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 19, 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2003. Mattie was 14 months old and it was his first trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That day we took him to see another lighthouse, Bodie Light. We did not go up this lighthouse, and in fact, Peter and I have only climbed up once, years after Mattie died.

I wish I knew about Kiawah Island when Mattie was alive. He would have loved it probably more than the Outer Banks, as Kiawah is about preserving natural beauty, with very little built up to distract from the peacefulness that only nature can provide. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,520,411
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 601,647

Last evening we went for our last walk on the beach. You can see the sun setting over our condo in the background. The sky almost looks like a painting. If you had seen the beach maybe two hours before this photo was taken, you would have seen it lined with beach chairs, umbrellas, and tents. But after 5pm, the beach clears out and it is a very pleasant time to be walking. All I know is Peter and I had a very physically active week, something we wish we could easily repeat at home. 
This morning as Peter was packing our car to return back to Raleigh for a night, we had a dragonfly visitor. Nature's reminder that Mattie is always with us. 
In beach lingo, today is a turn around day. The day where vacationers leave their rentals to return home, and new visitors journey to the island to take our place. 

It is very evident that today was going to be a slower day on the beach, given the smaller number of chairs and umbrellas set up. 
I have never stayed in a rental before where the management company wanted me to actually do the laundry. So this morning I got up and laundered sheets and towels! 

To help with the transition from vacation, we went to the Sanctuary Resort for breakfast. The Sanctuary is a special place that has incredible old world and Southern charm. 

I made reservations for breakfast, given that it is a Saturday. I am glad I did, as 300 people were served this morning in their dining room. 

After breakfast, we got back in the car and set course for Raleigh. Our good-bye committee was made up of three bucks! Here is one fellow by the side of the road. 
The other two bucks!
To me this looks like a movie set! It is just incredibly beautiful how the roads near Kiawah are lined with Live Oak trees and Spanish Moss. 
I am a sunflower fan! We passed a sunflower farm and all I could see were those happy yellow faces for as far as the eye could see. 
It took us five hours to drive from Kiawah Island to Raleigh, NC. Of course 90 miles from the South Carolina/North Carolina border the Pedro signs start showing up. I absolutely LOVE these signs, as I find being in a car very monotonous. I enjoy looking for the signs and counting how many I could find. The total count today was over 50! I know Mattie would have loved playing this game with me.  
I am sparing you from seeing all 50+ signs. Instead, I am just posting ones that I thought were cute or made me chuckle. 
A traditional Southern breakfast entails grits. I even had some this morning. I love hot cereals of any kind, so I do appreciate grits. 
Another favorite thing of mine is ice cream! I LOVE it. So the play on words here got me. 
Totally love the ape sign! Even the banana! I really think the signs from south to north are better and more creative than north to south. 
Just hysterical! It is hysterical because truly where "South of the Border" is, is in the middle of no where. Yet they have made it into a mini theme park attraction. 
The monkeys.... hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil! 
I remember the first time I saw this, I had NO IDEA what ICYMI meant. It stands for "in case you missed it!!"
I just love the smiley face!
In case you couldn't guess!
Pulling into Raleigh! A major adjustment from being surrounded by trees, beach, and the beauty of nature for a week. 

June 18, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. It was Mattie's first trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Peter climbed up the spiral lighthouse staircase with Mattie on his back. It was hot and humid, but I am so glad we did it. Mattie wasn't sure what to make out of the whole experience, but he was definitely open to the adventure. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,517,146
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 601,239

Today is our last day at the beach. Over the course of this week, Peter captured a beautiful sunrise!
The sunsetting from our balcony. 
The view from our balcony. We rented this unit from a different management company. I liked it because the whole interior had been renovated and I liked the private balcony. However, what I found in the unit are very large spiders and last night a roach the size of a golf ball (I will spare you the photo). I photographed it and sent it to the management company.

I feel like they handled my complaint poorly and therefore will never be renting from them again. Not even an apology. All they told me was to take the spray they kept under the kitchen sink and start spraying! Really? Needless to say, this management company and I are NOT on the same page, especially given the cost of their unit. 

This morning we decided to bicycle to the other end of the Island. The end of the Island by the Stono River is very picturesque and not filled with people, beach chairs, and umbrellas. So its peaceful. It is on this end of the Island that you can easily find WHOLE sand dollars and see lots of wonderful birds. 
This large bird is an osprey. He was bathing in the ocean, which is a sight we have never seen before. 
Peter snapped this photo of me at the end of the beach, where the Atlantic meets up with the Stono River. 
Peter's activity tracker, showing that we biked 20 miles. By the time we were done, I wanted to throw the bike in the ocean. I really wanted off of it and to get inside to air conditioning. 
After stabilizing, we then went out for a late lunch. We headed to the Ocean Course Clubhouse. Apparently the 2021 PGA was held here. It is a beautiful golf course that overlooks the Atlantic. 
When I got to lunch I wasn't even sure I could eat. Between the biking and heat, I felt ill, with a migraine beginning. But food did help as did the ocean breezes. 

June 17, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2003. Mattie was 14 months old and it was his first trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. At that point, Mattie was still learning to walk. It was a very hot and humid day, but Peter managed up all the steps of the Corolla Lighthouse with Mattie on his back. I think this photo is a riot..... Peter was smiling and Mattie was staring up to see where on earth we were taking him! Years later, after Mattie died, we visited the lighthouse, and learned that the new policy was that NO children were allowed in backpacks up the stairs. Of course Peter and I laughed, as we remembered our particular day with Mattie so well. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,501,656
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 600,705

Practically every evening we are getting pop up showers. Not just showers, but torrential rain, lightning and thunder. In fact, at around 5pm, we wanted to take a walk along the beach. We got to the sand and walked about five minutes and then decided to head back to the condo. Peter called it right, because minutes later it was like a flash flood. 
See what I mean!? It is like white out conditions when it rains. 
Earlier in the week, I booked us for a tandem kayak guided tour at 8:30am. I am not a morning person, but it was worth the effort. First of all, it is much cooler at that hour of the day, in the 70s versus upper 80s with high humidity. Also I assumed we'd see more wildlife versus later in the day. 

Peter and I had gone on one kayak tour about a year ago here. The guide wasn't great and therefore the experience wasn't positive. Today was a  night and day difference!
We saw all sorts of things today, starting with this great white egret. Our guide explained that a white heron is smaller and has yellow colored legs. The great white egret is bigger, has a yellow beak and black legs. 
Though we paddled on the Kiawah River, which is calm, I still prefer being in a boat with Peter. Peter was on the crew team in school, and truly knows how to row, navigate, and handle all sorts of weather conditions. I have none of these skills, but love going along for the ride. I do paddle on occasion, but that isn't my strength. I figure it pays to be honest, as I would hate to be on a tour and not be able to keep up or hold a group back because of my lack of abilities. 
Our guide, Samantha, is a South Carolina native. She was outstanding, knowledgeable, personable, and a great naturalist. 

She gave us some pelican facts:
  1. The brown pelican is a keen-eyed predator that can spot a fish swimming under the ocean’s surface even while flying 60 feet above.
  2. Once a target has been spotted from above, the pelicans plunge into the sea bill-first at high speeds—and often from a height of several stories. 
  3. When they collide with the prey, the impact force usually stuns the victim and it’s then scooped up in the gular pouch.
  4. To keep their neck vertebrae from getting broken, they stiffen the surrounding muscles as they dive; by throwing their wings straight backwards, pelicans can avoid fracturing any of the bones in the appendages on the unforgiving waves. Air sacs under the skin around their neck and breast area inflate before the bird hits the water’s surface, and the gular pouch behaves like an air bag: the instant a bird’s jaws are thrown open under the water, its forward momentum is slowed.
  5. Wingspan 6-12 feet.
  6. Lifespan 15-25 years.
  7. About 8 pounds in weight.
  8. Pelicans with white feathers on top of their heads are mature. 
This fellow is the Snowy White Egret. They are all white with a black bill, black legs, and yellow feet. They have a patch of yellow skin at the base of the bill and wade in shallow water to spear fish and other small aquatic animals.
This cutie is called an oyster catcher. The bird is marked by its black and white body and a long, thick orange beak. They feed almost exclusively on shellfish and other marine invertebrates. Oysters are a staple of their diet, as their name suggests, but they also eat mussels, clams, limpets, sea urchins, starfish, crabs, and worms. In general, they use their bills to catch shellfish. As they walk across a shellfish bed, they look for a mollusk with a partially opened shell. When they find one, they jab their bill into the shell and sever the muscle that causes the shell to clamp shut.

While paddling, I can't tell you how many dolphin swam around us. It is hard to paddle, hold an oar and snap a photo, but I did my best. A mom with two babies.
On our tour, our guide actually let us paddle to a beach, park our kayak, and explore the sand. She pointed out shells and plants. For example, one wouldn't expect a cactus in the middle of all this water, but apparently the prickly pear cactus is native to this area. 
The beach we took our kayak to, and on this beach we learned about the moon snail and clam shells. I never heard of a moon snail before I bet you have all seen shells with perfectly drilled holes in them! Maybe even as a kid, you made jewelry out of them. 

Haven't you always wondered why these shells have a perfect hole in them? Look no further than the moon snail. 

This is a google photo of a moon snail. The moon snail is considered a predator. The moon snail finds a clam by feeling with its foot beneath the sand. Once it finds a suitable clam, the carnivorous snail uses that foot to hold the clam while spiny tongue starts to drill a small hole into the clam shell.

South Carolina designated the sabal palmetto as the official state tree in 1939. The palmetto symbolizes the defeat of the British fleet at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. The fort was constructed of palmetto logs which were able to absorb the impact of cannon balls.
After our two hour tour, we came back to the condo to freshen up. While looking out the balcony, check out what's in the scrub! Do you see a male deer? 

For the most part, we have been cooking while here. As we found this wonderful farmer's market that gets daily fresh caught fish and local fruits and vegetables. But today we went to the Cougar Point Clubhouse. The last time we were here, they were building this structure and its restaurant. 

The patio of the restaurant is simply beautiful!

This was our view from the table. Unlike some of the other clubhouses on the Island, this one has wonderful food and to me it was worth going. Peter ordered a grouper sandwich and I ordered a crab cake sandwich. We split them so we could try both! Both were excellent, with fresh cucumber salads and coleslaw. 

June 16, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2003. Mattie was 14 months old and we went to the Outer Banks (NC) with Peter's parents. I still remember the name of the house we rented, Sundancer. It was in a wonderful location and that particular day we went to the aquarium. Mattie was fascinated by the hands on experience!

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,491,891
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 600,478

Last evening we went out for a walk on the beach. While making our way on the boardwalk to the beach, we came across this rainbow colored bird. Naturally we do not see such birds in Washington, DC so we had to look him up. This is a painted bunting!
I think the amazing part of Kiawah Island is its natural beauty! Visiting here is therapeutic, and it is forcing us to slow down, take in the world around us, be more active with walking and bicycling, and of course appreciating the wonders of the salt air and sea. 

Outside our window this morning was a lot of turtle patrol action. See these trails? They were made by a mother sea turtle during the night. 
A close up of the turtle tracks! You can follow them up to the brush, where there is a white pole marker placed by turtle patrol. I can't imagine what it looks like when these eggs hatch and the little ones trail out to sea. 
This morning we took a 10 mile bicycle ride on the beach. Kiawah has hard packed sand, making it a lot easier to bicycle ride on the sand. Certainly it isn't as easy as pedaling on pavement, but it is very possible, especially when peddling with the wind. Peddling against the wind is a total work out! 

We rode all the way up to the end of the beach, where the Kiawah River meets the ocean. It is very secluded on this part of the beach and it isn't unusual to see these cute birds, the piping plovers. 

The beauty of the ocean. Another interesting fact about Kiawah is that you can wade out at least 100 feet in the water and still stand. This makes it a very unusual beach in my opinion, which is most likely why parents of small children love it. 
I love laughing gulls. When they squawk it sounds like laughter.  
Another favorite sighting of mine are pelicans. I love watching them fly over our balcony. These wonderful birds don't seem to come up any further north than North Carolina. 
Yesterday I mentioned to Peter that I hadn't seen any bunnies! I then wondered whether there are bunnies on the Island. Almost on cue, this fellow popped up. 
This is the part of the beach that we bicycled to today. As you can see it is very remote and pristine. Almost no footsteps on the sand. 
Peter standing in front of the area where the Kiawah River meets the Atlantic. What you can't tell from the photo is how HOT it is. It is 74% humidity and in the upper 80s. It is very easy to get overheated here, which is why between activities we have to get back into air conditioning and return to equilibrium. 

Meanwhile, last night there was an intense rain storm with lightning and thunder. Another light show over the water. While this was happening, I got a phone call from Sunny's boarding facility. Apparently he is on a hunger strike and they are concerned. Of course Peter and I know that this is just Sunny. He is a sensitive fellow and though he loves to eat, when he is stressed out and anxious, he refuses food.