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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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 23, 2020

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2008. Our neighbor dropped off Dandy Dog Dakota. A huge handmade stuffed animal for Mattie. Literally the dog was as tall as Mattie. Mattie got a kick out of this and posed on the couch to do a size comparison. The number of gifts and toys Mattie received over the course of his treatment was incredible. I am not kidding when I tell you that if I put everything together, we could have filled up a toy store. When Mattie died it was hard to know what to do with all the items we received. It took me five years to process through everything. But nothing was thrown out. Many of the gifts and toys were donated so other children could enjoy them. 

Quote of the day: Today's coronavirus update from Johns Hopkins

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus: 5,699,804
  • number of people who died from the virus: 176,765

Peter sent me this photo today! Sunny was on the National Mall looking directly at the Washington Monument. 
Just like every other morning here, I started at 6:15am. After breakfast this morning, I did several cognitive exercises with my dad. I try to do these with him first thing in the morning, when his brain is freshest and more receptive to this type of skill building. I notice his caregivers shy away from these exercises. Most likely because they are HARD. It involves being able to teach concepts and to be persistent and provide your student guidance to have a successful experience. 

Today's exercise involved looking at these five faces. With the goal of remembering and matching each face to the appropriate name. In order to do this, most of us naturally code in our head. Meaning for example, with Tamara on the upper left of this photo, we see her holding a telephone. So we might code her in our head as Tamara Telephone. 
This exercise proved challenging for my dad, but he did eventually get it. I am quite confident that the more he exercises his brain, the better he will be making connections and finding strategies to remember people and things around him. Of course I am a realist and understand that it takes discipline to do what I do each day with my dad.

He did his 4th Numbricks puzzle today and I could see he now understands the rules and the concept behind the number game. Today's puzzle went much faster than the first three.   
After cognitive exercises, my dad worked with his caregiver on all his physical and occupational therapy in-home exercises. I went out again with my mom and we walked about four miles together. In intense heat, but we needed the change of scenery and non-stop caregiving. Along our walk, I came across this wonderful zucchini plant!!! Beautiful yellow flowers, not to mention two zucchinis on the vine. 
Hibiscus are everywhere! My parents live in a beautiful neighborhood, surrounded by gloriously mature trees and plants. I can't tell you how many wonderful birds are all around us! Including green parrots. 
I snapped a photo of this orange tree, because I can't believe the owner of this house doesn't pluck these wonderful fruits!
The neighborhood is very close to NBC, Universal, and Warner Bros studios. This person has a prop box that once belonged to the Tonight Show in his driveway! It caught my attention because it says... Santa and the Moon. 
We went out to lunch today and my mom snapped this photo. Going out to lunch is not a nicety. For my dad's existence it is a necessity. I am aware of the fact that we could catch COVID, but life is about risks. COVID is a possibility, but starvation and death are a certainty if my dad doesn't eat. When I arrived in Los Angeles for my first visit after my dad's hospitalization (on June 9th), I found my dad was emaciated and refusing to eat ANYTHING at home. He had lost thirty pounds during lock down from COVID. On June 9th, I got my dad out of his recliner (which he hadn't moved from literally in a week... in the same clothes for a week, wouldn't take his shoes off, and never left the chair to toilet), changed all his clothes, and got him in the car. It was his first day in months leaving the house to go to a restaurant. On that day he ate! Since June 9th, he has therefore been going out to eat for lunch every day. It is his BIG meal of the day. I truly believe that better and consistent nutrition are helping him to regain strength, and therefore comply with the challenges his physical and occupational therapists give him. 

My dad has always been an exacting person, but now with dementia, he becomes insistent. He has no insight on how confusing it is to be the recipient of his demands. As I remind him I am not an octopus! I only have two hands. When we go out to eat, I have three ziplocs in my purse. One has individual jams, another has chocolate chip cookies, and the third has packets of sugar. My dad loves eating bread, but we have cut him off of ALL dairy. So though he likes butter, it doesn't like him. Therefore, I bring the jams as he uses them in lieu of butter. As for the sugar, now with COVID, wait staff don't always bring out sugar. My dad gets upset and impatient, so now I cut that reaction off at the pass and travel with my own sugar. Similarly he used to love having ice cream after a meal. But we have linked his dairy consumption to his irritable bowel syndrome problems. Since he loves chocolate chip cookies and most restaurants don't serve that for dessert, out comes my ziploc of cookies. I feel like Mary Poppins. 

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