers and fruit for example are considered a still life. I set up this still life display and then using their imagination and the information they learned about Matisse and Picasso, they were asked to paint and create on their own canvas. 

It is hard to believe that these children are 5! To me they did a stellar job, and in true art fashion, no two paintings looked alike.
The children wanted to sketch on their canvas first before painting. That was a NEW one for me, no other class asked to do this. But the outcomes were delightful. This child clearly is influenced by Matisse, as you can see her bold use of colors. 
This fellow worked very hard on this creation and it basically mimics what I set up!
Love the colors! Now I did not have a basket of fruit on display, but she painted from her imagination, which Picasso would have appreciated. 
A more abstract depiction of the still life before her, and yet it is very intriguing and beautiful. 
This fellow was the last one done. He gave a great deal of thought and attention to the fruit and details he saw on the tablecloth!

Once the session was over, I left them with the snack I prepared. I always bring them chopped up fresh fruit with dipping sauces during this session. I figure if they painted a still life, they might as well eat it! 

The children all said their good-byes to me today. Donna took a photo of me with the children and several hugged me and told me how much they enjoyed my visits! 

May 8, 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007. Peter took us out to one of Mattie's favorite restaurants to celebrate Mother's Day. What I love about this photo, was Mattie's expression! Peter captured him as he was trying to motion how much he LOVED me. To me this is a priceless photo and one of my favorite Mother's Day memories. 

Quote of the day: Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it. ~ Erma Bombeck

It was another BUSY day for Peter and I as we are coming down to the line with the Foundation's Walk! In the midst of running around and doing chores today, Peter took on his annual tradition. Cleaning and setting up Mattie's fountains for me. In July of 2008, right before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer, he convinced Peter to design and create garden fountains for me. Literally Peter and Mattie worked on these fountains for weeks on our deck! They were trying to surprise me, so I agreed not to peek until they were unveiled. Mattie was deeply proud of this gift idea and their accomplishment together. It is hard to believe that he is gone, but his clever gifts remain. 

In honor of Mattie and our bond together, Peter sets up these fountains for me every Mother's Day! It is the best gift!

Here is a photo of the first fountain!

This was the second fountain they created together, which was a complicated project. However in each fountain I have on display Mattie shells and rocks that he collected!

I leave you tonight with a wonderful column that Erma Bombeck wrote in 1995 about grieving moms. Thank you Denise for sending it to me years ago. I STILL LOVE it!

Mothers Who Have Lost a Child - May 14, 1995 by Erma Bombeck

If you're looking for an answer this Mother's day on why God reclaimed your child, I don't know. I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child and then lose it to miscarriage, accident, violence, disease or drugs. 

Motherhood isn't just a series of contractions, it's a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It's a promise we can't keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. "If I hadn't worked through the eighth month." "If I had taken him to the doctor when he had a fever." "If I hadn't let him use the car that night." "If I hadn't been so naive. I'd have noticed he was on drugs." 

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and the despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently.

While I was writing my book, I want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise, I talked with mothers who had lost a child to cancer. Every single one said death gave their lives new meaning and purpose. And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel? Their dying child. They pointed their mothers toward the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reflect.

The children in the bombed-out nursery in Oklahoma City have touched more lives than they will ever know. Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking that morning are making calls home during the day to their children to say, "I love you."

This may seem like a strange Mother's Day column on a day when joy and life abound for the millions of mothers throughout the country. But it's also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask, "why me?" You can ask, but you won't get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it. 

The late Gilda Radner summed it up well: "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie wanted to go for a walk, but did not want to go in his wheelchair. So instead, I helped him into his wagon and out we went. Mattie was very cognizant of looking different and it bothered him that he couldn't walk or run like his friends. Thankfully, Linda, Mattie Child Life Specialist, gave him this wagon as a gift. It came in super handy! We still have this wagon, and whenever we use it, we think of Mattie. 

Quote of the day: Fatigue is the best pillow. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin may have been onto something, because with the exhaustion that I feel, when I hit the pillow I immediately fall asleep. Since Mattie died I have major issues with sleep. Except during Walk season. I am so busy from morning until after midnight, that by the time I am ready for bed, I am out!

While we were working on signage for the Walk, the Girl Scouts at Mattie's school were refocused on the corn hole boards. A continuation of last weekend's corn hole production. Today's goal was to paint and design the corn hole boards. 

One of the Girl Scout leaders sent us several photos of the painting process.

The girls involved with painting today!

The final product! Of course times this photo by 6, since there are six boards in total.