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 27, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008, Mattie's last birthday before he was diagnosed with cancer. I grew up on Carvel ice cream cakes, and I passed that tradition along to Mattie. Well actually Mattie always had two birthday cakes.... the ice cream cake was typically just among the three of us. Mattie would get a piece of ice cream cake probably for a week, until the cake was gone. As you can see he loved it. Well at least the vanilla part of it. Typically what I would do was cut out the chocolate part, and I would eat it, and I would give Mattie my vanilla part. It worked out perfectly for each of us. 

Quote of the day: One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. William Shakespeare

This is memorial tree #4

Between doing donor acknowledgment letters and working on research items for the Foundation, we went to visit Mattie's trees and walk Sunny. I am happy we got outside. I am sorry we missed seeing the blossoms on the flowers around Mattie's trees. We plant bulbs every Fall, and I know the children at school love seeing these signs of spring around the tree.  
A close up of Mattie's White Swamp Oak. Can you see the cupcake ornaments on the tree from his birthday? There are all sorts of wonderful ornaments on the tree..... butterflies, cars, legos, and hearts. 
This is memorial tree #3

This was Mattie's third tree that was planted, as the previous two did not seem to make it. Or so we thought! This Yellowwood tree is right next to the oak tree. So we are decorating two trees now. I love the donut ornaments I found for this tree, and today I tied a ribbon around the tree. Mattie LOVED donuts and practically lived on them when he was in the hospital. So it makes a perfect symbol and reminder on his tree. 
I took this photo because it shows Mattie's grove. The two trees you see closest to the pavement are Mattie's. Then the original memorial tree location is behind the red roof. Currently tree #2 (tree #1 died completely) is there and appears to be thriving. So Mattie's grove is basically in a vertical line and the trees surround the playground, a place Mattie loved.
On our way out of Mattie's school, Peter stopped the car. I couldn't get over this site. Apparently the school has eco-goats now living on campus. They naturally eat invasive plants and other problem vegetation. That was a new one for me, and I can only imagine Mattie's reaction if he saw them!

April 26, 2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2007. Mattie was five years old and doing something he loved..... creating with found objects from around our home. Mattie took the FedEx box we received and attached some paper towel rolls to the end of it and as you can see created a power pack. Maybe to be used in space! 

Quote of the day: You can't stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh. ~ Jay Leno

It was a rainy afternoon, with thunder. Sunny doesn't mind the rain, but he gets very nervous when it thunders. He took for cover and went under the dining room table. 

My worry when I walk him on rainy days is that there could be thunder. I have experienced this once before, and Sunny literally panicked and made every attempt possible to get into whatever building is around him. Which doesn't always work out well, since some buildings don't allow dogs. 
From the dining table, Sunny then migrated to a closet! This doesn't look like a happy face, does it?

Meanwhile, tonight we are taking a break and going to see Jay Leno. Typically I try not to schedule things as we get closer to the Foundation's Walk, but I figured we both needed a change of pace. 

For those of you interested, take a look at Jay Leno's bio.......

Acclaimed TV late night show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, much-in-demand corporate speaker, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist…it’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.”

Jay Leno’s late night television ratings domination included more than two decades of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, winning every consecutive quarter of his hosting over the past 19 years. After resuming hosting the 11:35 p.m. program following its one-time interruption, he made it once again the consistent and uninterrupted ratings leader for late night, once again leading all of the ensuing quarters handily, under the supervision throughout of executive producer Debbie Vickers. He has been honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy® for “Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series.” The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has also taken home the trophy for “Favorite Late Night Show” in the annual TV Guide Awards determined by voting viewers, and he was recently installed in the Television Academy's Broadcast Hall of Fame.

As if night-time dominance were not enough, Leno has also succeeded in the newest entertainment arena as producer and star of Jay Leno’s Garage. The NBC creation, which is viewed on CNBC, gained an international following on the web, not to mention an Emmy Award® and two additional nominations for "Outstanding Special Class–Short-Format Nonfiction Programs." Leno, himself, is the recipient of the People’s Choice Award and other honors, including the Harris Poll selection as most popular star on television. Other personal highlights include his induction into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame, his 2014 reception of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Hasty Pudding Award at Harvard University, an honor whose sole prior comedy/talk host recipient was Johnny Carson and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater Emerson College. Like Mr. Carson, Groucho Marx, and an elite group of entertainment figures, he has been invited to have his papers installed in the Library of Congress.  He also received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame (asking that it be placed in front of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum since that is where he was arrested for vagrancy when he first arrived in Hollywood.)  He also has set several land speed records and became the first person to drive the pace car of all major NASCAR events.

April 25, 2019

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2007. Mattie was 5 years old and he absolutely loved our floor to ceiling windows. He used the glass to do all sorts of decorating. You can see Mattie loved the birthday gift he received, because it allowed him to create all sorts of window creatures. 

Quote of the day: The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

In many ways, I wish there were things I could actively do to make our community healthier. But I have to work within the rules of the law and the processes put into place. Even processes that are ineffective. What am I talking about? Try graffiti and homeless encampments. PERVASIVE issues in the city. 

My days are very full, but I feel I have a responsibility as a citizen to report things that need improvement. The graffiti is bad enough (see this stuff in front of the Kennedy Center), but our streets are being taken over by homeless encampments. It isn't just a matter of our parks and open spaces being occupied by homeless people, but it is also the matter of going to the bathroom in our public spaces and the health concerns that alone brings. You know that rats eat feces! Homeless encampments also produce a lot of garbage, with food containers everywhere, and even fires. As make shift grills are used to cook under tents or in parks. I wrote to the City yet again today, and truly hoping that something results.

Meanwhile, Mattie's school sent me photos of his "grove." We call it a grove because there are now three Mattie trees growing and thriving. 

In 2010, the first oak tree was planted in the location you see here. Mattie loved oak trees, so that was a natural choice for us to select. However, that tree died from some sort of infection and then a Yellowwood Tree was planted. The Yellowwood Tree did not make it more than a year before it showed signs of trouble. 

However, that Yellowwood Tree was never removed. Look at it today, it made a come back.  
After the second tree had issues, we planted a third tree, another Yellowwood tree, in this new location, by the playground. However, this tree was practically cut in half by a terrible spring storm in 2018. It looked like it was dying. However, with time, this tree has also made a come back. 
This is Mattie's 4th tree, which is located not far from the tree above. We asked that a fourth tree be planted because the rest looked like they were dying. This is a White Swamp Oak. 

I am not sure what the moral of the story is, other than like Mattie, these trees don't give up. They persevere and have incredible strength. A great moral message. 

Around the base of the trees, we always plant bulbs in the Fall. So it is wonderful to see them sprout up in the spring and remind us that a new season is upon us. 

April 24, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

 Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in the spring of 2006. Mattie's preschool teacher, Lana, posted this on Facebook the other day. Lana is the teacher in pink. It is hard to believe that in this photo of 14 people, two are no longer with us.... Mattie and his teacher, Margaret. This was a very special preschool experience, so much so that several of the moms from this class remain our friends and are deeply committed to Mattie Miracle. 

Quote of the day: Good veterinarians talk to animals. Great veterinarians hear them talk back. ~ unknown    

Sunny had his annual check up today. He is 7 years old and apparently is considered a "senior." I am not sure what set me off more about this visit, but I would have to say it started with the vet herself. She isn't the vet I typically see, as our vet was on vacation, so I had to work with her colleague. I won't be making that mistake again. I truly thought this woman was a twit, flighty, and let's add judgmental to the list. 

She started with me on Sunny's weight. She wanted to know what I was feeding him. I told her he is a picky eater and therefore I land up giving him a lot of plain people food. She wasn't happy with my decision. So literally she pulled out every treat she had in the office, to show me that Sunny would eat a "healthy" treat. Guess what? My Sunny did not touch a solid thing she gave him, and she tried just about everything. She even pulled out peanut butter. Mind you she never asked me whether Sunny likes peanut butter, which he doesn't! At one point, she popped a treat in his mouth and he spit it right back out at her. Somehow I think Sunny was as irritated with her as I was. Mind you this gracious visit cost $85, without all the vaccines he needed. Her exam was poor in my opinion and fortunately Sunny is healthy, otherwise, I would be having a field day with this woman. 

Meanwhile, in the waiting area of the vet's office, I bumped into a friend I haven't seen in a long time. I wasn't expecting to see her there, as I did not know we went to the same vet. You know when you interact with someone, and you know something isn't right! Well that is how I felt when I saw my friend. I asked her how she was doing and she then told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer at Christmas time. I am still in shock because I never knew she was dealing with any of this. Adult cancer is different from childhood cancer, because as an adult you are able to decide how much information you share with others. I naturally appreciate and respect such decisions, I just feel terrible because I wasn't able to support her as she supported my family when Mattie had cancer. 

Meanwhile another friend of mine sent me a photo of her Forget Me Not flowers in her garden. Mattie Miracle sent seeds to supporters years ago, and most of us never got a plant from the seeds. But this one is thriving and is beautiful! A reminder of Mattie in my friend's garden. 

April 23, 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 -- Mattie died 500 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on Easter of 2006. We took Mattie to Clyde's that day for brunch! It never dawned on me that the Easter rabbit would be there greeting children. As this bunny approached us, Mattie was VERY scared! But I explained to Mattie that this was a friendly bunny, who wanted to wish him a happy Easter. With that, Mattie decided to let the bunny sit next to him for a photo! It was a priceless moment in time. 

Quote of the day: Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. It is not enough to just say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them. Words alone are worthless… Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.” ~ Rick Warren

I had the opportunity today to visit with my friend Margy. Margy was diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer in January of 2018. I will never forget learning this news because days later I went with her to Baltimore to consult with my gyn-oncologist. 

Margy and I met through Facebook, as she was a play therapist at a local hospital and had worked with friends of ours. So we got connected electronically through friends, and we have been friends ever since. 

Relationships grow over time and I think making time for people in our lives is important. Though we do not live around the corner from each other, I try to visit Margy monthly. This month we were celebrating her birthday! With every visit I try to bring something sweet. Today's sweet was an ice cream cake! However, with cancer, one quickly gains perspective and we really celebrated the fact that we can acknowledge another birthday together. 

I know exactly what works, because I had Team Mattie providing me support through Mattie's cancer journey. Friends within the community brought me all sorts of things from chocolate to tea! Which maybe why I am still addicted to these items. I never have a chocolate free day. But it is the many acts of kindness that I received which I will always be grateful for. Though I can't return all that kindness to those who gave it to me, I will never forget what it was like to be a recipient of it. Which is why I try to carry that feeling forward in my daily life. 

April 22, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on Easter of 2009. That was our last Easter with Mattie. Like many other holidays that year, Mattie spent it in the hospital. Two teenage friends from his school came that day to do an Easter egg hunt in the hospital hallways. Of course they had to help Mattie, as he was wheel chair bound. I snapped this photo after the hunt was over, as Mattie was happy to have a full basket of eggs. 

Quote of the day: Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much. ~ Blaise Pascal 

Being that it is the Foundation's Walk season, it feels like I am working non-stop and juggling so many things to make this event happen. I spent a good part of the morning managing our correspondence and acknowledgments with corporate sponsors. Later in the day, I went to check the Mattie Miracle post office box, as donations are constantly coming and I want to be on top of it. 

Over the years, I have gotten to know all the people who work at the post office where our Foundation's mailbox is located. They are absolutely lovely people and go out of their way to deliver the best possible service. I have seen them tape boxes for customers, find the best possible shipping methods for customers, and I know they look out for my post box too. I literally will drive 20-25 minutes to this post office to manage my own personal mail too! Why? Because my local post office in DC is dysfunctional, bordering on rude and incompetent. 

I felt harried by the time I got to the post office. Naturally there was a line, but I didn't mind waiting. When I got up to the counter, there was a customer behind me waiting. I started talking to Darryl (the mail clerk), and don't you know it that the man behind me chimed in. So we had a three way conversation. When the man behind me left the post office, he said to Darryl that he figured I had to be from Washington, DC since I was glamour. His comment made me laugh because I was in my dog walking clothes, looking anything but glamour. 

But this is the second time in less than four days, that I have been standing in a line, and people have joined into my conversation. The last time was at the grocery store, as I told the check out clerk that the store was missing mint jelly for Easter lamb. My mere mention of mint jelly caught the attention of three other women around me! They almost looked thrilled that I spoke up and told the store about the missing jelly. In fact, they came over to my counter to see how the clerk was going to answer me and by the time I was finished I had the manager checking all over the store for mint jelly, with the four of us in tow. I am not sure what my point is to this, other than I do enjoy chatting and connecting with people and I am glad to know that despite the intensity of technology in our lives, there are still others out there not nose down in a phone who also want to connect. 

April 21, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

I do not have an electronic copy of this photo. So today, I literally took a photo of a photo hanging in our hallway. I believe it was taken around Easter of 2005. So Mattie would have been three years old. 

I remember taking Mattie to the mall that particular day to visit with the Easter Bunny. Mattie wasn't into these life sized characters, as he found them a bit scary. Which is why I only have one formal photo of Mattie with Santa and one with the Bunny. But to me this photo is priceless. 

Quote of the day: A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures. ~ James Faust

No Easter is quite the same without our bunny. I decided to post two more photos of Mattie throughout the years.... he loved learning about the meaning of Easter, Easter egg hunts, and celebrating the beauty of spring.

Ten Easters without Mattie seems unthinkable, and yet we, like so many other bereaved parents, live the impossible. Our thoughts are with our supporters and of course with families who lost a child to cancer, as we will forever experience one empty seat at the table.

We were invited out to brunch today. While walking to the restaurant, another restaurant was featuring the Easter bunny! I waved to the bunny and passed him by. But then I asked Peter to go back so I could take a photo with the Bunny. The Bunny happily compiled. I posted it on Facebook and said.... "for Mattie!"
We went out to brunch today with my friend Ann and her family. Her daughter Abbie, was a classmate of Mattie's and I would say it is a disorienting experience sometimes to see and interact with Mattie's classmates. I say this because in my mind Mattie will always be 7 and I expect his classmates to also be frozen in time. Of course that isn't rational, but there is a lot about grief that makes no sense. 

On holidays, Peter and I typically don't know what to do or how to celebrate them. So going out was definitely a diversion today. After brunch we took Sunny for close to a four mile walk. He loved it and for once I think we wore him out!