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

January 5, 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. This was one of the MANY photos we took of Mattie in order to capture just the right pose for our first family Christmas card. We started taking photos inside on the couch. But when I saw that it was snowing, we changed the backdrop (which ultimately was a good idea, as it was Mattie in the snow that was featured on our Christmas card in 2002). As you might guess Mattie wasn't pleased with my photographing demands!

Quote of the day: A brand new year could be considered the seed, and your goals could be the buds, but taking action and achieving your dreams, well, that is the flower. May the New Year be your seed and may you have lots of flowers to inspire you! ~ Kate Summers

Since we returned from Florida last Sunday, we haven't seen the sun. It has been one depressingly gray day after the other. It would be very easy to spend the whole day at home in weather like this, but fortunately Sunny doesn't give us this option. He needs to go out regardless of the weather. To combat the grayness, we tried to have an active day. We walked about 7 miles today, some with Sunny and some without. 

To me this blog posting features the ugly and the beautiful! This of course is the ugly. Before I went away to Florida (which was only two weeks ago), this wall near the US State Department was graffiti free. When I got home, this is what I was greeted with. I have no idea why NO ONE else reports this disgusting sight, but I tend to be the one it bothers the most in my neighborhood. Today, I photographed this nonsense and reported it to the DC Department of Works. I am not a graffiti fan at all, and I especially do not like it when it is absolutely ugly and detracts from our Nation's capital. 

In comparison to the above photo, this is the beautiful! Inside of our living room. Despite the weather, it is always nice to see green things thriving inside over the winter months. 

January 4, 2019

Friday, January 4, 2018

Friday, January 4, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. It is hard to believe that Mattie was only 8 months in this photo and yet to me when I look at the photo, Mattie looks like he was older. One thing about Mattie was he was born fully on! He could do multiple tasks at one time and though he may have looked like he wasn't listening, he absorbed everything around him including conversation. 

Quote of the day: May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions! Joey Adams

Inovalon is a technology based company, located in Baltimore, MD. For four years now (since 2015), Inovalon has been a long term corporate sponsor of our Foundation. We found this Inovalon press release (below) on Facebook today and shared it with our Mattie Miracle supporters. How did we become connected with a publicly held company? Through our friend Kristen. In fact, I would say ALL of our sponsors are connected to us to one way or another through a friend or fellow supporter of the Foundation. As in my perspective fundraising is all about connections and very little is accomplished by cold calling individuals or businesses. 

I met Kristen (who is the second person from the right in this photo, she was standing next to me) on November 4, 2011. She was moderating a panel at The District of Columbia Pediatric Palliative Care Collaboration conference, a panel that Peter and I served on. On this panel we were asked all sorts of questions about Mattie's cancer battle as well as our grieving process. Keep in mind that Mattie had died about two years ago at that point. Just about the time when real emotions around the loss of a child tend to arise! Kristen is a social worker by profession and we enjoyed our interaction with her so much, that we invited her to our Symposium on Capitol Hill to moderate our parent panel (the photo was taken at the Mattie Miracle Symposium on March 21, 2012).   

It is hard to believe, but we are in our 8th year of knowing Kristen. We have kept in contact through the years, and it was Kristen who advocated for Inovalon to become a corporate sponsor of Mattie Miracle. Kristen's husband, Matt, works at Inovalon and he helped me make the appropriate connections to the company. The rest is history. Kristen is yet another example of the wonderful people Mattie left behind for me. When I reflect on many of my best relationships now, they were established in some shape or form through Mattie. I think that says volumes about both Mattie and the people who are captured by his life and story. 

Inovalon Announces Charitable Initiatives for 2018; Inovalon Drives Meaningful Impact through Charitable Giving Programs Serving Local and National Organizations:

January 3, 2019

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Thursday, January 3, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. Mattie's first Christmas and snow fall. That day we dragged his exercise saucer onto our deck, dressed him up as a little elf, and started snapping photos. I think we must have taken at least 50 or 60 photos. This was not the photo that landed on the front of our Christmas card that year, but none the less it was priceless. 

Quote of the day: I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s. ~  Henry Moore

I had the opportunity to interact with someone today who was wearing a "wish" bracelet. She told me a friend gave it to her for Christmas. Perhaps I have heard to such a bracelet before, but truly never saw one or even knew the significance of it. 

Apparently you are supposed to wear this bracelet, make a wish or wishes, and when the bracelet finally disintegrates, that will mean your wish comes true. Certainly I appreciate the sentiments expressed in this gift and in the bracelet itself, but perhaps I am just a cynic. Was I always that way? I would say NO! But seeing Mattie get diagnosed with cancer, endure cancer treatment, and then die has shown me at an early age that what we wish for doesn't always come true. In fact, just the opposite can happen. 

I was watching an HGTV show the other day, and these interior designers were helping a young couple with their home. The couple talked to the designers about setting up space for their future children. Just hearing that set me off. Why? Because I want to know why others can plan for their future and their families and in the majority of cases couples get their wish. Yet for Peter and I, our future looks differently. It has clouded my lens so much that when I see a pregnant woman or I hear women talking about future families, all I can think of is.... you could be just like me. After all we all start out naive, not thinking that childhood cancer can touch one's family. It was never on my radar scope. 

Now instead childhood cancer has become my compass. So what does that mean? I don't believe in wishes? I don't believe in planning for the future? I am not sure, as it depends on what day you catch me. Being that it is cold and another gray day in DC, you can surmise which direction I am going in today! 

January 2, 2019

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. It was Mattie's first Christmas and in his cute red onesie, he was doing what he loved best.... attempting to walk. Mattie never crawled and forget about tummy time. Mattie did not care for either, but at 8 months he desperately wanted the freedom to walk. 

Quote of the day: New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Mark Twain

Since Peter and I both came back home sick, we decided to board Sunny two more days until we could stabilize. Today we picked the boy up! 

Sunny was edgy and whining when he first got into the car. His whining was excitement to see us. The beautiful part about Dogtopia, where we board Sunny, is that they text message me daily updates on him while we are away. In addition, there is a webcam I can access on the internet to see Sunny for myself. 

Sunny goes on a hunger strike when we are away! They all have his number at Dogtopia and they try to coax him to eat with all sorts of goodies. 

Because I know Sunny hasn't been eating well, I brought him a doggie bowl with cut up ham from our New Year's Eve dinner. You can see that he had NO problem eating that. 
Within a few minutes, we went from anxious and stressed out dog to happy dog. Before coming home, we took Sunny for a walk at Episcopal High School. I just love the grounds on the campus, and so does Sunny. He was thrilled to be out and about and sniffed and marked everything in sight. 
Peter was playing with Sunny in the school's enclosed dog park. Sunny was having a great time running around and chasing Peter. 

Sunny maybe 7 years old, but he can move like the wind. We joked that we had a power walk today with Sunny in the lead! 

January 1, 2019

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Tuesday, January 1, 2019 --- Mattie died 485 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. It was Mattie's first Christmas, and though he did not understand the significance of the holiday, we decorated and started to create our own traditions. Peter and I used to love to decorate for the holidays, as Peter was always determined to find the perfectly shaped tree. The smell of pine within our home was noteworthy as were the decorations we put on the tree. Even back then, I had an ornament for family members who had died. They may have died but they were always be a part of our holidays. As Mattie got older, he joined us in the decorating tradition. In fact, each year, the day after Thanksgiving, Peter and Mattie created an outdoor light display in our commons area. For years, our neighbors told me how much they appreciated our efforts. Apparently our lights brought them happiness on the dark days of winter. 

Quote of the day: Each year's regret are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the new year. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are starting the New Year, with a new child life professional at Children's Hospital at Sinai. This is Adina, the first Mattie Miracle child life professional to work at Sinai. Adina wrote to me over the holidays to introduce herself to me and to also highlight some of the things she has done so far. She wanted me to know that our snack and item cart is a big hit at the hospital. 

Here is what Adina told me today.........

I had one little girl who waited all day for the snack cart and when I came to her room she had a big bag ready to stock up on treats. She had not been feeling well all day but she lit up when she saw the cart.

A family from overseas was especially touched by the cart. They were in disbelief that it was all free and were so excited to try American candy. The father was insistent on making a donation to the cart. They were in the hospital for a few days and this really brightened their time here.

I must say receiving Adina's message  brightened my day. It did because I am still congested and not feeling great. In addition, the New Year doesn't have the same meaning to me as it once did. This is not a Vicki thing, and it isn't only associated with parents who lost a child to cancer. Rather there are many of us out there who have experienced one thing or another in our lives that make holidays challenging to acknowledge, much less celebrate. To all of us feeling this way, may we find the hope and courage to greet and endure 2019. 

December 31, 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2009. We took Mattie out for lunch and Peter snapped this photo of us. I would say we looked very much alike, but besides the physical appearance, we had similar personalities too! 

Quote of the day: Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. ~ Benjamin Franklin

I am posting a few photos from Christmas day aboard the Crown Princess ship. Connectivity at sea was awful and I was unable to upload photos to the blog. This is the ship's piazza. It was a lovely three story atrium that had everything from shops, music, to cafes! 
That night they had a balloon drop to celebrate the holiday!
This is the first cruise I have been on where passengers decorated their cabin doors! 
I give these folks credit for packing this candy cane!
Mattie would have gotten a big kick out of seeing all these doors!
A Christmas stocking for everyone!
Santa was well represented. The ship even had Santa visit the children in the piazza on Christmas day. Every possible activity to celebrate Christmas was included on the ship!
A poinsettia beauty. 
The ship had two formal nights! So in addition to packing for the time away, you have to give thought to formal wear. Peter snapped this photo of the three of us. 
The sunsets in the Caribbean are amazingly beautiful!
I captured Mattie Moon over Dominica. I couldn't get over how the moon shed light over the island and the water. 

December 30, 2018

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2006. We took Mattie to the US Botanical Gardens and after our visit there (to see the plants and holiday trains) we walked around the grounds of the Capitol. I am so happy Peter captured this photo of Mattie and me, as it appears to be the perfect Washington, DC holiday moment. A moment, which I remember like it were yesterday. 

Quote of the day: Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. ~ Zuzu Bailey

Our day started at 6am in order to commute home. Though Florida and DC are NOT far apart from each other, thanks to American Airlines, we had to have a layover in Charlotte, NC. So what should take 2.5 hours, took us over 6 hours to fly home!

This was our view of the Fort Lauderdale harbor at take off. There were 7 cruise ships in port, which means about 21,000 people were disembarking and another 21,000 people embarking all in one day. The airport was a zoo and truly can't accommodate the volume of people. Neither one of us was feeling great on the plane today, but it only got worse as the day wore on. 

Peter captured this passage of water, because we literally were traveling on it two weeks ago when our cruise began. It is the passage from the port out to sea. 
Now this is where all the fun began, as we were in the airplane over Charlotte, about to land, Peter started vomiting on the plane. I wish I could say that is where it ended, but it did not. Peter then vomited for the next three hours during our layover in Charlotte. Our flight was delayed for 90 minutes and it was a blessing because I don't know if we would have made our connecting flight as Peter's condition wasn't stable. For three hours in the airport, we stayed in this location, close to a bathroom. What I was looking at was a mobile of vehicles. 

We are finally back in DC, but neither one of us is feeling well. Peter is still queasy and now running a fever and I still can't hear out of my ears as they are clogged from congestion. Descending twice in an airplane today made my ear congestion even worse, if that is possible! I haven't been able to hear now for over a week. So I am signing off for tonight as this doesn't look like the start of a good New Year for us.