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

April 20, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2005. We took Mattie to Butler's Orchard in Maryland for their Bunnyland event. The event gave kids the opportunity to hunt for Easter eggs, take a hay wagon ride, and even walk through their mazes! Mattie loved the experience and I am so happy Peter snapped this photo of us near a large bale of hay. 

Quote of the day: I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life. ~ Miles Davis

I got up early today so that I could walk Sunny before we went out to the Christmas Tree Shops in Waldorf, MD to purchase items for our raffle. 

Along my Sunny walk today, I spotted these wonderful turtles on a log, basking in the sunshine. To me that was worth a photo. 
While Sunny paused to sniff around, I spotted something red on a bush. As I moved closer, I could see it was a lady bug. Something Mattie used to love. 
Then we drove about 50 minutes (each way) to shop at this store. Why do we drive this distance? Because for the amount of items we need to buy to fill our Foundation raffle baskets. This store is economical and has great variety. I was introduced to this store when I lived in Boston, and I absolutely love it!

But as tonight's quote focuses on creating, I would say it takes creativity to purchase, stage, and sell raffle baskets. Literally when we go into the Christmas Tree Shops, we try to envision items that should go in each of our raffle baskets. We typically pick a theme for each basket and Peter and I then go through each aisle of the store, combing through what we think will work. It is quite a system, but we have perfected it after 10 years. 

See what I mean??? A whole shopping cart full of stuff! If I did not make this journey with Peter, then we would be running to several different stores in order to purchase the same items. It would be a waste of our time and certainly it would be more costly. 

April 19, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2007. Mattie was five years old and doing something he loved.... which was creating things from cardboard boxes. Mattie's imagination was endless, but I would have to say his favorite boxed structure to create was most likely a car or some type of vehicle. 

Quote of the day: Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ~ Ray Bradbury 

Did you know that globally there are more honey bees than other types of bee and pollinating insects? The honey bee is the world's most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees. I have to say I did not know that! But I am aware of people all around me becoming beekeepers, yet I really did not give much thought to why. Probably because I associate bees with being stung. Yet that isn't the goal of the honey bee. Even Mattie's lower school has hives on campus and ironically when I dropped off toiletry items at Mattie's hospital yesterday, one of the psychosocial staff was telling me she too is a beekeeper. 

Then I received an article from my mom today about the hives that survived the Notre Dame fire. At first I wasn't getting the connection between an 850 year old Catholic church and bees. They don't seem to go together. 
Well that is until I saw this photo of the hives located on top of the Cathedral. 

Each of these hives has 60,000 bees! Amazing no? Yet given the damage to the Cathedral it really is a miracle that the hives weren't touched or damaged. They weren't in the pathway of the fire, otherwise the wooden hives would have burned and the wax inside the hives would have glued the bees together. Unlike humans though, bees aren't affected the same way by smoke. In fact, beekeepers use cold smoke when they need to work near the hives. As smoke inspires bees to gorge on their honey. 

But bees aren't impacted by smoke because they don't have lungs. Rather, bees breathe through a complex structure of tracheae and air sacs. Oxygen is vacuumed into the body through openings on each segment of their bodies. They pull air in, then close their outermost vents and force the air into little tubules that get smaller and smaller until they reach the cells they need to.

As we are approaching Easter, the bees surviving the fire of Notre Dame provides us with a symbolic message, of the importance of renewal and second chances. 

The bees living on Notre Dame's roof survived the fire:

April 18, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on Easter of 2004. That day we took Mattie to Roosevelt Island. A favorite weekend adventure of Mattie's! As you can see Mattie found two dandelions, as he was into collecting things! You should have seen his piles at home of acorns, rocks, sticks, pine cones and shells! 

I think this photo is darling and captures one of Mattie's favorite modes of transportation.. on Peter's back. 

Quote of the day: There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.Linda Grayson

I realize that we are in April, but since Mattie died, holidays seem to come and go. I really do not even pay attention to them, unless someone truly calls them out and brings it to my attention. Yesterday I received an email from our child life specialist, Adina, at Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD) asking what I thought about making Easter treats for the children, using our candy supply at the Hospital. I like her initiative and her creativity! Check out these cute carrots Adina made! I know Mattie would have gotten a kick out of them.

It was Adina's email yesterday that helped me connect the dots that this weekend is Easter. I suppose I knew this on some level, but do not want to focus on it. Nonetheless, while I continue to try to figure out life without Mattie, there are children in the hospital unable to be at home for the holidays because they are ill. Which is why I am so glad our candy can go to good use.

Here is the message that went out on Facebook today.........

A message from the International Center for Limb Lengthening at Children's Hospital at Sinai:

The Easter Bunny visited our clinic today! Our pediatric patients enjoyed lots of Easter goodies, and there were special Passover treats too. Many thanks to Easter for Eli (in memory of Elias Garrett) for the Easter baskets and Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation (in memory of Matthew Joseph Brown) for the Easter candy that brought such big smiles to our kids. If you will be celebrating Easter or Passover this weekend, all of us at the International Center for Limb Lengthening wish you a happy holiday!

To see some of the great photos, go to:

April 17, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2006. Mattie was four years old and hamming it up with me on our deck. I was outside watering our plants and Mattie came out with me. He wasn't watering but instead was jumping in front of the hose to get doused with water. So if you look closely you will see Mattie's hair was all wet. All I know is life with Mattie was never boring!

Quote of the day: Blessed are they who hold lively conversations with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called dentists.Ann Landers

I think Ann Landers' quote is brilliant. It describes my experience at the dentist today to a T. Obviously I haven't had enough done to my body in the last month (with scans and surgery), I had to go to the dentist today for my first ever partial crown. I had no idea what this would entail truly, other than I wanted to address this tooth issue before it became a full blown crown. Which I did!

My dentist office is in DC and it is VERY high tech. I am telling you there is a gadget for everything, and they make standard of care look very insufficient. Going to them entails NO more scraping of teeth or bite wing xrays. Instead there is the use of technology that blasts plaque off of teeth and the use of a small camera that goes into your mouth for dental xrays. For a person like myself, who typically doesn't like high tech things, I freely admit that technology in the case of dentistry is necessary. It makes the experience so much better.

Now putting that aside, my dental assistant today was very pregnant. She is in her 40s and told me she had a miscarriage last year. Mind you I don't know her, this is the first time I met her. But I got a mouthful, including that her pregnancy is producing carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. I related to the pains and issues she is having, because I had them all with Mattie. After listening to her, I told her I understood how important it was for her to have this baby, given that I lost my only child to cancer. She did remark on this, but ironically when I was sitting in the chair getting drilled on, there was a lot of baby talk in the room. Not directed to me, but among the dentist (whose wife is expecting a baby next week), and the two dental assistants. Talk about a captive audience on a subject matter that is not exactly pleasant for me to hear about! But as Ann Landers' said.... I was helplessly mute! 

While in the chair, I fortunately could look out the window, and I watched the clouds go by, while I was there for 2.5 hours. In the midst of the dental procedure, my pregnant dental assistant was training another assistant to take over her role when she goes on maternity leave. So in essence I got to learn a lot while listening to the tutorial going on in my mouth. More than I bargained for today, because I thought I was there to solely focus on my teeth. But with all these distractions, it kept my mind busy. 

April 16, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - Mattie died 499 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2006. I took Mattie to the Reston Zoo and he was interested in going on a pony ride by himself. Mattie was a cautious fellow, and had a healthy level of respect for things larger than himself. Most of Mattie's previous pony rides were with Peter by his side. But by age four, Mattie felt confident enough to try it on his own. Don't you just love the big smile?!

Quote of the day: If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. ~ Michelangelo

My day started bright and early as I had to drive Sunny to Chantilly, VA for his grooming. We try to get Sunny groomed every month. It helps manage his smell and double coat of fur. I have followed Sunny's groomer all over town, because at one time she worked in Alexandria, and was geographically much closer to me. But now it takes 40 minutes of driving each way to get to her. However, she appreciates Sunny and does a great job with him, so to me it is worth the drive.  

No matter where I am, I have the Mattie Miracle Walk on the mind. Pulling off the Walk each year is a feat and it is also stressful. It's stressful because the Walk is our largest fundraiser of the year. Therefore, if we don't meet our targeted goal, it is hard for us to run our programs.  It is ironic, when I first started with the Foundation in 2009, I was timid about asking people for money. Now, it is second nature for me, especially since I am passionate about why we need the funds..... to support our child life specialist, to stock our snack and item carts, to fund our psychosocial research grants, and the list goes on!

While working today, I saw an email come in about Jay Leno performing at the Kennedy Center next week. I literally stopped what I was doing to purchase tickets! I find without forced breaks, I will always be working and I truly need a change of pace throughout these long Walk preparation weeks! Needless to say, I am happy to report that we have 21 corporate Walk sponsors this year and in total our sponsors have generated over $45,000 toward our $100,000 fundraising goal.  

Come check out our Walk Website and join us as we celebrate our 10th Anniversary on May 19th:

April 15, 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday, April 15, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2004. Mattie was two years old and that weekend we took him to the Reston Zoo. A place Mattie LOVED! It is a zoo that really appeals to toddlers and preschoolers, because it is small and hands on. In this photo, I wasn't sure who to focus on first.... Peter or Mattie. Both were intrigued with the animals but apparently not the same animals or in the same pens! 

Quote of the day: Patience is a conquering virtue. ~ Geoffrey Chaucer

After six hours of gardening yesterday, I am all aches and pains. So much so, that I did not want to move from a heating pad today. But of course did! Ironically my lifetime friend, Karen, sent me an article yesterday entitled, A new study stays gardening is just as good as going to the gym. I am living proof of what this article is talking about as I feel less achy coming from the gym than after gardening! The article discusses a topic called "leisure time physical activity." Meaning studies are showing doing everyday things, like gardening, are considered exercise and do have similar health benefits like doing planned exercise. Of course with Sunny, walking daily is our biggest exercise. He is our daily gym.

Anyway, given how I was feeling, taking the car in to be serviced today wasn't really high on my list. But I did it! Six hours later, I got the car back. But that wasn't without constant calls to the service department from 2-3pm. I was patient for just so long, and then I felt like I had to manage them and their timing. I wish I could say today was an isolated incident, but it wasn't. 

Since I knew I was going to be away from home for HOURS, I brought my computer and all my files with me. I was literally a mobile office today. Nonetheless, I got a lot done, such as updating our website and working on the layout and content for our April newsletter!  

A New Study Says Gardening Is Just as Good as Going to the Gym:

April 14, 2019

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2003. Mattie was a year old and not walking independently yet. However, he loved holding onto me, Peter, or a piece of furniture to toddle around the room. 
The coffee table behind Mattie, in a way unofficially measured his growth. As Mattie got older, I would snap photos of him by this same table. Mattie used to get a kick out of seeing photos of his stages of growth. 

Quote of the day: Like people, plants respond to extra attention.H. Peter Loewer

Today was an incredibly LONG day! Peter started at 6:30am. Not my hour! Nonetheless, we both put in a full day of cleaning our outdoor spaces and then planting. I am not sure which is worse, the clean up from winter, or the planting itself. Before I began in our garden, I first had to take Sunny for a long walk. We passed some beautiful trees today. Check out this crab apple tree near us. There are so many blossoms all around it that the grass underneath it looks covered in snow. 
The park near our complex is lined with crab apple trees. They are absolutely stunning and so fragrant. 
The dogwoods are also in bloom!
Sunny and Indie spent the majority of their day outside with us on the deck. I am happy to say that the majority of planting is now complete. There is more to do, but not to this magnitude! 
My window of herbs!
I can't tell you what a mess we picked up today! Next on the list is painting the deck. We do both of these things each spring. Sometimes I do not know where we will get the energy to do this, but once it is done we are so happy!
The view from Mattie's room. Mattie used to love his bird's eye view.