Mattie went to bed around 1am. Before he headed to bed, he saw that I was preparing what I was planning on saying at The Mattie March today. I stopped what I was doing and I asked Mattie, if he was addressing the audience at the Walk, what would he be saying? Out of his mouth popped, "Oohh Gahh Boo Gahh!" Karen and I burst out in hysterics. Later he told me that this translated into "I Love You!" Very sweet. Karen and I continued to dialogue about this, and she dared me to deliver Mattie's statement at the Walk today. So I gave this dare some thought! Could I deliver this silly line? Would others find it funny?
This morning, I woke Mattie up and he seemed very excited about his walk! My mom took some pictures of us, and she snapped one of Karen and I.
Peter drove to the Walk ahead of time to try to help folks with the set up. When Mattie arrived, he met a preschool classmate in the parking lot and we walked into the event together. When we arrived, around 100 people were already there. To make a long story short, we estimate that there were around 500 people in attendance today. This was a walk that far exceeded our expectations. We want to sincerely thank Liz Chiaramonte, Walk Chair, Ann Henshaw (Team Mattie Coordinator), and Alison McSlarrow (Team Mattie Media and Communications Coordinator) for their incredible efforts. I realize these ladies haven't had much sleep all this week! We also acknowledge all the amazing volunteers and planning committee members for their hard work. I think what was abundantly evident is that our communities united today to support Mattie and my family. What an amazing gift to receive.
Right: Caroline (Mattie's Piano Teacher), Vicki, and Rev. Jim Greenfield (who delivered a beautiful opening prayer, Jim baptized Mattie in July 2002)
Left: Vicki acknowledging the social support staff at the hospital: Linda Kim (Childlife Specialist), Jenny Padden (Art Therapist), Jessie Masterson (Art Therapist), Anna Fragomeni (Physical Therapist), and Denise Garner (Social Worker)
Right: Everyone walking around the track in honor of Mattie. It was a very powerful force to observe. Mattie had a great time, doing wheelchair races and we can't thank Coach Dave, Robbie, and Brandon for doing numerous laps with Mattie. He LOVED IT!