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

August 2, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

Friday, August 2, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on August 6, 2008. This was Mattie's first week within the PICU, receiving chemotherapy. In fact, this was taken the day before his first chemo! That day, Mattie's "girlfriend," Charlotte came to visit. Visiting the PICU is intimidating, but that never STOPPED Charlotte all 14 months of our journey. That day, Mattie's child life specialist, Linda, came up with a fun activity for the kids to do right in the middle of the Hospital hallway, outside Mattie's room. The painting helped to unite these two friends and distract them both from the fact that they were in the Hospital. Instead, they focused on the activity and doing something 'normal' in a very abnormal setting. I learned a lot about the power of friendship, through Charlotte and Mattie! 

Quote of the day: The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity. ~ Ulysses S. Grant

Today we headed to Revere Beach to look at the sand castle competition. The actual competition was last weekend, but the castles remain up for viewers! It is a fun activity to experience, because every one of us at one time or another has tried to build with sand. 

More than one million people enjoyed the International Sandsculpting Festival held last weekend on Revere Beach. The theme for the 2019 International Sand Sculpting Festival was the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.

Check out news coverage of the sand castles:

The Apollo 11 center piece sand sculpture was lit up on Friday night, July 26, with a first-class pyrotechnics show to highlight the sculpting and kick off the weekend’s activities.
I would have to say that the Apollo 11 creation was my favorite. Of course Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were all prominently featured next to the moon made out of sand. It was an incredible sculpture, that included the moon, the rocket, and lunar module. In addition off to the side was a sculpted family sitting on a couch watching the TV (of the landing)!

In fact, 15 artists came from around the globe – including France, Belgium, India, Russia and Canada – to compete. 

Also carved into the sand was Neil Armstrong's famous statement.... One small step....
This was entitled, Deep Sleep Diving, by Fergus Mulvany (from Ireland). 
This is entitled, the Nest by Dan Belcher (from Missouri). It is a very intricate piece, because inside the nest were two people.  
This piece is entitled, Trance. 
This piece is entitled, Dream about Flight by Aleksei Rybak (from Russia). 
This piece is entitled, Shellter by Jonathan Bouchard (from Canada). What you might not be able to see is that there is a sand person taking shelter under this big shell. 
This piece was entitled, Mama look, I found my teddy!
This piece is entitled, Eye of the Tiger by Sue McGrew (from Washington State). Notice that half of the face is a tiger and the other half a person. 
This piece is entitled, Horsepower. 
This is what it looks like in total. Sand castles in a row, featured behind gates so no one jumps on them and destroys them. I learned that there are only 100 professional sand sculptures in the entire world and all these artists know each other. 
After touring the sand sculptures, we drove to Rockport, MA so we could eat by the water. You can get the best lobster in New England, and it was a treat to have a lobster roll. 
This is the sign in front of the restaurant. It literally reminded me of a scene out of Murder She Wrote. I was expecting to see Jessica Fletcher riding by on a bicycle!
My second Sunny walk of the day took me passed a house filled with sunflowers. Naturally I had to stop and snap a photo! 

August 1, 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken on August 1, 2008. This was Mattie's first admission to the Hospital, in order to start chemotherapy. We were admitted through the outpatient clinic. Everything at that point in time was novel, overwhelming, and we moved about with great uncertainty. However, the two women you see at this table (Jessie and Jenny), became instrumental on our journey. They were Mattie's art therapists and I can safely say we wouldn't have survived day to day without their support. 

Quote of the day: We should always pray for help, but we should always listen for inspiration and impression to proceed in ways different from those we may have thought of. John H. Groberg

Today we ventured to Brookdale Farm in Hollis, New Hampshire. It is about an hour car trip each way. We went to go blueberry picking. I have never done this before, and I know that Mattie would have absolutely loved it! 
Rows and rows of blueberries! The bushes are my height, making it very easy to pick blueberries. We also lucked out today, since it was cooler than it has been. 
A close up of the beautiful berries!
Believe it or not, we picked six boxes of berries!
Farmer Peter!
After berry picking, we went to lunch and antiquing. When we returned to the house, I needed to walk Sunny. Typically I walk Sunny of pavement because I don't want to get lost. However, toward the end of our walk, Sunny wanted to go into the woods. I figured okay, we are almost back to the house, so how bad could it be? Well today I found out!

It was bad. I got LOST in the woods for over an hour! I was very upset. I tried to call Peter, but honestly couldn't even describe where I was, because every path looked the same. In addition, I pulled out my google maps on my phone, but it was NO HELP! Thankfully along my journey, I met Steve. He was a man in his 70's. He told me he lived in Winchester, MA for 50 years and knows the woods like the back of his hand. He was a former educator and is now dealing with Parkinson's disease. Thanks to Steve, I returned to civilization. But I learned my lesson, no walking in the woods for me!!!

July 31, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2008. Mattie's cousins were visiting and I think what is noteworthy is the nature of children. We were in a two by four of a hospital room. There was stuff all around us, a large IV pole, all sorts of unit noise, people coming in and out of the our room, and they managed this beautifully. They were focused on engaging and interacting with Mattie. We had many visits from people through our 14 month journey, and truly everyone handled coming into the PICU differently. Though my focus was first and foremost on Mattie, in many ways I also tried to help those visiting us, as being in a PICU was upsetting and overwhelming to many. 

Quote of the day: Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings. ~ Elie Weisel

Today we went to visit the Eustis Estate in Milton, MA. I have to say this was a very different sort of historical house experience. As the visit is all self guided. In addition, visitors are welcome to sit on the furniture and truly visit, as if you were coming to a friend's home. Within each room, was a large iPad, which provided visitors information in a visually pleasing way. 

On November 7, 1876, twenty-five-year-old Edith Hemenway married twenty-six-year-old W.E.C. Eustis. A year later Edith gave birth to twin sons Frederic and Augustus. Shortly thereafter the couple began to build their family home on land given to them by Edith’s mother, Mary Hemenway. W.E.C. and Edith had a daughter, Mary, in 1885. The family lived on the estate for the rest of their lives.

Mrs. Hemenway owned the large estate to the south of this site, and W.E.C. Eustis’s family lived to the north. The Eustis mansion was the first building constructed on the property in 1878, and was designed by preeminent architect William Ralph Emerson. The property originally comprised more than 250 acres of fields, woodland, and gardens, with four original buildings built between 1878 and 1902. Two subsequent Eustis generations lived at the estate until it was sold to Historic New England in 2012.

Designed by renowned Boston architect William Ralph Emerson and built in 1878, the Eustis Estate sits on eighty acres of picturesque landscape at the base of the Blue Hills. Full of stunning, intact architectural and design details, the Eustis Estate is a historic site unlike any other in the Greater Boston area.

When the Eustis Estate was built in the late 1870s, the “living hall” was a relatively new concept. Architect William Ralph Emerson was a key proponent of this large and inviting space. He included the design feature in nearly all of his house plans. The living hall was more than just a space that connected rooms; it was a vital part of the house and a central part of daily life.

The living hall was also among the first impressions visitors had of the young couple’s home. Guests entered through the vestibule, where they encountered a pair of dramatic stained glass windows, colorful yet obscuring the view into the hall beyond. Once inside the hall, visitors were impressed by the imposing fireplace of molded terra cotta set behind an arch covered in gold leaf. The richly carved staircase soaring three stories anchored the other side of the room.

The grand fireplace in the hall is made of both terra cotta and wood. The surround is made of molded terra cotta and reads “In Sun and Rain God’s Blessing Comes.” The floor tiles are also terra cotta. Both were manufactured by the Lewis & Lane firm in South Boston.

The large parlor was the main living room for the Eustis family and a space to receive and entertain guests. The intricately carved fireplace with windows on either side is the focal point of the room. The hearth is outfitted with a radiant heating system in the floor that warms the tiles from below. When Historic New England acquired the property, the walls of this room were white. Photographic evidence and microscopic paint analysis led to the discovery of the dramatic cloud-like wall treatment one layer beneath. A surprising restoration technique brought the walls back to their original appearance.

A tiny writing desk tucked into the corner of the fireplace alcove appears to be a cabinet. It opens, however, to reveal a fabric desktop with small cubbies to store writing materials and correspondence.

The Eustis family ate all their meals in this room. Dinner required formal dress and consisted of defined courses, which was typical for wealthy families. The setting was more relaxed during breakfast and lunch. The food was served by a waitress, a term that refers to female servants who served meals in the dining room.
The library, perched over the porte cochère, was the private space of W.E.C. Eustis. It housed a large collection of books and souvenirs from his travels and served as his home office, where he managed his personal affairs.

W.E.C. graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1871. He completed a second degree in science two years later. While in school, Eustis was a member of the Harvard Nines baseball team and played a total of 101 games during his time there.

Peter and me in front of the Estate! A beautifully large beech tree greets you at the entrance. 
Peter with his parents. 
On the second floor of the house, they had a special collection. This was called, 'From One Seed." This one caught my attention, as the metal frame looked like an apple and the person in the center is like a seed. I could see a biblical interpretation too, such as Adam and Eve. 
Not that I think this is ecstatically pleasing. It is more intriguing! As all the colorful strips are newspaper plastic covers! 
The large chair situated along the staircase to the third floor was known to the Eustis family as the “twin seat.” This unusual piece of furniture was commissioned by Mary Hemenway, Edith Eustis’s mother, as a comfortable place for her to read to her grandchildren. Although it was originally located in Mary Hemenway’s Beacon Hill mansion, it was brought here after her death in 1894.
The tiles surrounding the fireplace of the day nursery feature nursery rhymes and fairy tales, a common theme for children’s rooms in the 19th century. Their origin is a bit of a mystery because there is no signature on the front and no extra tiles were found to examine the back for a maker’s mark. It is likely that they are hand-painted (rather than mass produced transfer-ware like the night nursery tiles) and could have been done locally or even by a family member.

For lunch we went to the Tavern at Granite Links. In Quincy, MA there is a lovely golf course that has a tavern overlooking the city. The docent at the Estate told us about this restaurant, and it was a great find. 

July 30, 2019

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 -- Mattie died 514 weeks ago today.

Tonight's photo is a continuation of last night's blog posting. It was taken on August 30, 2008. Mattie's cousins were visiting from Boston. We were fortunate to be able to leave the Hospital unit because of our wonderful nurse, Miki. Miki set a timer on her watch, and periodically came down three floors and came outside to check on Mattie. Amazing no?! She understood the health benefits of having positive social connections and diversions. Will always be grateful to Mattie's nurses, who really know that childhood cancer is NOT just about the medicine! 

Quote of the day: I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. ~ Og Mandino

I had heard about the traveling exhibit dedicated to Downton Abbey. Today we got to see it. Clearly the exhibit is based on the beloved television show, which transports you to post-Edwardian England, where the characters and the iconic house come to life. Visitors are immersed in the fascinating social history, culture, and some of the most memorable moments from the show’s six-season run.

Here is a short video clip on the exhibit. If you are a Downton Abbey fan, it is worth a visit. Today, I felt like I was surrounded by people of all ages who were affectionatos. I can't think of a TV show that united more people recently like Downton. 

A video clip:

I am not sure why I am so surprised by this, but there were many props on display at the exhibit. Such as letters! I knew characters in the show were writing or reading letters, but it never dawned on me that the letters would look SO SO real, including a stamp! 

This letter started the exhibit. Just like it started the very first episode of the show. The letter conveys to the family that the heir to the estate died on the Titanic. 

With the exhibit were wonderful photos, props, and even live videos, in which the characters were interacting with visitors. 
Just like with the actual show, history from that actual time period was integrated into this exhibit. 

This placard said, "A lady's maid was an upper servant, one who worked both in the family's and the servants' quarters. They were usually skilled seamstresses, could occasionally speak conversational French, knew how to do complicated fashionable hairstyles and were, on the whole, ambitious. To be a lady's maid meant traveling with your mistress, seeing different houses, if not different countries, which gave you a greater scope of experience than the other servants. But the hours were long - from first thing in the morning to last at night - and while a mistress might confide in her lady's maid, it was rarely a two way street."

Each of the characters from the show was highlighted, along with a prop significant to the person. This was Mrs. Hughes, housekeeper of Downton.
Lady Mary. The oldest daughter of Lord Grantham. 
Lady Edith, the second daughter of Lord Grantham.

Loved the model of Mrs. Patmore's kitchen. The exhibit had an interactive game in which you were asked interview questions. You were given three options to each question and had to respond. After all your responses, the computer would then tell you what position in the house you would be hired for. I apparently would be hired as the "cook." 
The servant bells!
A model of the dining room set. 
Jewelry created for the characters. They were stunning. 
Head gear! I learned that a woman could not wear a tiara at dinner, unless she was married! In fact, the exhibit did a good job at highlighting traditions and etiquette. 
Lots of beautiful costumes were on display. Many of the dresses belonged to Lady Mary and Lady Edith. We also learned that these women (or women like them) may have changed outfits at least 8 times in one day! An outfit for every activity. 

In the afternoon, we visited Peter's elementary school. Which also happened to be the school Barbara (Peter's mom) taught at for 40 years. One of Barbara's students dedicated a classroom in her honor. So I snapped a photo of Peter with Barbara, in her classroom. 

This evening we went to Chris (Peter's brother) and Lisa home for dinner. Lisa baked me a special chocolate/lemon curd cake for my birthday! So the celebrations continue. The cake was extraordinary, without being heavy. It was a labor of love, but truly appreciated.