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

December 26, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on December 10, 2008. Mattie was admitted to the hospital because he was running a fever and feeling awful. You will notice there was a pillow in front of Mattie. He literally took his head off the pillow for a few minutes to greet Santa and Mrs. Claus. I snapped this photo and Mattie's head went right back down. Santa brought Mattie several of his favorite toys (with coaching from Mattie's child life specialist), which you can see sitting in front of Mattie.  

Quote of the day: The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. William Arthur Ward

We celebrated Christmas in the Coral Dining room. Our two wait staff are from South Africa (Danielle and Lezann). Danielle snapped this photo of us. Ironically she takes a better photo than one of the ship's photographer. 
Peter captured the three of us. There are three formal nights on this cruise, and Christmas was our second formal night. 

This morning we watched our ship come into the port of Barbados. Our ship docked in a completely different location from where we have been in the past. Given where we were located it required about a "20" minute walk from the ship to the port building. Peter decided to take a selfie of us walking today. I thought it was absolutely hysterical that able bodied people were taking the free shuttle from the ship to the port. It truly was a very easy walk and given we are cooped up on the ship, stretching one's legs is important.
My mom and I posed by the Barbados greeting sign! 
I am not sure why I did not recognize Barbados today, but I didn't. It is true that it is the day after Christmas and a lot of the stores were closed, yet even with that I honestly did not remember how impoverished the neighborhoods looked.
We snapped a few photos of some of the neighborhoods we passed to give you a better idea of what we observed. 
Just like in Antigua and St. Kitts, in Barbados, people drive on the opposite side of the road from us! Given that the British were the first settlers on this island in 1627, you can still see many of the British influences. 
The island was decorated for Christmas!
This is the George Washington House in Barbados. It is a historic house where the future first U.S. President George Washington visited, in 1751. He was 19 years old at the time and traveling with his ailing older half-brother Lawrence Washington, who had fallen victim to tuberculosis. It was thought that the warmer air would be therapeutic for Lawrence. 

Lawrence's wife had family living on Barbados. However, his wife was unable to travel with him to the island, so George decided to accompany his older brother instead. George Washington's visit to the island was purely by chance (his brother getting sick, and his brother having in-laws living on the island). However, his 6 weeks on the island proved to be informative and ultimately gave him the insights and leadership to defeat the British and gain independence for the USA.

Back then the house was known as the Bush Hill House, a former plantation house, appropriately titled due to the fact that it was located on Bush Hill, which is a stone's throw away from the Garrison (fortress) Savannah. In 2011, the property was designated as a UNESCO protected property within the World Heritage Site of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison area.

Historians have deliberated over the exact location of the house in which George and Lawrence stayed, however careful examination of George’s diaries from that period have confirmed Bush Hill House as the correct site.

Though this large table did not exist during the time George Washington visited this home, the table is now used to host dinners with a mock George Washington every month or so. Guests can dine with George and learn all about his life over dinner. 

During his time in Barbados, George Washington contracted smallpox but in time healed and gained immunity from the virus. Immunity which saved his life years later during the American War of Independence in the USA. While his troops were falling ill around him, Washington was able to continue leading his armies to victory. Having immunity from smallpox, would never have happened for him if he hadn't visited Barbados and contracted the disease in the first place. It is said that Washington's trip to Barbados was fortuitous for him. 

The second way his trip to Barbados was fortuitous for him, was he gained knowledge regarding the success of the sugar trade on the island with England. He knew the British would protect this trade at all costs. So during the American Revolution, it is said that George Washington, diverted the attention of the British troops from the United States to Barbados. As he brought the French into the conflict and the French wanted to eliminate the British from their hold over the sugar trade in the West Indies. In any case, the British landed up sending a large portion of their troops to Barbados and in the process, this enabled George Washington to gain a strong hold on the British and win the American Revolution. I was very intrigued by how ONE trip and experience truly altered the course of George Washington's life! 

This was the room George Washington literally slept in when he visited the island with his brother.  
This was his brother, Lawrence's room. Because Lawrence was so ill from tuberculosis, he rarely left the house. However, George was only 19 and was a surveyor by trade. He spent a lot of time visiting people and learning about the island.
On the outside of the home, we found this gigantic caterpillar. He actually had many friends all around him. I can't imagine the huge butterfly this fellow produces! If Mattie were with us, I know he would have wanted to take one of these creatures home with us. 
After walking through where George and his brother stayed, we then went to check out the tunnels. Accessible only from George Washington House, these tunnels were re-discovered purely by chance in June 2011. They were built sometime during the 1820’s and they are soon to be 200 years old.

Originally constructed to provide drainage to the area (the first such system in Barbados; since the island had a significant yellow fever and malaria problem from standing water), oral history has indicated that they were adopted for use as ‘escape routes’ for the Garrison (fortress) troops, should the area have ever been invaded.

These tunnels are not great for anyone who maybe claustrophobic. They are dark, extremely narrow and at times it felt like the ceiling was closing in on us. What made it manageable was the simple fact that we weren't down there for very long. 
Unchanged for 200 years, the arched roof of the Garrison Tunnels was carved through limestone rock. They say the way that the tunnels were engineered was so well thought out that when it rains, it actually cleans out the tunnels.
The Barbados Garrison, largest in the British Colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries, is of great historic interest.  It was established in 1780 as the military headquarters for the Imperial Forces stationed here until 1905/6.  

Today it is the home of the Barbados Defense Force including the Barbados Coast Guard Force. 

While at the armory, we were treated to a cup of Sorrel. Sorrel is consumed as part of a Christmas tradition in Barbados although you can drink it all year round. Bajans love to drink sorrel as it is said to kill certain types of cancer cells. 

My mom and me outside the Armory. 
Our tour guide, Peter, took us into the armory museum. Where he literally had about 30 of us sitting on cannons while he lectured us. I am all for a good lecture, but his talk put 3/4 of the group to sleep. I can attest to the fact .........that YES it is possible to sleep on top of cannon.
Peter and I in front of the Caribbean Princess. 

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