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 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old and we took him to a petting zoo in Virginia. As you can see Mattie was absolutely fascinated by the animals!

Quote of the day: Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. ~ Elizabeth Andrew

Mattie Miracle’s Candy Drive is now closed! We thank all of our supporters for making this Drive a success! We had a final sorting session today and our final count is 70 filled bins of candy! Deliveries start on Monday!
Special thanks to today’s sorters:

Catherine Canterbury
Sara Catherine Canterbury
Peggy Elkind
Abby Doane
Mary Doane
Michael Doane
Helen Kelly
Maria Van Horn
Debbie Keefe

This is what the garage looks like.... filled with bins!!! While we finished sorting a ton of candy today inside, Peter spent a good portion of the day outside (mind you it feels like 20 degrees outside today) reorganizing bins in rows, so that our deliveries next week will go more smoothly! Each row represents a day of the week and its delivery. 
Our friend Catherine and her daughter, Sara Catherine, joined us later in the day to finish up with sorting and clean up. Mattie and Sara Catherine went to preschool together. 
At the end of the sorting session, we had a drop off of two boxes of candy from Silver Spring, MD. Erickson and Hong Orthodontics were new contributors to our Drive this year, and so happy to have met Monica DeLeon, the receptionist in the office. Monica is delightful and truly wants to support Mattie Miracle. It was lovely of her to personally drive the candy to Alexandria today!!

November 10, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017 

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old, and we took him to Frying Pan Park. Which had farm animals. Right from the beginning, Mattie loved and related to animals. I can still recall snapping this photo! I thought it was hysterical back then, but now it is simply priceless. Look at how Mattie was checking out that sheep..... notice too that his left hand really wanted to grab some wool!

Quote of the day: The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. ~ Helen Keller

The sorting continued today! I thought it was our last big sorting gathering, but I was WRONG! There will be another one tomorrow. So far over 50 (27 gallon sized) bins are filled with sorted candy! Major thanks to today's volunteers:

Catherine Canterbury 
Abby Doane 
Peggy Elkind
Debbie Keefe 
Helen Kelly

The delivery of Mattie Miracle sweet treats will be underway next week! Thanks to all our donors and volunteers.

This is a basket of Halloween themed items that we have accumulated through our candy donations. We separate these items, but always give them to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Mattie would have loved a handful of this stuff while in the hospital!
Meanwhile this was the candy drive display at Dr. Jill Bruno's office in Chevy Chase, MD. Jill is an orthodontist, who runs a candy buy back program for her patients at Halloween. All the candy that comes into her office, gets donated to Mattie Miracle. Jill also served as a candy drop off site in Maryland for the Foundaton this year!
This is a photo of Jill Bruno with her staff. 
We also want to thank FMP Consulting in Arlington, VA. They are first time candy donors and we welcome them to our candy family. 

November 9, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2004. Mattie was two years old and clearly dressed as Winnie the Pooh for Halloween. The University I taught at was having a community wide Halloween party and several of my students invited us to attend. Mattie felt very special to be going to a University party and one of the wonderful activities at the event, was the children got to pick a free book to take home with them. Mattie picked a book featuring, Franklin the turtle. Franklin was one of his favorite TV shows, so it did not surprise me that Mattie gravitated to the book and wanted to hear the story inside. 

Quote of the day: Man cannot live on candy alone, but woman sure can. ~ Author Unknown

I spent 7 hours again sorting and organizing candy! I am so tired, I can practically fall asleep standing up. 

Pictured here are our volunteers who helped me today. This may have been our best group yet. Small, but wow what we accomplished together. 

From left to right are: Maria, Catherine, Helen, and Katherine. I know Maria and Catherine from Mattie's preschool! 

Pictured from left to right: Vicki, Catherine, Helen, and Katherine.

Sorting candy may sound like fun, but it is actually very laborious. Candy is heavy to lift and the smell in bulk is intense!
A close up of the sorting process. People ask me.... why must the candy be sorted?! It is sorted for three reasons: 1) storing candy by type preserves the candy longer, otherwise if it were mixed, it would all taste the same, 2) sorting it allows us to inspect each piece as some candy is not appropriate for a hospital setting, given that it is Halloween themed and could have skulls and tombstones on it, and 3) sorting allows staff members at the hospitals to easily restock our snack and item carts. 

This may not look impressive, but so far we have 49 27-gallon bins filled with sorted candy. This is a huge feat. Carrying the candy to these bins, filling the bins and lifting them on top of each other for storage is a pip! There is no other way to describe this. 

My friend, who was with me for most of the day sorting candy, told me she is exhausted tonight and wanted to know how I have been doing this all week? Good question. Mind you I am sparing volunteers the pleasure of carrying the candy and manipulating bins. I do think all this intensive activity explains why I can't keep my head up!

November 8, 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2007. Mattie was five years old and attending a Fall Festival. How do you like this HUGE slide? As you can see it was so big, Mattie chose to try it with Peter in tow. I was always the designated family photographer, and fortunately I was! I took pictures of what the average person would say was the mundane. However, now that I no longer have Mattie in my life, it is amazing how even the mundane is special. Childhood cancer does transform your life and perspective. When Mattie was a preschooler, he was deathly afraid of slides. He wouldn't even climb up one, and forget about going down. This was something we worked with him on, to the point that eventually he loved them!

Quote of the day: I often wished that more people understood the invisible side of things. Even the people who seemed to understand, didn't really. ~ Jennifer Starzec

I went to pick up another large candy donation today. It is truly exhausting to pick up candy, transport it, sort it, and then organize it. When you are dealing with thousands of pounds of candy, it requires you to have your wits about you. The candy is sorted, bagged, and then placed in a bin. But I want each bin to have an assortment of candy in it, so I have to make sure when I load the bins, I am paying attention to what I am grabbing. 

Tomorrow, a group of volunteers is meeting at the house where the candy is stored, to help sort more candy. So tonight, I literally unloaded candy from the garage out of six bins and staged it in the hallway. I want volunteers to have easy access to candy, to make this impossible job slightly easier. It is the lifting and carrying of the candy that is a wipe out. 
So this is what my evening entailed..... reorganizing bins in the garage, moving in candy to be sorted, and then moving out these piles of sorted candy and placing it into bins. I am telling you it is a show of grand proportion. 

Unfortunately tomorrow, doesn't look much different than today. 

November 7, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 -- Mattie died 425 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2007. Mattie was five years old and by this point, absolutely LOVED Fall Festivals. This cute photo was taken at Cox Farms and Mattie thought this cut out was adorable. A colorful corncob with wheels. After all, Mattie loved anything with wheels. It is hard to believe that Fall Festivals continue on, that families still participate in these events all over our region, and yet for us, this all seems like it happened in another life. In another world. 

Quote of the day: If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself. ~ Charles M. Schulz

Honestly how can you not laugh, when you see the picture below?

We continued to receive MORE candy today and therefore I am still processing it! This was me yesterday in the garage working. It truly captures the chaos and volume I was working with. 

Believe it or not, tomorrow I am picking up MORE candy, and I know of several other donations we are waiting on! So it continues! If you wonder what I am up to for the next two weeks.... figure I am dealing with candy and delivering candy!

November 6, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2004. Mattie was two years old and was at a Fall Festival. Mattie had a fascinating personality. He approached certain things with caution, like this long and steep slide. Mattie may have been cautious, but was intrigued and with support was eager to try going down the slide. As you can see he did this sitting on Peter's lap. By the following year, Mattie wanted to go down these slides himself. 

Quote of the day: Far be it from me to stand between a girl and her Skittles. ~ Sarah Weeks

This was the team of volunteers who helped sort candy for several hours today. 

We thank:

  • Claire and her son Connor (who at 8, apparently loves sorting candy and can do it for hours)
  • Peggy 
  • Liz and her son Jackson
  • Laura
  • Karen

Before the team left, I snapped a photo of them surrounded by candy!

Then we had several candy deliveries including one from my friend Margy (who collected candy from Burke, VA), and Ellen (a mom who lost her child to cancer; collected candy from her neighborhood in Arlington, her preschool, and a Brownie Troop).

Pictured left to right: Vicki, Laura, Ellen, and Margy
You can see some of the volume I faced today. 

The volunteers all left at 12:30pm, and it was at that point, I started working strategically. I bought twenty additional bins at Home Depot today, and then worked in this garage until 7pm! 
Candy everywhere! It can get overwhelming, but I don't take breaks because I would never have accomplished all that I did today if I had. 
You can see all my new bins. Home Depot was wonderful today. We ordered 20 gallon bins, but they did not have what we ordered on line, so they gave me bigger bins at the same price as the smaller bins. They even carried them to my car. They were very helpful!
So after 7 hours of intense work, and I assure you lifting bins and candy is exhausting, this is what the garage looks like tonight. Of course more chaos will ensue as more candy gets delivered! 

I am very tired tonight, but I am left wishing that fundraising was an easy as collecting candy! 

November 5, 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2005. That year, Mattie was invited to the George Washington University's community Halloween party. Where kids from all over the DC community came to the University to get candy, participate in activities, pick out books of their choice, a have fun. Peter snapped a photo of me and Mattie walking to the event. Don't you just love his calico costume with the tail dragging along on the pavement? 

Quote of the day: One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.Iris Murdoch

It was a damp and cool, not to mention rainy and gray day in DC. But Sunny is like the US postage service! He needs to walk regardless of the weather. So we headed back to Roosevelt Island. While on the Island, I snapped several Fall photos!
The reds and oranges were popping out today, despite how gray it was outside. 
Peter photographs this tree at all times of the year. It seems to keep track of the seasons for us. 
In the middle of the water, was a Great Blue Heron, wading in the water. It is large to see, but it is the big gray lump in the middle of the water. 
Now this is a more unusual sighting at Roosevelt Island.... deer (do you see it?). We saw five deer today and Sunny was besides himself. If he wasn't on leash, it wouldn't have been pretty. We held him back, and he was barking up a storm. Sunny has a very big hunting and herding instinct. 
Leaves lined all the pathways, but their colors are what caught my attention. 
You can't miss this bright yellow tree! Sunny wasn't too thrilled with our frequent pauses to snap photos, but on the Island, there is a lot to keep all of us happy. Which is why it was one of Mattie's favorite places to visit. We practically walked here every weekend. 
Sunny was on the look out for more deer! Once he saw one, he was motivated to find others. 
Typically I do not photograph fungus, but look at this wonderful composition on the log with the leaves. 
Candy continues to come in! This bunch came from Beth Parker. Beth used to be a Fox 5 newscaster and did many stories on Mattie Miracle. She also covered our Candy Drive once. Since that point in time, Beth and her neighborhood contribute annually in November. 

This was a photo sent to us by a mom of a St. Joseph's School student. St. Joseph's is located in Herndon, VA, and this is their first year they have participated in our drive. Their school has both collected and sorted candy! Here is a photo of some of the dedicated sorters!