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

September 25, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2005. Mattie was three years old and doing one of the things he loved doing.... building! Mattie gravitated to Legos very early in life and I can't tell you how many things he and Peter built together over those 7 years. When Mattie was alive, our home was filled with boxes, blocks, toy cars, trains, and you name it! It was a very hard adjustment going from such life and activity, to nothing. In fact, it took Peter and me years to adjust to this unexpected change in our home environment. So much so that it wasn't until around year five, after Mattie's death, that I began evaluating things around us at home and either donated them or packed them up. 

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

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus: 7,020,967
  • number of people who died from the virus: 203,481

I took Sunny for a walk today in the city. Can you see why I would prefer going to Roosevelt Island? On the Island, I escape the reality that is all around us. The graffiti, homelessness, and crime around us have sky rocketed. It is a very sad commentary given the beautiful area of the city that we reside in. This encampment is practically on the campus of the George Washington University.

In the age of COVID, it is very evident how unsanitary our streets are. Don't get me wrong, I have great compassion for those who are homeless, but I think supplying tents is not the answer. The current solution isn't working, and at the end of the day, we are not helping residents who are homeless or those of us who pay taxes to live here. 
Washington, DC has beautiful parks. But every park is filled with tents and homeless residents. The mental health needs of these individuals are off the charts and one would hope for better in our nation's Capital. 

Meanwhile, I spent a good portion of the day tuned into educational videos and trainings in order to renew my mental health license this December. I will be doing this for the next couple of months. Between conferences being canceled and my two trips to Los Angeles, I lost focus on my continuing education requirements. 

One of the trainings today involved counseling clients who are suicidal. It was informative and certainly interesting to hear about the tasks therapists should be cognizant of when working with clients. Such as the importance of developing rapport and working collaboratively with the client. Within the training series, was an interview with the therapist and a client who was actually suicidal. The interview was supposed to model for the audience the tasks and content the therapist had just lectured us on. Needless to say, I found I learned a lot, and I reminded myself once again, that I do love learning and exploring new ways of thinking.

So that was a plus, but on the other hand, I couldn't help but put myself in the client's shoes. The woman being interviewed had recently got divorced because her husband abandoned her and their 6-year-old daughter. In the process he spent down whatever money they had, so the family was bankrupt. The therapist did a good job building rapport with this woman, but then he seemed to forget his human side and jumped into what I call "the researcher/educator." He told her that it is known that people can be very down and depressed, but then all of a sudden BOUNCE out of it. I listened to him and I wanted to throttle him, so I think he should consider himself lucky that this client was kinder than me. She did however correct him and told him that made NO sense. 

Why am I writing about this? I guess it reminded me of my experience with grief and loss. After Mattie died, every one wanted me to go for counseling. One friend basically said I needed to be "fixed." I tried ONE support group session, and I never went back again. In fact, one negative experience can cloud the whole process. If we feel that others don't understand us, or we are being judged, or compared.... then shut down happens. I do think understanding the research on loss, grief, depression (pick a topic) is crucial for effective therapy, but I also know that in some cases you only get ONE chance to build a connection with someone who needs help. A connection can't be made when you lecture someone on the research or how other's with similar circumstances typically feel or think. 

I have my education, I do my continuing education, but I also have my life experiences. Experiencing childhood cancer with Mattie and then his death, have given me personal insights into trauma, loss, and depression that in many cases far exceed what someone could possibly infuse into my head. What would have happened years ago if the first grief support group session I attended was helpful? I don't know, I will never know. But to this day, I can still remember that horrible session, and the anger I felt about it. Basically the tasks this therapist talked about today in the training.... rapport and collaboration, were not felt in that grief session back in 2009, and therefore myself, Peter, and the other parents in the group NEVER returned. 

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