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

July 14, 2018

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2008. Mattie was six years old and standing right by a lotus bloom at the DC Aquatic Garden. We would visit this Garden every July, in order to see the lotus flowers. Which are an incredible sight, and a must see when in DC during the summer! 

Quote of the day: Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite. — Unknown

In light of the fact that tomorrow is our 23rd wedding anniversary, I decided to post this photo. What is this photo of? Well it is a Llardo of a wedding couple. Not just any Llardo, but the one that was the cake topper on our wedding cake. 

If you look closely at the bride, you will notice she is missing a left hand. Which is why I affectionately refer to this piece as "Lefty." When I was recently in California, helping my parents move, I came across Lefty wrapped in bubble packing material within a garage cabinet. As soon as I saw it, I knew immediately the significance of this Llardo. Naturally I brought this figurine home and we will display it as soon as it is all glued. Lefty isn't only missing a hand, but the groom was missing a head. He has been put back together and soon we will be gluing back Lefty's hand. 

This figurine actually broke before our wedding. Given its less than perfect condition, we could have decided not to use it on our wedding cake or to replace it with another Llardo. But even back then I had the where with all to know that Lefty would be a great story to tell one day. This broken figurine is actually quite symbolic of life. Life isn't perfect, nor is it always pretty. But despite things happening you keep standing and in this case, continue to move forward together. Now in retrospect, this was the perfect cake topper for us. Because it does capture the essence of our relationship and marriage. 

Losing a child to cancer can destroy many individuals and couples. Though Peter and I have high and low moments as individuals, we are able to manage them together as a couple. I believe this is possible since we started out as friends in college. We had known each other a long time before having Mattie, and I attribute time and our respect for each other as the key contributors to enduring the impossible.... Mattie's death. 

July 13, 2018

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2008, only weeks from when Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. It is truly remarkable to look at Mattie here and to accept that he was actually sick and we did not know it. In any case, this photo was taken on the boardwalk of Roosevelt Island. We do not have many photos of the three of us together. I can count them on one hand, which is what makes this photo special.  

Quote of the day: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~ Albert Einstein

It seems like I haven't written the blog for a very long time. Since July of 2008, I have been writing the blog daily. Yet while I was in California helping my parents move, I was working non-stop and had issues with connectivity. Which is why I am so happy Peter kept the writing going in my absence. As you can see or I should say read, Peter can more than hold his own as a writer and it is wonderful to hear his perspective and commentary about his day and our experiences. 

Though Peter had to work and couldn't get away to come to California, his support was present through his communications with me, his sending me gloves to help me while dealing with a lot of boxes and paper, taking care of our animals, answering technology questions I had from afar as I set up my parents computers and printers, and of course writing the blog. When I arrived home last night, I am happy to say that I got a greeting from Indie and a huge greeting from Sunny. I find it so amazing the love a dog can have for its owner. A bit different from a cat, as things are always on a cat's terms. 

I love Einstein's quote that I found because I would say for the last three weeks, I was constantly moving. In fact to manage this move, I had to keep moving! Otherwise, there would be no balance, no equilibrium. Initially when I went out to California, my intention was not to stay for the actual move. However, after my first day there, I immediately changed my plans. Moving is tough stuff and fortunately given all that I do for the Foundation, I have the skill set to manage big events.... and moving is an event. There are many parts to organize and run. 

Instead of purchasing moving boxes, we went to the grocery store, the produce department specifically, and asked them for their left over boxes. These boxes are sturdy and they aren't too big to carry (boxes that typically house bananas were my favorite). After securing boxes, it was then a matter of going through all items to determine which were coming with us, which were going to be trashed, and what could be donated. We filled up half a driveway with items to be donated. The process can be overwhelming and I think it is a whole lot easier to do with someone else's things than your own. Which is why I knew it would be better for me to take this on. Having cleaned out Mattie's things and room, I know the emotional difficulties of parting with possessions.

I spent days wrapping breakables and boxing things. When I knew for certain where my parents were going to move to, and how close it was, I literally began piling things into their car and transporting things that way rather than wrapping them. I can't even imagine how many miles of walking I did in the last three weeks, with climbing up and down steps and walking back and forth between houses. I am sure I did a couple of marathons worth of walking. But my goal was to leave my parents with NOTHING to unpack. I did not want them dealing with boxes, packing paper, and chaos. I am proud to say as of Wednesday night they were completely box and bin free. Everything was put away and now when I return in August, only pictures need to be hung and some other odds and ends. 

It was quite an achievement, and I knew I did a good job when the professional movers told me that I made their job easier. That I basically did 90% of the move. Certainly moving furniture and heavy items is impossible, and I wasn't about to take that on, but what I did was streamlined the move. Otherwise, my parents would be sorting through boxes for months trying to unwrap items and find a home for them. I was going to have none of that, and therefore, like I run our Foundation Walk, I used my same determination and strategies to manage the move. So as Einstein said.... to keep your balance keep moving. It was my motto to successfully complete this move. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

This shot was taken in July 2007 during a bath moment when Mattie was getting silly.

Mattie's baths would sometimes have Vicki in the bathroom with him for an hour or more. The actual "get clean" part of the exercise lasted only minutes, and well, the rest was all about the play.

Vicki would eventually drain the tub in an effort to get Mattie out of the tub, but he would just sit there, no water, and continue playing. He was quite the pip. I miss him dearly.

Well, Vicki arrived home tonight after an almost three week long trip to her parent's home in Los Angeles. Her parents sold their house and have moved into a rental, and as any who has moved knows: "moving sucks". Simply stated.

Vicki worked like a mad woman for three weeks helping her parents to cull through household and personal items they no longer needed and were holding onto unnecessarily. Let's face it: we are ALL guilty of doing this. I liken the accumulation of personal things in part to a bath tub faucet that has a tiny drip from it. Each dip seems inconsequential, but if you put the stopper in the tub and walk away, when you come back, you will have a bathtub full of water. It happens to all of us.

With moving, besides the huge emotional component of relocation, you also have the pure physical challenge of sorting, packing, moving and then unpacking. I think unpacking is worse that packing! So, if you are smart, and Vicki is more than smart, you thin out things as you prepare to move, so you are not moving things unnecessarily and are left with the burden of what to do with them when you get to your new home. But you also pack in such a way as to facilitate unpacking at the new home. Vicki's parents moved into a rental home three doors around the corner, which meant Vicki could throw a ton of things into the car, drive it around the corner and then unpack them, room or area-by-area in the new home. While convenient, it also meant Vicki made endless trip after trip between the two homes, carrying things down to the car, then carrying them into the new home and placing them.

The net result is that the movers just had to move the big stuff (i.e. beds, furniture, TVs, etc.) as everything else had already been moved by Vicki. In fact, on the night before she left LA, she had unpacked the last moving bin. This meant that Vicki was able to leave her parents in a completely "moved in" state. Quite a huge help to her parents, which I know they appreciated.

I leave you with a series of shots of Mattie. Thanks for indulging me with all these pictures, but I just like seeing his face, something that is hard to do since he is no longer with us.

July 11, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tuesday, July 11, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken during one of Mattie's many bath moments. For Mattie, bath time was never about the bath, but rather an opportunity to play in the tub, while getting wet, and clean.

One thing that I notice about Mattie is that in many of the shots we have of him, he is typically smiling. I never really thought about it, but he was a happy child. I miss that smiling face...

Nothing like a smile to brighten one's outlook or to put a smile on your own face.

So tonight I am at a bit of a loss. The past week or so has been full of lots of work and tasks, so much so that I am dragging tonight. However, staying with the smiling topic, I know a few souls who will be smiling tomorrow night, as Vicki returns home from almost a three week long stint in Los Angeles helping her parents move. The dog will be in part shock but guaranteed, he will be smiling when he sees Vicki, as will I. Not sure if cats actually smile, but if they could, so would Indie.

So I close tonight with some random shots of Mattie, doing what he did often, which was to brighten the day with a smile.



July 10, 2018

Tuesday July 10, 2018

Tuesday July 10, 2018 -- Mattie died 460 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in November 2008 on the last birthday I ever celebrated with Mattie. We were several months into Mattie's cancer treatment and past his first limb-salvaging surgery. He worked out a plan in advance to make me a model magic cake in celebration of my birthday. This shot was taken just after he had proudly presented to me. The cake still sits today on a bureau at home.

It is a moment I will never forget, and one I will never have the chance to experience again. Mattie died in September 2009 two months before my next birthday. At the time this shot was taken, never did I imagine that I would not have another chance to do something like this with Mattie. 

In subsequent years when my birthday comes around, I focus less on the number of years I have been alive, and instead focus on the number of years I now live without Mattie. 

Today is the 3,227th day since Mattie died, and with his loss, I also lost a large part of me, of who I am, of how I look at this world and at others, and what I thought my life was going to be.

I came across this picture in one of my bereavement groups on Facebook. Yes, I belong to a bereavement group on Facebook. Actually, I belong to three groups now (I had belonged to more but dropped some since they were not helpful). The is a statue in Geneva called "Melancholy" by Albert Gyorgy.

It was posted in one of the bereavement groups telling us that July is Bereaved Parents Month. That's not the kind of "let's Celebrate the month of...." that you would ever hear on the radio or see on a newscast. I researched the artist a little and all the genuine sites I found about him were in foreign languages I cannot read. Not sure what the impetus or motivation was for this artist to create this piece, but dollars to donuts, he has some insights into loss.

What I do know is that visually this resonated with me an allegorical depiction of how life feels sometimes for me after having lost my child to cancer. Words cannot begin to describe what it feels like and lets be honest, most normal parents in this world do not want to or cannot even go there and begin imagining what life is like without their child. It hits at all times and unpredictably, and literally feels as though a significant portion of oneself is literally missing, forever. 

I wish I were a poet or talented story teller who could better describe this feeling, but then again, I am not sure I would want anyone else to ever experience this kind of feeling.

July 9, 2018

Monday July 9, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

This shot was taken in March 2005. Mattie was hamming it up with Vicki and wearing his Easter themed sunglasses because.... well, just because. That was Mattie. As you can see he loved his mommy and was having a good time playing. I can also tell we were in the midst of painting our home, as can be seen by the furniture pulled away from the walls and the blue painters tape on the left side of the photo.

Hello from Peter....
It was a typical Monday filled with work and chores and mundane tasks that a Monday typically supplies. At the end of the day (between the myriad of dog walks I took today), I popped out to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and what did I see? But a movie shoot in progress, right on Virginia Ave.

Vicki and I have seen them shooting in and around Foggy Bottom now for a number of months. In many cases, we see a street scene, and we know the setting is in the 1980s since all you see are 1980s model cars driving around on the streets, to be included in the shots as background and atmosphere. I am sure many of us watch movies that are set in earlier eras, and we probably rarely notice the period cars that appear in the background shots.  

Well tonight was another example of this happening. If you look closely at the shots, you can see all the cars are not from this era, but rather from several decades ago. So Foggy Bottom continues to an attraction for movies especially with iconic and identifiable buildings like the Watergate, the Kennedy Center, the State Department and with the backdrop of the Potomac River and the Washington Monument that can be seen down Virginia Avenue.