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

February 18, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2009. Mattie was home between treatments and was playing on the floor! Perhaps it seems odd that a child with cancer, having tubes coming from his chest, was on the floor at all. Yet this was the best place for Mattie to play, as standing and walking were very difficult for him after his surgeries. Playing on the floor enabled Mattie to just be a kid. Mattie loved playing with water and his toy vehicles. So you can see in one hand  he was eating a donut and the other he was using one of my kitchen pots for creative play. Truly an amazing sight really because as adults when we aren't feeling well, the notion of moving and finding energy to smile seems impossible.  

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 27,881,728
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 492,646

I am now into day seven of wearing pajamas and trying to recuperate from a sinus infection. I am definitely making progress, but still do not have much energy and have congestion. 

I came across a study today entitled, COVID-19–Related Misinformation among Parents of Patients with Pediatric Cancer. The study mentioned the increased incidence of delayed cancer diagnoses and high mortality rates in pediatric patients, some of which may be a result of the pandemic. Several parents are choosing to not seek medical care in fear of contracting COVID-19 or not having access to medical care because of pandemic-related healthcare office closures. The mortality rate for pediatric cancer has subsequently increased as a result of delayed access to medical care, but misinformation related to COVID-19 may be a contributing factor in this.

Having a child diagnosed with cancer is a nightmare of grand proportion. I can't imagine coping with that as well as the Pandemic at the same time. I read the article, which I highlight below, and I am perplexed with the findings. Specifically that parents of children with cancer are more susceptible to believing misinformation about the COVID-19 virus than the regular non-childhood cancer parent population. I guess I have trouble understanding this specifically because parents of children with cancer are VERY GOOD at searching for accurate information and getting down to the bottom of what is fiction versus reality. Especially since we work with our child's healthcare team. So when in doubt we ask questions and seek input from our providers! Therefore, I must admit that reading this study made me upset. Upset because I felt that parents of children with cancer were not really being understood but instead characterized more as gullible, open to misinformation on the internet, and under so much stress that we can't think effectively. Thereby potentially making poor decisions when it comes to seeking treatment for our children with cancer. 

Of course I realize that wasn't the intention of the article. Rather it was designed to assess myths and perceptions about COVID-19 and to determine how these beliefs might impact on-going cancer treatment. The article states that, "the purpose of this study was to determine whether parents of children with cancer are more or less vulnerable to COVID-19–related misinformation than their counterparts who have generally healthy children."

Rightfully they ponder that, 

"On one hand, parents of pediatric cancer patients, who generally have more experience with medical information and the healthcare system, may be more discerning about COVID-19–related information than their counterparts who have generally healthy children. On the other hand, the COVID-19 epidemic may increase anxiety and fear among parents of children with cancer. These parents may be more attentive to online medical information; thus, they may have greater exposure to misinformation. Parents of children with cancer are also likely to be active on social networking sites (e.g., Facebook groups) relevant to their child’s health condition and, thus, could be exposed to misinformation posted by other members."

Data were collected from 735 parents of children 2–17 years of age during May 1–31, 2020. These parents fell into two groups: 1) 315 parents who had children in active cancer treatment and 2) 420 parents of children without a cancer history. The parents who had a child in treatment, seemed to be younger, had a higher level of education, and reported higher levels of COVID-19 stress. 

Study participants were asked to endorse a series of 17 COVID-19–related misinformation statements taken from the World Health Organization’s website, using the following 5-point response scale: “definitely untrue,” “likely untrue,” “not sure if untrue/true,” “likely true,” and “definitely true.” The items included statements related to susceptibility to (e.g., “COVID-19 only affects older people,” “The COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in hot and humid weather”) and prevention of COVID-19 (e.g., “Eating garlic can help prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus,” “Gargling with or swallowing bleach will help get rid of COVID-19”). My image shows all 17 statements used in the study. 

The main finding was that parents of children with cancer were more likely to endorse or believe false statements about the COVID-19 pandemic. That is, they were more vulnerable than parents of healthy children to misinformation. Across the 17 “myths,” parents of children with cancer were more likely to believe myths associated with the prevention of COVID-19 (such as, "Vaccines against pneumonia can protect against COVID-19,” “Eating garlic can help prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus") as opposed to myths related to the susceptibility to COVID-19 (such as, “COVID-19 only affects older people” and “The COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in hot and humid weather”) compared to parents of generally healthy children.  

The study concludes that, 

"It is not completely clear why parents of children with cancer are more vulnerable to misinformation. Parents of children with cancer may be at greater risk of exposure to misinformation as a result of greater levels of COVID-19–related stress, resulting in more time spent looking for information online. Moreover, the increased stress levels reported by these parents could be affecting their information-processing abilities, making them more likely to use cues rather than more critical, central processing routes of assessing information credibility."

I think it is noteworthy that parents of children with cancer were more likely to believe myths associated with the prevention rather than susceptibility of COVID-19. Doesn't this make sense? Picture yourself caring for a child with cancer. Wouldn't you be more open to ANY ideas about preventing the contraction of COVID-19 in order to keep your child safe? Given that children with cancer have compromised immunity and therefore are more likely to contract illnesses and diseases within our community, I believe there is desperation as a parent. Since this study was conducted in May of 2020, we really did not know that much about the virus as we do now. So again, I think it is plausible that parents seek outside the box counsel and information to again...... KEEP THEIR CHILDREN WITH CANCER SAFE. I don't view this as vulnerable or gullible. I view this instead as the challenges of being a parent caring for a child with cancer. Parents of children with cancer are confronted with decisions and issues on a daily basis. It is impossible to conclude that parents of children with cancer in this study were vulnerable to misinformation. There are many variables at play when caring for a child with cancer that to me can more easily explain their buy into these prevention myths.  

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