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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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 26, 2021

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. Mattie was in the hospital recovering from lung surgery. That day we got Mattie out of bed, but he was resting in a chair in the room. The stuffed animal snake was given to Mattie by his cancer buddy, Jocelyn. The snake's name is Sunshine, and Sunshine remains in Mattie's room today. Jocelyn gave Mattie Sunshine, because she knew how much he enjoyed meeting a real albino snake at his 7th birthday, hosted by Reptiles Alive. 


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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,621,391 
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 603,885



Today was the first morning in a week, where I did not get up super early and head to the new house. Instead, we met up with my friend Margy's husband and daughter. My friend Margy died in March from ovarian cancer, and this is the first time I met her daughter. Margy was a board member of Mattie Miracle, and I am honored that her daughter will be taking her mom's position on the board. 

We headed to the house later in the afternoon. As you can see Sunny made himself at home. Fortunately the previous owners left us some patio furniture, because it is the only thing we can sit down on in the house.

I am very disappointed in the state that the previous owners left this house. Everything inside is grimy, bordering on dirty. This isn't just Vicki being picky, I am hearing this across the board from people coming in to give me estimates for services. I keep wondering how I did not see this when we toured the house! I blame COVID and the way potential buyers are shuttled through homes so quickly and in a way forced to make quick decisions. With more home buyers than houses available, the whole process was extremely competitive.  

At the end of the day, I believe the property speaks for itself. In the 40 houses I saw, none of them had the thoughtful landscaping that surrounds this house. 
Meanwhile, Peter and Sunny are spending the night in the new house. Indie and I are back in DC. Peter wanted to see what it was like at night, to test outside lights, and to get more demolition of closets and bathrooms done. Tonight he showed facetimed me lightning bugs, a huge toad on the walkway, and the sun setting. 

It is only week 1, and I am already worn out from this house. To me the whole thing needs to be cleaned from top to bottom, and unlike our smaller place in DC, where I could manage it all myself, this place is much bigger. So I need to rely on professionals to help me. Which is fine, but it requires patience and working on other people's time schedules. 

We are still working on getting estimates for services, so I feel like I am in a standstill with no solid plan in place. All I know is until every wall has been painted, wood floors restored, and tile floors deep cleaned and sealed, I am not moving! Once those things are done, I can live through bathroom renovations while living there, or SO I THINK!

June 25, 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. Believe it or not, Mattie was in a physical therapy session. To get Mattie to move his legs and build back strength, his therapist Anna, thought outside the box. She learned quickly that Mattie would engage with therapy if it involved a competition or unusual task. So shaving cream against a mirror fit the bill. 

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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,601,692
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 603,516


I told Peter no matter how busy we are, we have to take a few minutes each day and enjoy our backyard. As you can see Sunny hopped up on a lounge chair and made himself at home. It is remarkable how we are moving from an apartment to a house. It is our first house together, and I guess by waiting long enough, we are now at the place where we could purchase something that speaks to our desire to be close to nature. That was high on my MUST HAVE list. 


I am loving the fact that Sunny is so happy! He can spend hours checking out every bush, tree, and thing that moves! In our neck of the woods, wildlife is common to see. Really unheard of for this city girl!

We had more people over today, starting with an electrician, and there are LOTS of things to fix based on our home inspection. Though the previous owners claimed to have updated things, we are quickly learning that just was not true! In any case, we also had a radon test today as well as had our second painting quote. I can see having multiple quotes is important and keeps the competition on its toes. But the painting company today agreed with me, that the house hasn't been painted in over a decade, and boy does it show inside! I do not know how I missed this when touring the house. I chalk it up to COVID and how we had very limited time to spend in the house. It was the worst possible way to buy a house! Yet despite all of that, I do think with time and love, we will be able to restore this house back to the way it should be!





June 24, 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. We were in the outpatient clinic and while Mattie was waiting for his examination and experimental treatment, he was having a wheelchair race with Jessie, one of his art therapists. Honestly, Mattie's art therapists and child life specialist were all incredible women. They made a very scary place, the hospital, seem fun. Mattie was always eager to return to the hospital, and it was his decision at the end of his life to live his last days at the hospital. I think that says something about how special and loving his care team was to him. 


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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,590,360
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 603,149


Honestly if I went away on vacation, I can't remember it. Our days start super early and we do not get back to our home in DC until around 7pm each day. In the midst of this, Peter is working full-time, and I am trying to balance Foundation work. It is entertaining, given the new house doesn't have wi-fi yet! Which is a problem since we spend the majority of the day there. 

What was on the schedule for today? We started with a tile cleaning company who came to give us an estimate for cleaning all the tiles in the hallways and kitchen. The grout between the tiles, which used to be ivory is now black from dirt. So we dealt with that contractor, then we had our first painting company come and give us an estimate, and at the same time, the pest inspector came. It was like a three ring circus. In between talking and monitoring people, I am trying to line the kitchen cabinets, Peter is still weeding, and naturally I have Sunny in tow. Sunny needs to be walked each day despite having a backyard. He literally will herd me around the house until I finally give up and take him for a walk. 

I have no idea how in the midst of all of this, I did laundry, went grocery shopping, been cooking dinners and managed other chores. My list of professionals for the house is growing by the minute. Today we added HVAC, electric, and plumbing people to our list, as the house inspection found issues that have to be addressed as soon as possible. More people are coming over tomorrow and into next week. Then it is my hope that Peter and I can make some sound decisions so that in a month we can move into the house. 

For now, I am tired, and all aches and pains. We both feel like we are on overload.

June 23, 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. Mattie was recovering from his lung surgery and that day, we took him out to the hospital rose garden. A place we considered a special retreat from the noise and smells of the hospital unit. As you can see, we were like a caravan, with Miki (Mattie's hem/onc nurse) in tow. In fact, Miki traveled with us outside numerous times throughout Mattie's journey, and though you would think nurses wouldn't want the extra work of coming down several floors from the unit, they always gave 100% of themselves to Mattie and our whole family. 


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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,575,569
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 602,773


It was another full day at the new house. We left DC at 8:30am, and got back home at 7pm. We had an alarm system installed in the house today and literally ADT was over from 11am until 5:30pm. In the midst of that, we had a home inspection. The inspector was with us for about 3.5 hours. Peter and I did not like buying a house without an inspection, but given the nature of the housing market now, you won't get a house without waiving the inspection. Seems totally counterproductive and the inspector told us that this housing crisis is causing him to lose business. Mainly because not all homeowners who waive inspection, then get one after they close on the house like we did.

Nonetheless the inspection was very helpful, as we learned how some things work in the house, and we also learned all the things that need fixing. Thankfully they aren't major structural things, but trust me it is enough to keep us busy on top of everything else I deem we need to do. 

While interacting with everyone coming in, I also vacuumed all the kitchen cabinets, washed the interiors and exteriors of these cabinets with soap and water, and began lining all the drawers and closets. I even ran our first two loads of laundry in the new house. What I loved is one of the ADT installers told me that coming to our house is like going on vacation, because of all the greenery and the backyard. I told him that was the nicest comment to hear!

I did walk Sunny today in the new neighborhood and I am proud to say I did not get lost today (like yesterday!). Sunny is having a ball and truly loves having a backyard. Living outside the beltway provides us with up close encounters with wildlife. In fact on our walk today, a deer literally crossed the street right in front of us! The beauty of where we live is that it is easy to get onto major highways, and without traffic, I can easily get from our home in DC to the new home. Which brings me comfort to know that I am not far from the area where we have spent the last 25 years of our life. 

June 22, 2021

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 -- Mattie died 612 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2009. That day we took Mattie to a friend's house. She set up a big bubble machine and Mattie used the fly swatter he got at his 7th birthday party to pop all the bubbles. It was a few hours of normalcy in the midst of total chaos with his treatment and its various side effects.






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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,563,670
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 602,441


This afternoon we went to the house to do more work. We have our hands full with about a thousand things! Sunny came back on Monday from boarding very anxious, so he is trailing me around and is being extra demanding. So I decided to take him for a walk in the new neighborhood. Keep in mind that I am directionally challenged. Sure enough, I got lost and walked quite a distance away from the house. Peter literally drove to pick us up, that is how far I was!

Meanwhile, apparently Sunny found a box turtle in the backyard. I am a city girl, and all these new creatures put me a bit out of my comfort zone. We have frogs, seen deer in the neighborhood, and I believe based on the remnants, we have raccoons. I have now become an expert in raccoon scat. This fellow does his business right on our stone patio. It's at least a once a week occurrence.

We spent about four hours weeding part of the backyard. The previous homeowner clearly didn't do this and everything in our opinion needs to be cut back and shaped. 
We have piled of debris everywhere! This is only the tip of the iceberg really!
We will continue to do more, but it was a good start. It was easier to do this today because we had no contractors coming over. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we have back to back meetings with people coming over to give us estimates. 
Frankly you couldn't even see the fountain with all the weeds and vegetation. It is a beautiful backyard, and I think with our love and attention it will really thrive. 



June 21, 2021

Monday, June 21, 2021

Monday, June 21, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2004. Mattie was two years old and we took him to Boston to visit Peter's parents. That particular day we went to the Stone Zoo. After the zoo trip, we went through the McDonald's drive thru so Mattie could get French fries and a shake. For the first several years of Mattie's life, I sat in the back seat with him while we were driving. Somehow I felt that my presence was needed back there, and typically I was either playing with Mattie, giving him a snack, or just providing supervision. 


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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,553,434
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 602,069


Peter got up early this morning and picked up Indie from boarding around 7:30am. By 9am, we were ready to leave the apartment and we headed to Oakton to meet a bathroom designer/contractor. I honestly have seen so many HGTV shows that I feel like I have become part designer. Or at least I know what I want. We shall see if I have the fortitude and patience to get it! After meeting with the designer, we then went to pick up Sunny from boarding. Sunny couldn't wait to get out of the facility! In fact, he made a b-line for the door with Peter, while I stayed behind to gather his Tupperware of foods and other materials. 

Sunny spent the majority of the day at the new house. He feel right at home. You should have seen him greeting the locksmith and the ADT alarm fellow. As if Sunny has always lived here. He has taken to it like a duck to water. Needless to say, Peter and I had a very busy day that entailed no eating. By the time we got back to DC after 6pm, I felt ill. With a migraine to beat the band. Somehow I need a better strategy because we will be having many long weeks ahead with getting the house ready, packing, moving, and living through renovations. 

However, my hunch was correct! Not only do the bathrooms need to be gutted because they are not esthetically pleasing, they also are NO longer to code! As for the locksmith, he spent 4 hours with us. He wasn't pleased at all by the locks that were on the doors of the house. They were flimsy and thankfully he worked with us to correct that today. 

The former owners of the house mailed this wooden plaque to us. It says:


Home is where the heart is. 

The Brown's, Oakton, VA. 

Vicki & Peter, Established 2021




June 20, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. It was close to the Fourth of July and Mattie was on the beach of North Carolina dressed in his holiday reds. As it was Mattie's first trip to the beach, I think we spent about five minutes there the whole trip! This being one of those moments in order to capture photo documentation of our trip. I was into photographs when I was pregnant and thereafter when Mattie was born. In retrospect, I am so glad I did this because our photos capture precious times together that serve as constant reminders of our time as a family. 


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

  • Number of people diagnosed with the virus: 33,540,362
  • Number of people who died from the virus: 601,801



Peter and I had a hard time sleeping in the hotel's bed. It gave us a backache and we were tossing and turning for most of the night. By 7am, we had it and got up and ready. We were on the road by 9:30am headed back home to Washington, DC. 

It was raining the entire time we were driving in North Carolina. Thankfully the sun came out in Virginia. But we had a harrowing journey as there were lots of accidents and one literally right in front of us. A car spun out, flew over the barrier, and we were lucky that it did not impact us or cause a catastrophic pile up of cars. Literally after witnessing this, it triggered a migraine. 

We were in the car for about 4.5 hours today, after an over five hour car trip yesterday. By the time we were in Richmond, Virginia, I was ready to jump out of the car. But of course, I had to hang in there for two more hours. 

Driving through Richmond, VA. Traffic near Richmond was a nightmare. It was like driving in a parking lot. Thankfully we are home safely and as soon as I got home, I took migraine meds and anti-nausea meds. 

Not the best Father's Days for Peter, but I think he and I are both used to these holidays being challenging regardless of what we are doing.