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

November 5, 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. Mattie was three years old and frankly I think this photo says it all! Mattie was in his element here. Mattie loved painting and creating with his feet. That whole notion wouldn't appeal to me in the least, but Mattie loved the feeling of paint on his feet and would create cards and all sorts of useful things with his painted creations. Ironically though Mattie was a very neat child and understood that the paint had to be contained to the paper and newspaper. He never ran around our home with painted feet! When he was done, I literally would pick him up and carry him to the kitchen sink to get cleaned up!

Quote of the day: Candy is natures way of making up for Mondays. ~ Unknown

Today was not a good day for Peter. My hope is he doesn't have the flu. He is absolutely miserable and truly had to take to the couch today. He wanted to do things, and I said NO! 

But check out who sat with him most of the day. Seems to me that Indie is taking over where Nurse Patches (our previous calico cat) left off. 
Later in the day, there was a switch. Indie went to sit on a chair and Sunny took over the watch. 
Meanwhile, I have been walking Sunny today and doing some chores. In the midst of that, I cooked up homemade lentil soup for Peter. 
I received these wonderful candy photos from the River School in Washington, DC. The River School has been a candy donor of ours for several years now, but this is the first year that the School had a candy sorting party with parents and children. Apparently it was a success and the School donated 200 pounds of candy to us today. Amazing, no?!
You can see parents and children sorting candy. Actually sorting is a wonderful exercise that teaches so many skills. In fact one preschool director told me that she is assessing her students pre-reading skills by watching them sort the candy. Some of the younger children sort by wrapper color, shape of candy, and others by the name of the candy! It is fascinating and so happy that this fun task is also an educational one.
Some of The River School's sorted products!!!

November 4, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. Mattie was three years old. I am SO GLAD I snapped this photo. Mattie loved to jump all over our bed and spent a lot of time on the bed with me either reading books or we would watch Scooby Doo movies together. Not that I forgot these moments in time, but I am certainly happy I have photos to jog my memory. 

Quote of the day: Like children dreaming of a candy store, we live our lives in expectation and desire for reality to be different than it is. Joseph Rain

This evening, Sunny and I took a walk and met Peter down by the Potomac River on his way home from work. As the three of us were walking home, a couple in front of us kept turning their heads back to look at Sunny. No surprise to me.... Sunny made more friends. Sunny is that kind of dog. He is super loving and he truly reads people and dogs very well. He approaches dogs based on what he senses and I have to say the more aggressive or barking dogs, Sunny seems to pass without getting excited. He is just a cool cucumber! 

Any case, as we approached a traffic light, we all had to wait on the curb before crossing the street. It was at that point the couple started talking to me and of course interacted with Sunny. I told them that Sunny was a rescue dog, and that I honestly had no idea why his owner abandoned him. The woman in this duo told me about articles she read about rescue dogs and why some are abandoned. She said they get abandoned because they are too needy, attached, and need constant companionship and attention. As soon as she said that, I perked up and told her I was thinking that was the only explanation I came up with regarding Sunny! Because what she was saying describes Sunny to a T! 

The couple was lovely, and they too have a history of rescuing dogs. In any case, tonight I googled "needy" dog. The term that kept popping up was a "velcro dog." That is perfect, and indeed I have one. Sunny meets all the criteria. Symptoms of a velcro dog are:
  • Following you from room to room
  • Constantly needing or wanting to be next to you
  • Keeping an eye on you at all times
  • Anticipating when you may be getting up
  • Always wanting to be where the action is
The article below discussed the difference between a dog with separation anxiety and a velcro dog. I leave Sunny alone at home and I also bring him now and then to doggy day care, and he handles the separation just fine. But if I am around, chances are my shadow will be right next to me. I find it endearing, especially since I was looking for a close companion. But I can see how other dog owners may find this terribly annoying or disturbing. However, Sunny and I are a great match! 

Is your dog a "Velcro Dog?"......

I received several photos this morning from our corporate sponsor, Dominion Consulting. Dominion is our largest corporate sponsor since 2011. This year, in addition to their financial support, they wanted to get involved in our projects. To this is what their office looked like this week!

I love this photo, because can't you see a caption over this lady's head?! The caption could read..... 'should I sort it or eat it?' Being around all this candy is indeed very tempting and I am always impressed how my volunteers and supporters show great restraint and truly value where the candy is going..... to support families caring for children with cancer. 
Dominion not only collected 123 pounds of candy, but also sorted all of it for us! The office had a sorting party last night and I hear it was a great success. People truly enjoyed it! 

I think people like sorting candy for different reasons, but whatever the reason, I always find the same result..... enjoyment. I am not sure if it is the sheer joy of being around all this sweet stuff, or if it is a matter of having face to face interactions and dialogues while sorting that makes the whole task a bonding experience. After all, NO electronics are necessary. Hands are not holding phones, but candy! 

What the sorting process looked like!

The final product..... this is a sight for sore eyes. Candy sorted and in Ziploc bags. It doesn't get better than this! I have to admit when I see garbage bags filled with unsorted candy, it is down right overwhelming because it takes a lot of man power to sift through such volume. 

Meanwhile in Alexandria, this is what my friend Mary's collection is looking like. This is candy collected from the MacArthur Elementary School, the St. Stephen's and St. Agnes Middle School, and Fairlington Preschool. MacArthur and St. Stephen's have been donating candy to us for years. We welcome Fairlington Preschool this year. In fact, Mattie's preschool (Resurrection Children's Center) merged with Fairlington, and many of the teachers and the director of Mattie's school now reside at Fairlington Preschool. So they are carrying on Resurrection Children's Center's tradition of support.

November 3, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2005. Rather ironic, since it was taken at Great Falls. We took Sunny to Great Falls this past weekend. Great Falls was another place Mattie truly enjoyed. But then again, being outdoors, exploring nature, and not confined by space and people was where Mattie thrived. 

Quote of the day: I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthorne's quote speaks to me today. It was another beautiful 70+ degree weather day in DC and it made walking Sunny so pleasant. On days like this you don't want to be trapped indoors and fortunately Sunny gives me an excuse to enjoy the actual sun. 

However, look what I saw along our walk today... Georgetown is decorated for Christmas. What on earth?! It is only November 3rd, and we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. I found it an absolutely disturbing and confusing sight! 
As you can see Mattie Miracle's 6th annual candy drive is well under way. This is my friend Heidi's dining room table.... filled with ziploc bags for sorting candy. Heidi's friend Jill is in this photo and Jill was kind enough to sort for us. Keep in mind that Jill is visiting from England. Long trip to sort candy!!! I appreciate the energy both ladies bring to this task. 
Now here is another starling sight! Outside my deck door today I found this HUGE hibiscus. With NO note. I have asked my complex's management and even my neighbor near me who loves plants. No one knows where this plant came from. It is clearly meant for us to plant and take care of, but I can't tell if it was a gift or an abandoned plant left for us to deal with. Either case, I have to deal with it. It needs to be potted, so I have to go buy a big pot to fit this small tree, and then it has to come inside as a hibiscus won't make it outside in the winter. My other green friends have taken over my living room now, so I am not sure where this one is going!

November 2, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 -- Mattie Miracle celebrates its 7th birthday today!!!

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2009, around Mattie's birthday. Mattie celebrated his 7th and last birthday in the hospital. That may sound awful, but in reality, the hospital had become like our home at that point and the people in it were our community and friends. Mattie's child life specialist, Linda, held a party for Mattie in the playroom and several of Mattie's close friends from school attended. Mattie loved decorating the playroom for his party and actually had a good time and was animated. Having a good time was definitely not a given, since social activities in general became much harder for Mattie as his treatment progressed. 

Quote of the day: Actively deciding to give to causes that move you deeply is far more fulfilling than the momentary gratification derived from signing a check and mailing it to a nonprofit about which you know little more than what's on the brochure they sent you. ~  Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

We are proud Mattie Miracle parents and nurture the Foundation in Mattie's absence. The Foundation is now as old as Mattie was when he died from Osteosarcoma. Happy 7th birthday Mattie Miracle!!!

May we never forget the reason why the Foundation was created and the psychosocial lessons we learned from Mattie's battle with Osteosarcoma.

TOP FIVE Mattie Miracle Achievements:

1) Inspired and funded a four year long National Project to create evidence based psychosocial standards of care for children with cancer and their families... which were published in a top tier medical journal in December 2015.
2) Fund a Child Life Position at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (2011 to present). A position that supports 3,500 children a year.
3) Established the Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
4) Created and sponsor the FREE Snack/Item Cart for families caring for children at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. A cart that provides snacks and toiletries to 2,500 families a year.
5) Advocated for the first psychosocial resolution (HR 262) for childhood cancer on Capitol Hill, to bring awareness to the fact that comprehensive cancer care must include psychosocial care.

It was a beautiful weather day in DC and Sunny and I took many walks. We had a monarch butterfly following us around, so I grabbed my photo and snapped a photo. I take it as a Mattie sign, on the 7th birthday of his Foundation.
Can you see Sunny heading toward the butterfly? He was equally fascinated by it as I was. 

November 1, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 -- Mattie died 372 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on Halloween of 2007. Mattie was in Kindergarten and his school had a Halloween parade. I am so happy I went to see the parade and took photos. Mainly because I wasn't given a second chance. At the time I thought I would be attending the parade for several more years while Mattie was in elementary school. That of course did not happen. 

Mattie and I went to the costume store to pick out this pilot uniform. In fact, that was our first year going to the costume store. Previous years we either made a costume or it was a simple sweat suit of some sort. Several months before Halloween Mattie visited the air show at Andrews Air Force Base. He loved that experience so much that he had his mind set on being an Air Force pilot for Halloween. The irony was this costume had a Navy uniform. But thanks to my friend Charlie who is a retire lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, she sent me many Air Force patches with I sewed onto the uniform, and transformed it. Mattie was thrilled! 

Mattie at his School's Halloween parade in 2007!

Quote of the day: His headache was still sitting over his right eye as if it had been nailed there.Ian Fleming

Last night, I felt like my right ear was clogged and I also developed ringing in that ear. It lasted for hours. I was somewhat concerned because this never happened before. Then today I developed a WILD migraine...... the intensity of the headache and nausea are noteworthy. Somehow I was out and about and doing things so I did not put it together that I had a migraine until tonight when I truly analyzed my symptoms in totality. I have had auras before which involve zig zaggy lines that appear before my eyes. This is considered an optic migraine. Rather scary because it feels like you are losing vision, but thankfully it only lasts about twenty minutes. My first optic migraine scared me to death! The ringing in the ears is a new one for me, but now I know.... it marks the start of a migraine about to unfold. So tonight's blog is short because I want to stay off the computer as much as possible. 

October 31, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken on Halloween 2008. The last Halloween we had with Mattie. Mattie was six years old and was in his second month of cancer treatment, as well as had his first limb salvaging surgery of his arm. Mattie was very hesitant about getting into a costume. Mostly because he knew whatever he wore would clearly show he had cancer. 

At Georgetown University Hospital, Halloween is a big deal. The Hope for Henry Foundation provides a huge party and also provides costumes for the children. Mattie's art therapists knew that picking out a costume in front of a ton of other children in the clinic would be a disaster for Mattie. So instead, they invited Mattie and I to look at costumes a day before the other children. This was a blessing because Mattie typically shut down with noise and chaos and he was also very fearful that others would bump into his arm that had the surgery. When we came in to look at the costumes alone, Mattie went through them at his own pace. It was Mattie who spotted the mummy costume and selected it. In all reality it was the perfect costume for him because it covered his bald head and due of the nature of the costume, you weren't thrown off by the fact that you couldn't see Mattie's right arm. You couldn't see it because it was under the costume, bandaged! 

The photo was taken in the Hospital elevator, while Mattie was going floor to floor trick or treating. Though Mattie was smiling in this photo, the event and day were very hard for him. He was highly agitated and angry. 

Quote of the day: If you seek creative ideas go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. Raymond I. Myers

Well when the State Department says something is OVER, I clearly know that means absolutely NOTHING! The unit that we live in has two ways to get outside. You have seen my deck side, since I have been posting about that for a week. The State Department construction has been so intrusive on the deck side..... with dust, debris, and terrible noise. Which started in August of 2015!!!

But this is what my other side looks like. I am the balcony with the flowers. Next to me are scaffolding, ropes, and a lot more noise. I haven't mentioned this side because my deck side was so horrendous. But this morning, there was a jack hammer going on near this scaffolding and my whole interior was shaking. In the Spring I had the living room windows washed. They looked fantastic, until the State Department started sand blasting and power washing their side. Needless to say, all that dust and water landed right back on my windows. I am truly livid with their level of disregard and today I wrote another formal complaint to our complex's management. I am getting tired of living with noise, dust, debris, workmen around, and attitude. 

Sunny and I went for several walks today. While we were out and about, I saw many preschoolers dressed in costume and with their parents. One school had a Halloween parade down by the waterfront. Frankly it was a very bittersweet sight. I can't help but look at these children and parents and think..... that was once me, but cancer took that away. As awful as it sounds I always wonder which of these families will be like me and worse I think over and over again.... why did this happen to us? Of course there are no answers to this question. 

In a way this is the last day of peace for me, because as of tomorrow the Foundation's Post Halloween Candy Drive will begin. Candy will get dropped off at different locations (this is an example of bin on the door step of a friend's house) and I will also be running around town picking up and carting candy. 

I am certainly happy to run the drive as it helps to stock our snack cart at Georgetown University Hospital. But the candy drive is VERY labor intensive and requires a lot of manpower and volunteers. 

Bins like these will be dropped at different locations in the Virginia area. I have very dedicated volunteers who manage the distribution of bins, the picking up of candy and sorting it. However, I do take on all of this for DC and Maryland and I can assure you candy is heavy and in bulk smells horrific. Last year, I collected about 2,500 pounds of candy and sorted it myself in DC. My Virginia team picked up and sorted 5,000 pounds of candy last year and then we transported it to Mattie's school. At the end of November 2015, I went in a large school truck and delivered the candy to three locations. The 2,500 pounds of candy that was in my home in DC, I transported to various hospitals and organizations on my own. Literally ALL of November I am inundated with candy! By the first week of December all the candy is gone and delivered which is a great feeling. 

October 30, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2007. We took Mattie to Butler's Orchard that weekend for pumpkin picking and a hayride! The Orchard had to be my favorite Fall Festival around. Mainly because they had a great corn maze, wagon rides, and a trip out to their actual pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins! As you can see we left that day with several wonderful hand picked pumpkins. 

Quote of the day: I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. John Muir

Indie gets a lot of outdoor time! In fact, I have never had a cat who demanded it! She is excellent because you can let her outside, but she NEVER strays from the deck area. Now that doesn't mean she won't walk the periphery of our deck wall. She will! But she never leaves the boundaries of our home! One smart puss!!!
While I had the view above from my kitchen window, I had Sunny behind me.... staring at me!
It maybe Fall, but it was 80 degrees today in DC. It was beautiful! The kind of day you know you have to be outside. Last night, we planned to take Sunny to Great Falls, VA. We took Mattie to Great Falls before, and he loved it. Since Sunny loves adventure and walking (as did Mattie), we had a feeling he would enjoy it!
This is a view of the Falls!
People were Kayaking today, the water was so smooth.  
We paused on top of the rocks and I snapped a photo of Sunny and Peter. We walked about four miles today. We weren't sure how Sunny would take to trails that had rocks on it. Sunny LOVED it. He did not slow down, as he literally can gallop up rocks of any size!
They even walked through a dried up canal lock! Sunny wanted to do this as he was hot on the trail of a squirrel!

After our walk, we had a picnic in the park. I brought lunch for Peter, Sunny, and myself! I think Sunny truly loved the experience and could have continued walking!
This evening.... Indie is back outside. Look at her looking up at me from Mattie's window!