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 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020 -- Mattie would have turned 18 years old today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2004. My mom snapped this photo of us right before Mattie's second birthday party. That year the party theme was trains. As Mattie was fascinated by locomotion! We do not have many photos of the three of us together, so this one is special to me. 

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

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus: 301,902
  • number of people who died from the virus: 8,291

Our thoughts are with all of you as our nation and world face this health crisis. In many ways, how we are impacted by the Coronavirus (isolated, anxious, sad, angry, and uncertain about the future) is reminiscent of our life when Mattie was diagnosed and in cancer treatment. 

Mattie would have turned 18 years old today. Unfortunately for us, he will ALWAYS BE 7!  We carry his spirit and memory with us and his journey reminds us that childhood cancer is NOT JUST ABOUT THE MEDICINE.  

To describe Mattie in a nutshell, I would say he was precocious, strong willed, humorous, and wise beyond his years. He was called our "little engineer," because at the age of two, we realized he could take apart his toys with a screwdriver AND put them back together again. Any sort of locomotion fascinated Mattie and to us he will always be the KING of the LEGOS! Of course if we asked Peter, he would say that Mattie was a "Mama Lover." As Mattie and I not only looked alike, we were very close and similar n personality. 

In honor of Mattie, I have shared below the story I wrote for his celebration of life ceremony in 2009. This was the story of the day Mattie was born. A story Mattie LOVED hearing during tender and scary times in his life. The last time I told this story to Mattie was on August 5th, the day we learned his cancer metastasized throughout his body. 

Today marks 11 years of missed birthdays, more than the number of birthdays we had the opportunity to celebrate together. Yet somehow we continue on without our boy, more committed than ever to preserve his legacy and to support other children with cancer. 


My Dearest Mattie,

It is said that parents love their children right from the moment they are born. However, in your case, our love for you began as soon as we learned we were going to have a baby. In fact, right after seeing your sonogram picture, we felt like proud parents. We posted those pictures everywhere. We shared these pictures with practically anyone who would listen or showed interest, and each September when I taught prenatal development in my undergraduate human development class, out would come your sonogram pictures to illustrate my points. Even my students got a sneak peek at our baby, a baby who would have a profound and meaningful impact on not just his parents but also every community he touched. Daddy and I did not only love you, we FELL IN LOVE with you, and that love grew stronger with each day. Your energy, spirit, love for life, intellectual challenges, sense of humor, and loyalty to your friends and family were only some of the wonderful traits we always admired in you.

This video is a tribute to you and your wonderful, yet short life. It seems fitting as we celebrate you, and say good-bye to your physical presence that I share the story about how you entered the world. The story of your birth had to be one of your most favorite stories to hear, and I found during times when you were reflective, overly tired, or in need of hugs and tenderness, the request for this story arose. In fact, I remember on August 5th, the day we found out that your cancer metastasized everywhere, you and I were sitting in the hospital’s rose garden, and you requested the story. It was almost as if you knew this was going to be a bad day, so in essence we might as well brace ourselves, cuddle, and prepare for this together.

Here is the story I always shared with you. A story Daddy and I will never forget. On April 2, 2002, at 11pm, I decided to head to bed. I was anxiously awaiting your birth, and as your due date approached, I couldn’t help but wonder, when will “the baby” be coming? I was restless and uncomfortable, so while in bed, I began to watch television. I was having trouble concentrating on what I was hearing, mainly because you were kicking up a storm inside of me. At which point, the kicking became so intense, that I literally felt something pop. You clearly wanted OUT, and you were going to kick your way into the world on your terms. Naturally after feeling this pop, I looked down at my tummy, and when I jumped out of bed, I realized my water had broken. This only happens to 25% of moms, and in retrospect, I should have guessed that this was just the beginning of how different our lives were going to be together. I immediately called the doctor and told her what happened. She asked if I was in pain, which I wasn’t, and she instead told me to get a good night’s rest, because my baby was going to be born the following day. Well I can assure you after hearing this news, sleeping was the farthest thing from our minds.

So on April 3, 2002, Daddy and I headed to the hospital and we were admitted to the maternity unit at 8am. The labor process began, but it was a VERY slow process for me, and at times as you moved inside my tummy, Daddy could see your head pushing against my backbone. Needless to say Dr. Mike, the anesthesiologist, became my favorite doctor that day. The hours kept rolling by, and still there was NO sign of our baby! I was getting weaker, I developed an 102 fever, and by 11pm I really had no energy to give birth to you. In addition, to how I was feeling, your oxygen supply was getting cut off, and your chin was positioned in such a way that would make the birthing process almost impossible. So it was at that point that the doctor recommended an emergency c-section. Things began to happen very quickly around me. I was signing paperwork for surgery and Daddy was being transformed by putting on a bunny suit so he could enter the operating room.

I had never been in an operating room before in my life, but I really wasn’t concerned at that point about myself. I was solely focused upon you. I was wide-awake for the c-section, but unable to see the process, which as you know, was probably a good thing. Daddy on the other hand found the whole thing very exciting, and began to videotape and take pictures of the surgery. Literally a team of people surrounded me and I will never forget Dr. Mike, the anesthesiologist who sat by my side, and talked with me and did whatever he could to keep me pain free.

When you have a c-section, your arms are strapped to the operating table, so I couldn’t move, and directly over my head was what appeared to be a rope with a clamp that was holding open my abdominal cavity. Normally by this point I would have passed out, but when it came to you, I developed strength I never knew I had. As the doctor began cutting, and finally got to you, the first thing she said was, “what is this?” That is NOT what you typically hope to hear when having a c-section. The doctor let me know that I had a grapefruit sized tumor on my bladder, and my immediate thought was, did this affect the baby? The next thing I knew, I felt her tugging, and I heard the loudest cry ever. Now here is the part of the story that I know was always your FAVORITE! I would always try to replicate the sound I heard coming from you that day, a sound that will always remain in a parent’s ear. It was a very large WAAHHH! WAAHHH! At which point the doctor told us two things: first, that you were one of the most beautiful babies she had ever seen, and second, that you had quite a set of lungs on you! I concurred with both statements.

The doctor then brought you over to me, and she felt that I needed to be the first person to touch you. So despite my arms strapped to the table, my right hand miraculously reached out and grabbed your tiny, soft, and cute foot. It was a moment I will always cherish, a moment in which I will never forget, and a moment I am so happy you too enjoyed hearing about. Each time I retold the story I felt as if it further bonded us together, and I always enjoyed hearing your comments, thoughts, and reactions to your story.

Seeing you made Daddy very happy! Though he was worried about me, since after the c-section, I had to have bladder surgery to remove the tumor, we both agreed that Daddy should stay with you and accompany you to the nursery. It is there that Daddy got to see you cleaned up, he learned that you weighed 6 pounds and 13 ounces, and that you had high Apgar scores of 8 and 9. Within an instant, Daddy became one of your fiercest protectors, and he cared for you for five days straight while we were in the hospital together. In fact, Daddy is the first person who changed your diaper, and though those were five very challenging days in the hospital, they were days that helped us form our strong family ties. Ties that were imperative and that we relied on for seven years of your life!

Your presence is so greatly missed. Nothing seems the same, is the same, looks, feels, or tastes the same without you in our lives. May you always know that Mommy and Daddy love you, cherish you, and that feeling will remain with us forever and always. Good-bye my Mooshi Moo angel and goodbye Daddy’s best buddy. With love from Una Moon and Daddy!

April 3, 2020

Friday, April 3, 2020

Friday, April 3, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2003. This was Mattie's first birthday party! The theme was Elmo. As Mattie loved that red Sesame Street character. I would say Mattie's first party was challenging and he found it overwhelming. Several times we escaped upstairs together to regroup. But as you can see Mattie was alert and on!

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

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus: 273,880
  • number of people who died from the virus: 7077

Thank goodness for Mattie's red wagon. It now serves as transport for Sunny. I am not sure Sunny really likes riding in the wagon, but he sees why it is necessary. We take it with us on all walks, as Sunny can manage hopping on three legs for a short time, and then he needs a break. We feel badly that Sunny needs surgery on Monday, but we also realize this is his best chance at getting his quality of life back. 
After walking Sunny, Peter and I walked around the National Mall. We saw very few people, but definitely others out trying to get fresh air and exercise. This is a photo of the World War II memorial. One of my favorites. 
On such a bright and sunny day, it is hard to believe that life as we have known it is gone. Today is day 18 of the stay at home order. 
Looking over the fountains at the WWII memorial, and you can see the Lincoln Memorial in the distance. 

I loved the ducks! They were basking in the sunshine and enjoying the fountains. With not a care in the world. 
The WWII memorial has two of these signs etched into the stone. It says...'Kilroy was here.' This is an American symbol that became popular during World War II, typically seen in graffiti. Its origin is debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle became associated with GIs in the 1940's: a bald-headed man (sometimes depicted as having a few hairs) with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with his fingers clutching the wall.

I had read about these 'Kilroy was here' etchings and we were on a mission today to find them at the Memorial. We found both of them. 

April 2, 2020

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken on April 4, 2002. The day Mattie was born. It is hard to believe that on Saturday, Mattie would have been turning 18 years old. To me he will always be 7. 

Mattie was born at 12:36am, and I was the first person to touch Mattie, despite the fact that my arms were strapped down to an operating table for a C-section. While I remained in the operating room, Peter followed Mattie to the nursery and captured some wonderful photos, like this one. Showing Mattie's alertness from day one. 

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

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus: 238,820
  • number of people who died from the virus: 5,758

Given the challenging times we are living with, we have been thinking creatively about our upcoming virtual walk on May 17th. Children with cancer and their families face the unimaginable everyday, yet with the coronavirus added to the mix, additional stresses are placed upon children with cancer and their families. Families are facing job loss (and potentially no insurance), families separated and unable to visit their child with cancer because of fear of introducing the virus, isolation from friends and family, and of course postponed treatments and surgeries due to the national healthcare crisis. Due to all of these psychosocial stresses, Mattie Miracle decided to do two things to help!

First we reached out to Children's Hospital at Sinai in Baltimore, MD to request a list of items they wanted to help reduce the isolation children feel in the hospital. As hospitals have the policy that children with cancer are allowed ONLY one person staying in the room with them. Meaning that the other parent, siblings, family members and friends are unable to visit. So we purchased $2,000 worth of items to assist with isolation and enable communication, and we are proud to say that the following items are on the way to the hospital:

Standzout Medmount Mobile Secure Tablet Mount

Lovebox Spinning Heart Messenger

Long Distance Friendship Lamp

The second thing we did today, was we created the Mattie Miracle Coronavirus Family Relief Grants. We will be donating $10,000 to the  Children's Hospital at Sinai to support children with cancer and their families during this healthcare and financial crisis. 

As a result of establishing this grant program, we have decided to dedicate 10% of the funds we raise from our May 17th Virtual Walk to this cause. Please check out our walk website and consider making a donation to support our psychosocial programs and the Coronavirus Relief Fund:

April 1, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken on April 4, 2009. It was Mattie's 7th and last birthday, which he celebrated in the hospital. That day, Mattie had a small party in the child life playroom. Several of Mattie's friends came to visit and celebrate after school that day. Before his friends came, Mattie spent the morning in the playroom decorating and helping to get ready for the party. It was a very exciting day for him that of course included cupcakes!

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

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus: 209,071
  • number of people who died from the virus: 4,757

This was Mattie's little red wagon. It was a gift to him from his child life specialist. We used this wagon often with Mattie to take him on walks, as there were times he did not want to be in a wheelchair. 

Over all these years, we have kept this wagon. Thank goodness we have, because we are using it now for Sunny who is unable to do much walking because of a tore ACL. 

After walking/pushing Sunny, Peter and I then went out for a walk around the National Mall. Today's three mile walk took us to the World War II memorial. However, you can see how empty the Mall is, which is totally unheard of especially in the spring season. 
Me with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. 
Approaching the WW II memorial, with the Washington Monument and the Capitol in the background. Seeing all the American flags flying on this gray and sullen day, was like a symbol of hope. 
The tidal pool on the Mall has been empty of water for months. As they have been repairing and cleaning it. Today they were filling it back up with water. Peter was literally standing in the tidal pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. 
The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a square and fountain.
The WW II memorial is probably one of my favorite memorials on the Mall. I love its grandeur, its symbolism, and its water elements. 
On the floor of the Memorial Arches is the WWII victory medal surrounded by the years “1941-1945” and the words “Victory on Land,” “Victory at Sea,” and “Victory in the Air.”
The memorial consists of 56 granite pillars, each 17 feet tall, arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two 43-foot triumphal arches on opposite sides. Two-thirds of the 7.4-acre site is landscaping and water. Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 U.S. states of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory and Territory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The northern arch is inscribed with "Atlantic"; the southern one, "Pacific." The plaza is 337 ft 10 in long and 240 feet 2 inches wide, is sunk 6 feet below grade, and contains a pool that is 246 feet 9 inches by 147 feet 8 inches.

The highlight of our week! Our friend Junko sent us some tasty treats from Maine.... lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese, and lobster tails! I am a big lobster fan, so it feels like we are going out to eat, without leaving our home. It is a gift we absolutely love and reminds us of the incredible friends we have on Team Mattie. 

March 31, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 -- Mattie died 548 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2009. As you can see, Mattie was playing with this police car using his left leg. His left leg was given the name... Curious George. Because this leg and foot acted like an arm and hand. It was the only limb that wasn't operated on and Mattie used it beautifully. 

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

  • number of people diagnosed: 184,183
  • number of people who died: 3,721

Sunny isn't improving, he continues to limp and won't put weight on his back right leg. So I called the vet this morning and got him a 1:30pm appointment. Mind you because of the coronavirus, NO pet parents are allowed in the building and we have no personal contact with the doctor. 

Peter and I went for a walk today through Georgetown. Typically a very vibrant part of town with shoppers and diners. 
This was what Georgetown looked like today! Basically NO cars and few to no pedestrians. 
There were even stores boarded up to prevent people from potentially breaking glass to steal items. This is a sight totally unheard of in Georgetown. 

Meanwhile, we learned today that Sunny has completely torn his ACL. Which explains his pain and his inability to use his back right leg. 

Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL, other wise known as the Cranial Cruciate Ligament or CCL when referring to pets is a vital support structure of the knee. This ligament’s primary role is to provide and maintain stability to the knee. 

The knee’s anatomy in the most simple of descriptions contains two cruciate ligaments that cross inside the knee joint and provide stability of the upper femur and lower tibia while cartilage cushions called medial and lateral menisci rest between the tibia and femur to create a soft barrier between the two bones. A support bone called the Fabellae flanks the tibia on the side while the knee cap or patella slides up and down the front of the knee during flexion and extension. The anterior cruciate ligament prevents the tibia from sliding forward out from under the femur.

Our vet doesn't perform this surgery. Sunny has to see an orthopedic specialist. Given the coronavirus, there is only one practice in our region still seeing dogs and supporting such emergency procedures. Sunny will be seeing the surgeon on Monday and having the surgery in the afternoon. This won't be easy for him and recovery will minimally be three months. 

After seeing the vet, we started the car! Guess what? It wouldn't start. The battery died. The ironic part is our car just went in for its inspection and checks not long ago. So I wouldn't expect the battery to die. Thankfully AAA came within 20 minutes, started our car, and we found a Ford dealership open who would replace our battery! That was the easiest fix of the day. I wish everything else we were dealing with had a tangible and quick solution. 

In the midst of a day of chaos, I cooked an eggplant parmesan tonight. This is a dish my grandmother used to make and I learned the technique from her. 
The tasty highlight of the day. 

March 30, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2009. That evening we were visited by the singing duo of volunteers.... Jerry and Nancy. They had all of us up and moving to the music. I caught Mattie in motion. We met Jerry and Nancy during the first week Mattie was hospitalized to received chemotherapy. They came into our lives during a very dark time, but their visits always cheered us up and gave us breaks from focusing on cancer and its treatment. 

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

  • number of people diagnosed with the virus in the US: 160,020
  • number of people who died from the virus in the US: 2,953

This afternoon I was on a conference call about Mattie Miracle's virtual walk. While I was on the computer, Peter went out to walk Sunny. Unfortunately while walking Sunny, Peter noticed that Sunny was unable to complete his walk because his legs were bothering him. So thankfully I was home and could jump in the car and pick them up. Clearly Sunny's muscular issues are significant enough to prevent him from walking. 
Later in the afternoon, Peter and I went for a walk. Not far from our home, yet many of the roads near the Nation's cherry blossoms have been closed. I snapped a photo of Peter on Ohio Drive. 
Get the picture?! This major artery in the city is completely shut down. 
Peter, with Rosslyn, VA in the background. Meanwhile, as we were walking on the National Mall, two park police approached us. They wanted us to stop walking and to return from where we came. They wanted to know how we accessed Ohio Drive, as this and Independence Avenue are now closed to pedestrians. 

Given the news we were hearing, we grew concerned that we wouldn't be allowed out of the District to drive into Virginia or Maryland. Since all of our essential services are in Northern Virginia. We literally got home and jumped into the car so we could do more grocery shopping and pick up Mattie Miracle mail in Arlington, VA. Needless to say, reading the article below eases my concerns as national capital residents will be able to freely move around between states for essential services.  

So there’s been a ‘stay-at-home’ order. Here’s what that means for you:

March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2007. That day we took Mattie down to the National Mall because it was kite day. Every one was there to fly a kite. However, while there we couldn't resist checking out all the wonderful cherry blossoms. They are a glorious sight each spring, and the trees are so full of white blooms, it almost looks like snow. Peter and I walked down to the National Mall today. Ironically the trees are out and looked exactly the same as they did in 2007. Of course the big difference for us is the trees outlived Mattie. 

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

  • number of people in the US diagnosed with the virus: 139, 675
  • number of people in the US who died from the virus: 2,436

Sunny was able to take a walk today thanks to anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants. This is a HIGHLY unusual sight in Washington, DC...... Rock Creek Park was closed. It has been closed for over a week now to cut down traffic going to see the cherry blossoms on the Mall. It was delightful being able to walk on the road!
See what Rock Creek Park looked like! Totally unheard of, but it made it very easy for walkers and cyclists to use this route while social distancing!
Our three mile walk today!
It was a glorious weather day today. Blue skies and sun! All the trees are acknowledging it is spring, and it is wonderful to see something UNAFFECTED by the Coronavirus. 
Tulips, daffodils, and trees on the Mall. 
 Daffodils look like happy faces to me. 

These are the beautiful cherry trees on the National Mall. The same trees featured in the photo of Mattie from 2007. Though you can't see it here, there was a bride posing for photos under these trees today. 
Meanwhile, this was me. While walking today, I started having trouble seeing. I could see bright lights and wavy lines in both eyes. What was going on? I was having a double ocular migraine. An ocular migraine is a rare condition characterized by temporary vision loss or even temporary blindness in one eye. Ocular migraines are caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. The symptoms can last for 20 to 30 minutes and it can be unsettling. Since I occasionally get these types of migraines, I no longer panic. Instead, I try to sit still and relax, until my vision returns. But I can assure you when I got one of these attacks for the FIRST time years ago, I thought I was losing my vision permanently. 

My companion sitting with me until I felt better!
The beauty of the Red Bud tree against the Washington Monument. 
Close up of the Red Bud tree! These are incredibly beautiful and vibrant trees! They also signal to me that spring is here in our Nation's capital.