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

May 1, 2021

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2003. Mattie was 11 months old and it was his first trip to Los Angeles! I had to attend a conference, so it was a family affair. That day we took Mattie to the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. Clearly he loved the bamboo! I think this was a classic photo because it showed Mattie on Peter's back, which was his favorite mode of transportation and it showed his curiosity with the world around him. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,389,652
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 576,719

For the past several weeks, I have been looking at houses twice or three times a week. Not for an hour at a time. Try 5-6 hours a day. Not to mention commuting around town to figure out where we wanted to live. Buying a house is stressful for anyone, but when you take into account that we are going through a housing shortage, with more buyers than sellers, the competition and stress are worse than ever. Literally on Friday I saw a house with our realtor that I wanted Peter to see today! Do you know by the time we took Peter to the appointment today, the house was under contract! It's that competitive. If a house is in good shape and in a good school district, it will sell within 7 days. 

This is my first time ever buying a house. I think I had some sort of romantic idea about how glorious the process would be! I thought I would instantaneously  know when I saw the house that I loved, and that I would get joy out of the whole adventure. I have received no joy and I have also concluded that what I am looking for doesn't exist. After seeing around 40 houses, I can speak with some confidence, and therefore have concluded that I have to be more rational in my decision. Our situation is complex because I am not looking for a house that would accommodate a traditional family of parents and children. Instead I need to find a house that works for my parents needs as well as our own. Not to mention that I want a yard for Sunny. Given some of my dad's needs, I have been looking for a house that has two half baths on the first floor, a staircase where I can attach a stair lift or a house with a first floor master bedroom! I have other must haves, but the bathrooms and accessibility demands have been problematic. 

Last week we put in an offer on a house in Oakton, VA. That was a nightmare of an experience! Not very pleasant as a first time buyer. I wrote the owner a beautiful letter about her house and we offered her $50k over her asking price. Do you know she sold the house to someone who offered her less than us? Why? She was being passive aggressive. She wanted us to give her $100k over her asking price. When we said no (because the house needed work), she sold it to the family who made a lower offer. A real peach!

Today we went looking at houses from 11am to 5pm. We took Peter back to a house in Great Falls, VA that I saw yesterday. To me the house could work for all of us and it has potential. Again, it too needs work! There are things about the house I don't love, but then there are things that are quite nice. Long story short as I am typing this, we are putting in an offer on this house. I wrote NO LETTER this time to the owner. So we shall see!

April 30, 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2006. Mattie was four years old and I took him to the Reston Zoo that day. To me this shows farmer Brown in all his glory. Mattie loved animals, being outside, and the adventure the combination brought into one's life. Typically I never let Mattie ride a horse without me being next to him, but he had graduated to that level, and we were celebrating that moment. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,341,678
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 575,876

Did you know that Indie loves her outdoor time? She is very nocturnal, and only goes on the deck at nighttime. Though Indie isn't as bright as our calico cat, Patches, she is smart enough to know NOT to leave our deck and travel into the commons area. 
Does this make you happy to look at? My friend Carolyn sent me this photo this morning. She bought it in honor of May 16th, the Mattie Miracle Walk. Carolyn and I have been working on our walk and raffle for 12 years now. Not only does she help us keep Mattie's memory alive, she is a friend we know we can count on to support us and the work that we do. My friend Margy loved to send messages by creating hashtags. So in true Margy fashion, I look at this sun and say #very grateful!

Newsflash..... we now have Walk participation in 37 states!
As of today, our Walk thermometer reads... $80,098! We are in our final countdown of 15 days until the Walk. 

April 29, 2021

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2007. Mattie was five years old. April was Mattie's birthday month, but it also is the start of spring. A time Mattie loved, because he enjoyed nature and being outside! That day, we were checking out our flower boxes, trying to determine when to begin planting. I am glad I decided to snap a photo of my two boys. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,274,941
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 574,978

I woke up today feeling queasy. A few minutes later a violent migraine came on. So it hasn't been a great day. In the midst of how I am feeling, I attended a tenants meeting today in my complex. The purpose of the meeting was for tenants to hear from the a few of the owners of the complex and their lawyer. Specifically because the owners are trying to apply for a new zoning designation for the property. Regardless of what happens, tenants will have to relocate for a significant period of time and perhaps return to the new complex in the future. Naturally tenants had many questions and I am not sure any of our questions were truly answered today. I have my own opinions but what truly troubled me was our neighborhood commissioners were at the meeting and unfortunately NONE of them are on the same page. One of them incensed me, a true politician. Never answered my question and wanted to lecture or talk over me. Sorry, that doesn't work with me. Therefore, an issue that should have been about the tenants, in my opinion became more political than it had to be. 

The highlight of my day was I received this photo from my friend, Carolyn. This is Carolyn's daughter, Ellie. Believe it or not, Ellie and Mattie went to preschool together. Ellie has been involved with the Foundation, and is a good fundraiser too, since she was in elementary school! 

Ellie is kicking off our photo campaign in San Francisco. She took our Mattie Miracle sunshine to the Giants game last night! 

Today's update! We have:
  1. 35 States participating
  2. We have raised $78,108
  3. There are 17 walk teams
  4. 138 people registered
  5. Raffle has raised $930

April 28, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008. Mattie came home from kindergarten that day and since it was such a lovely weather day, we went outside so he could fly his dragonfly kite. Mattie received this lovely kite as a birthday gift from a friend. Our commons area is the perfect place to fly a kite, based on the wind direction. I am so happy I captured this memory. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,225,012
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 574,280

My day started with talking to our research team! I am very happy that we are all on board to apply for government funding for a research project we wish to pursue regarding the implementation of the psychosocial standards of care. The rigor  and intensity of the study requires MONEY, money which would be impossible for me to raise. So now until the application goes in, we will have weekly conference calls. 

After that, I jumped into the car to meet Betsy, our realtor. How did I pick Betsy!? I met Betsy YEARS ago when Mattie was alive and healthy! Back then we were thinking of moving into the suburbs to get Mattie closer to friends and his school. So one day, we went to an open house. The realtor at the open house was Betsy. I liked her whole demeanor and professionalism and therefore started working with her at that point to look for a house. However, life got in the way, and we never bought a house. 

Given that our living arrangements maybe changing (as the owners of our complex are trying to rezone it for high use commercial, rather than high use residential) and I need space for my parents, we determined we need a house. So I literally sent Betsy an email in February. We reconnected and have been working together ever since. 

Last week, we put in an offer for a house. The offer was declined. That is an emotional roller coaster in and of itself. In addition, all the houses I saw today won't work for us. The problem is there is a housing shortage, in which more people want houses, then the number of houses going on the market to be sold. So literally if a house is decent, it gets snapped up within a week! 

Something about me today must have illustrated.... tired and stressed! So Betsy suggested we stop in Reston for lunch and to sit by the water. That was a great idea. Look at the beautiful view from the restaurant terrace. To me there is something magical about Reston. It is a well planned community, with parks, recreational centers, walking trails, shopping, and it isn't that far from Washington, DC. 

Betsy and I talked about all sorts of topics. We are both very familiar with loss and grief, so for us this is a very safe topic to discuss. But Betsy also asked me what it will be like moving from a home we have been in since 1994? It's a good question and one that is an emotional hot button for me. Which is probably why we never moved earlier. Many life milestones happened in this townhouse! Peter graduated with his MBA, I got my second master's and PhD, we had Mattie, we became parents, we had our first cat, Patches, together, and the list goes on! It is hard to leave behind a space Mattie grew up in, and it is even more daunting to think that our whole complex could be leveled completely and there would wipe out our 27 year history/memory here. Seems to me we have had enough wiped out of our lives, and I must admit I don't particularly like change.

It was an 80 degree weather day, and though I had work to do for the Walk, I am so glad I stopped and regrouped today. Sometimes you just have to slow down and take in the world around you. Especially when someone invites you to do this with them!

April 27, 2021

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tuesday, April 26, 2021 -- Mattie died 604 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008. Mattie was 6 years old and enrolled in a soccer group. Mattie participated and had good team spirit, but I am not sure he actually loved the sport. In fact, I would say that Mattie was much more like me regarding sports. We both know they exist, but sports are not our focus. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,166,067
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 573,274

Mattie Miracle has launched a photo campaign from now until May 16th (Walk day) to spread Mattie Miracle sunshine wherever our supporters are located. We are promoting our "Mattie Miracle is shining here" logo and asking that supporters take a photo with it in  their neighborhood, backyard, or iconic landmark. My friend and colleague Jean (with her son, Kyle) sent this photo to me today from Dora Kelley Nature Park in Alexandria, VA. Jean kicked off the campaign! 

As of today, we have 34 states participating in our Walk! We also have walk teams based in Montana, Oregon, Utah, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC!
The Walk thermometer reads $77,288 and our raffle reads, $780! 

Meanwhile in the midst of trying to work, our printer broke! Not fixable! It was a great printer for 11 years! Thankfully Peter ordered a new one and hopefully I will be up and operational this weekend. 

April 26, 2021

Monday, April 26, 2021

Monday, April 26, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2007. We took Mattie to visit Luray Caverns in Virginia. I wasn't sure how Mattie was going to take to this cave experience. I would say for 6 years old, he managed it wall. He altered between fascinated and scared. At one point, when we got to the part where there are organ pipes playing music in the cave, Mattie ran to Peter. So halfway, we carried Mattie through the adventure, but he loved it and we are glad to have these memories. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,116,822
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 572,614

Our newsletter went out today, and we literally had a big jump in donations. Yesterday our thermometer was at $66,668 and look at it tonight. Almost a 10K jump! We are moving in the right direction, but I can definitely say each year at this time is very stressful. As I never know if we will meet our financial goal. 

Since February, though I haven't reported it on the blog, Peter and I have been looking for a house. Our city has changed dramatically all around us and we need more greenery and peace. In addition, we need to find a house that will accomodate my parents. So this is close to mission impossible as possible. Yesterday we put in an offer on a house. It was a solid offer and the listing agent conveyed to our realtor that we were the top offer and most likely going to get the house. So I went to bed with that notion! We not only offered the highest amount, but I wrote a personal letter to the owner. 

This morning, we learned that the owner decided to sell her house to the other family who made an offer on her house. Why? NOT because their offer was higher, because it wasn't! In reality our offer was $50k over what she was asking, but she still wanted an additional $50k on top of what we offered her. Because we wouldn't give her more (as the house needed months of renovations), she went passive aggressive and sold her house to the other family who offered less! Does this make any sense? Doesn't an owner want to sell to the highest bidder? Apparently not! Being a mental health provider gives me insights, insights that I felt right from the beginning when working with this house owner. So perhaps she did us a favor. 

I have looked at around 35 to 40 homes since February. Many of them don't meet our needs, especially since I need first floor living for my dad. I just can't believe that one minute I think I am buying a house and the next, I am back to square one. All of this doesn't come at a good time, particularly because it is Walk season! 

April 25, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008. Mattie was 6 years old and received a package for his birthday from our former neighbors, who moved to NYC. Mattie LOVED how the package was mailed, with this brown paper around it. On the paper were drawings, poems, and all the words to Happy Birthday Mattie. We decided to hang up the paper for a few days so Mattie could enjoy the celebration. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 32,072,187
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 572,186

I went to check out the Foundation's Walk thermometer today and I noticed it jumped up! Yet I received no email notifications about this jump. Which concerned me. So naturally I went into our fundraising system and low and behold, found that there were close to twenty donations I did not know about. I like to personally acknowledge anyone who contributes to us, whether an event registration, donation, or the purchase of a raffle ticket. So I got myself organized and began working away. 

As of today we have raised $66,668, toward our $100,000 goal. Because fundraising is so nerve racking, I decided about four years ago to track the thermometer day by day, so that I would have some understanding for how we are doing in comparison to the previous year. Having this data easily accessible truly makes my life much easier. 

I have to admit it is strange to plan a virtual event. The energy that surrounds a live event is much different from a virtual one. However, I am also aware of the fact that the virtual event enables us to reach a much broader network of people. Last year, we received so many emails from people thanking us for giving them a chance to walk with the Foundation virtually. I can only hope this is sustainable and it isn't a pandemic hiccup. Time will tell. To learn more about our event, go to: