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

June 12, 2021

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Saturday, June 12, 2021 

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2004. Mattie was two years old and that year we spent a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with Peter's parents, brother, sister-in-law, and Mattie's three cousins. We took the kids to the NC aquarium and Mattie was taking it all in. Mattie was always up for an adventure, and he enjoyed trying to keep up with his cousins. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,457,252
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 599,651

We left Raleigh this morning around 10:30am. Raleigh was a great stop. Peter and I are absolutely exhausted, and we had a slow night and got to bed earlier. We are making a conscious effort to slow down and regroup, before we have to renovate the house and then move. 

Unfortunately a good chunk of our drive today looked like this!
For about 90 minutes of the drive in North Carolina, as we headed to the South Carolina border, we passed these kitschy South of the Border signs. The signs are fun for passengers to spot, and I captured most of them with my camera. The signs also give a mileage countdown to South Carolina border. It helps me pass the time as Peter is driving.  
This one says.... something different. 
I have never seen the reptile lagoon at South of the Border, but if Mattie were with us, you know this would be our first stop!
It is hard to believe that South of the Border has existed since 1949!
South of the Border has everything to entertain families. Rides, food, ice cream, a ride up the observation tower, shops, miniature golf, an arcade, and the list goes on!
You can imagine the anticipation for families the first time they get to South of the Border.
I honestly don't remember this sign from previous trips! I probably did not spot it before. 
This is Peter's favorite!
I gather trucks stop over at South of the Border too. 
I can bet kids in the car are saying this, as they await seeing South of the Border.
When we arrived at South of the Border today, there was a family. Each of them bought a different hat, and they were a riot to see walking around. 
This is what South of the Border looks like. It is very kitschy, but a great stop! This time we stopped for ice cream within the complex. 
Peter has driven about ten hours since Friday! Not to mention driving to Boston last week. 
How do you like this wiener dog? In fact, there were families walking their real wiener dogs up to this statue. It was humorous!
When you head into South Carolina, you see these beautiful canopies of live oak trees with Spanish moss hanging off of them. To me this is a very special sight. Quintessential South Carolina. 
We are staying on Kiawah Island. We made reservations to stay here in 2020, but because of COVID, we postponed the trip to this year. We honestly did not know if we were going to make it down here with all we are juggling. But we made it happen. 
Close up of the Spanish Moss. 
We entered the condo today and the management company left us flowers. 
The beauty of the living space, which looks directly out at the Atlantic ocean. 
Our balcony. 
The bedroom is just as beautiful. It has a window seat and glorious views!

June 11, 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2004. Mattie was two years old and this was his second visit to the Outer Banks. Mattie's first visit in 2003, did not go exactly as expected. As Mattie did not like being on the sand and he was very frightened by the ocean. By his second visit, Mattie had adjusted to some of the sights and sounds. Though if you look at Mattie in this photo you may question my perspective. I think the issue here was Mattie did not want to take a photo, so he was squirming and frustrated with us! 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,436,053
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 599,127

Last night, I was hit with a migraine. I do not know how I pushed through it, because I could hardly function, eat, smell anything, and let's not talk about the pain. But I took my medications and it stabilized me enough to go to sleep. 

I got up early this morning to take a conference call about a grant we are applying for, as well as to book appointments for all sorts of service folks to come out to the house starting the week of June 21. 

Peter and I got on the road at around 12:30pm. Given that we had just traveled last week, bought a house this week, we honestly weren't sure we would ever pull it together to go on our planned summer trip to South Carolina. We had summer plans in 2020, that had to be canceled because of COVID. Instead of canceling them, we postponed them for this week. We never knew in 2020, what our 2021 was going to look like. 

It was torrential rain for most of our 5 hour car trip to Raleigh. We are staying over in Raleigh and get back on the road tomorrow morning for South Carolina. 

It was heavy traffic until we got to Richmond, VA. After which the roads opened it. This stretch of highway is in North Carolina. I love the beautiful greenery and lack of congestion. 
Day lilies all along the North Carolina highways!
Our arrival into Raleigh, North Carolina. I am a big Love it or List it (on the Home and Garden channel) fan. Hilary and David do all their shows in Raleigh, so every time we approach the city, I think of them. 

June 10, 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. We were in the pre-op area, awaiting for Mattie to go back to the operating room to have tumors removed from his lungs. It was about 6am, and honestly we did not know if we were coming or going. Notice we taped a message to Mattie that was meant for his lung surgeon! We asked Dr. Chahine for a Mattie Miracle! To this day, Dr. Chahine is still in touch with us and is a Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation supporter. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,424,929
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 598,671

This morning Peter and I went to Mattie's school to meet with the head of school and the assistant head of the school. They gave us Mattie's high school diploma. I feel very honored that we were given this document along with a box filled with the class of 2020 items!
A close up of the diploma and mugs. The front of the mug says Mattie and the back lists the entire 2020 class. Of which Mattie was included!
Tomorrow we head to South Carolina for a week. We need a break desperately, and given the summer ahead of us, I am happy we are getting this time. We visited the house twice today. Once with Sunny, and later, we sat on the porch and had lunch. 
I am not sure what to make out of all the Mattie signs on the property! This frog jumped out of the bushes and scared me to death! He was in backyard. 

The house is surrounded by oak leaf hydrangeas. While having lunch, this was our Mattie sighting! A beautiful butterfly and bee!

Peter took a video, as we introduced Sunny to the backyard! It was priceless! He was ecstatic!!! 

Then Peter took a video of us introducing Sunny to the inside of the house!

June 9, 2021

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. That day we went over to our friend's house. She and her daughter had a parakeet. Mattie never was up close and personal with a pet bird before and I think it actually frightened him. The bird's beak and feet were sharp and I could appreciate Mattie's caution. However, he was a trooper and 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: 33,411,461
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 598,762

Today we closed on our new house purchase in Oakton, VA. I really would love to know how buyers feel in general during the closing process. All I know is our realtor and mortgage lender were stunned by our reactions. They brought us champagne and a bottle of bourbon for the new house. While they felt like celebrating, both Peter and I did not. In fact, their jovial spirit was down right annoying and bordering on unprofessional for us. I truly feel this way as we had stacks and stacks of paperwork to read through, understand, and sign. Peter has been asking our mortgage lender to outline the process for us, so we knew what to expect every step of the way. Instead, she managed us on a need to know basis. Not a great personality match with us. 

We were in the closing meeting with a lawyer (who moderated the process), our mortgage lender, our realtor, the seller's realtor, and the sellers themselves. I am NOT exaggerating on the amount of paperwork we had to sift through. The seller literally had about four documents, and we had too many to count. What I resented was not having access to this paperwork before today (mind you in the meeting the mortgage lender then said "I could have given you copies before the meeting." My retort was that would have been helpful and Peter said that is why I asked you to walk us through the process!). By the end of the 90 minute process, I was so livid that I got up to use the restroom. While getting up, I announced that they were lucky I held it together today, because all the boards I serve on know me. If you hand me extensive documents to read on the spot, I won't do it! Typically if you do this to me, I will refuse to address these documents and this could be the end of a meeting. 

It wasn't just me who was upset with the process, so was Peter. We felt it was handled unprofessionally and we also did not like the sellers in the meeting with us, while we are trying hard to sift through documents and sign them. It seems like a waste of their time to be there, when they could have left after they signed their own documents. After this official closing, we then went back to the house with the sellers and they showed us around the property. 

I have come to the conclusion that things look a lot better when the house is staged. As I looked at the condition of the house today, I was stunned to realize that the whole thing needs to be painted from top to bottom inside. I was hoping not to do this, but we have no other choice, along with tackling some bathroom renovations. Because the house is in a more suburban area, the cicadas were everywhere. The owners had an outside garbage bin in the backyard that was filled with dead cicadas. The smell was hateful, so Peter and I addressed that immediately, as it smelled worse than a dead rat. 

At the end of the day, we are NOT your typical home buyer and if you treat us as such, you are going to be disappointed. We are moving into a house so that we can bring my parents to the East coast. Every buyer has a different reason for purchasing a house and I think it behooves an agent and those working with a buyer to understand the reasoning and circumstances. Because this does impact a buyer's perspective, thoughts, and feelings. Needless to say, Peter and I felt misunderstood today and by 2pm, we were both HIGHLY agitated, stressed out, anxious, and for me, angry. So much so that we both couldn't eat today. I know full well when this type of anxiety strikes, the only thing to do is walk. Therefore, we got back to DC, picked up Sunny and walked the National Mall. These folks today have NO appreciation for how I feel. As we are moving from a place we lived in for 25 years, a place we raised Mattie, and a place that holds these memories. The sellers maybe saying good-bye to their house, but their children are still alive. Their children are the memories. For Peter and me, the place holds the memories, because unfortunately Mattie isn't here to build new ones.

June 8, 2021

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 -- Mattie died 610 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. We were at Mattie's 7th birthday party! In fact, that year, he celebrated twice. Once at the hospital, on his actual birthday, and a second time at a friend's house. At my friend's house, Reptiles Alive came to do a meet and greet with the animals. As you can see, Mattie was having an encounter with a snake. I wanted nothing to do with this creature, which I think only inspired Mattie further to touch it!

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,388,341
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 598,359

Last night, I was looking through a magazine I brought back from Martha's Vineyard. While flipping through the pages, I saw this photo! I immediately stopped in my tracks, because this was the hotel room I stayed in! Well the second room that is, the one I was able to get us upgraded into! It was a spectacular space with three bedrooms, two baths, a covered porch, and all on one level. 

The highlight of my day was meeting friends at Barca Wine Bar & Pier. This is a new restaurant in Alexandria, VA. I love trying new restaurants and I admit I love being by the water. So this seemed like a good spot to celebrate a birthday today. 

It was another busy day. I started at 6am. One of the things I am involved in, is I am part of the research team working on a proposal for a government grant. The team has weekly phone calls. The research proposal is focused on designing a study to help implement the psychosocial standards of care. It is a fascinating process to see such a large study be designed from the ground up and to be able to work with this distinguished team. Two of the researchers have been on this journey with us since 2012, when we held the first psychosocial symposium on Capitol Hill. 

Meanwhile, tomorrow we close on the house. We are doing a walk through of the house at 9am, sign paperwork at 10am, and then go back to the house with the previous owners for a personal tour of the property. This gives us a chance to ask questions and understand how things work. The previous owners seem like lovely individuals and in addition to having a tour with them, they have left several items in the house for us at no charge. Things like TVs, armoires, and even all of their patio furniture!

June 7, 2021

Monday, June 7, 2021

Monday, June 7, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. Friends went to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania and brought Mattie back this bean bag Hershey kiss. The irony was Mattie hated chocolate, but he definitely loved the bean bag kiss. For the life of me, I have no idea where this kiss landed up. I don't remember donating it, and yet after that moment in time, I don't recall seeing the kiss ever again. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,375,684
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 597,903

I woke up this morning at 7:30am and never stopped moving. In fact, I have been so busy, I have yet to eat anything today. Top on my list was to contact every utility company (electric, gas, water, and sewer) to transfer the services from the previous owners to us. You would think.... how long could that take? I allotted an hour! Boy was that an underestimation, as I was on HOLD with the gas company for exactly 60 minutes. I am sure the average person would have given up, but I remained on hold. I got it all done today!

But that isn't where the fun ended! Then I jumped into the car and headed to the bank. I had to wire money to the escrow company for the down payment of the house. They wanted it today and they were driving us crazy with email requests! Little did I know that in order to wire money, I had to make an appointment with a banker! I guess this is a COVID policy! Thankfully the bank accommodated me and I only waited 30 minutes for an appointment and got it done. But I have to say it is disconcerting wiring a large sum of money through the ether! 

After the bank, I had to go to the Ford dealership, as the car needed an oil change. So I waited two hours there for that to happen, then got the car washed, and went grocery shopping. The question is what didn't I do today!?

June 6, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2008. I most likely snapped this photo because Mattie was having a tender moment with Patches, our calico cat. Patches understood from the day we brought Mattie home from the hospital that she had to behave and be kind and gentle with him. In turn, we taught Mattie how to treat and care for Patches. They had a good connection with each other and when Mattie was diagnosed with cancer, in the early stages of his treatment, whenever Mattie was home, Patches would lie on his bed next to Mattie. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,362,471
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 597,627

Peter, me, Sunny, and Indie got on the road today at 9am. We drove for 8.5 hours and arrived in Washington, DC at 5:30pm. It was a long day on the road. We hit traffic in several states such at Connecticut and Maryland! This was our view of the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut. I never realized just how big that state is, until I had to drive through it! It seems to take forever. 
Our view crossing the GW Bridge in New York.  
The Delaware Memorial Bridge! Typically we can make it home from Delaware in about two hours. Of course Maryland traffic made sure that wasn't possible. 
Maryland felt like a parking lot. But here is the funny thing! As soon as we crossed over into Delaware, we could hear a buzzing sound. It was intense, as we could hear it through the closed car windows. What was it? Brood X cicadas! Their noise is so loud that you can hear it through traffic on a highway. In addition, I can't tell you how many cicadas smashed into windshields! 
Sunny was anxious for most of the trip! He was standing and pacing back and forth. He shared the back seat with Indie, who I am sure did not appreciate all his movement. After hours of standing and pacing, Sunny finally settled down, with his head on the door. 
More Maryland traffic! If we could do away with Connecticut and Maryland, the trip to Boston would be much easier. 
Our anxious friend was keeping a close eye on me. Despite being on the road, Sunny got several walks today! Of course coming home means doing a ton of laundry, catching up on chores, and going through mail. Tomorrow, I hit the ground running, as we close on our house this Wednesday.