SUPPORT

Spreading Hope to Children With Cancer and Their Families

Working with families from time of diagnosis through survivorship or end of life and bereavement care

  • We endow the Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, DC), and Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD) that pays the salary of a Child Life specialist at the Hospital.

  • We work with the Child Life staff at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Children's Hospital at Sinai to plan and coordinate activities for children who are inpatient.

  • We coordinate a free snack and item cart at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Children's Hospital Sinai for inpatient pediatric families, so they have access to necessities when they are away from home.

 

RECENT SUCCESS

$10,000 Coronavirus Family Relief Grant Program

April 2, 2020

Our thoughts are with you and your family as our nation faces one of the worst health crises of our time. The Coronavirus impacts our entire way of life and influences how we feel about our safety, security, and future. Yet can you imagine having to cope with this crisis and be a parent of a child with cancer? 

Children with cancer and their families face the unimaginable everyday, yet the Coronavirus has provided additional stressors on children with cancer and their families. Families are facing:

  • heightened anxiety about being at risk for COVID-19

  • job loss 

  • loss of health insurance 

  • financial hardships

  • treatments and surgeries being postponed

  • feeling disconnected from their child's treatment team 

  • stress when taking their child to follow-up visits and appointments

  • isolation from immediate family members because children with cancer are immuno-compromised (visitation restrictions allow only one caregiver in a hospital room)

  • fear when leaving home for essential items

  • helplessness and a lack of control

Due to these extraordinary hardships, Mattie Miracle established the Coronavirus Family Relief Grants at Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD). We have committed to donate $10,000 to the Hospital, so that families of children with cancer can get the financial assistance they need during this crisis. These grants will help families pay for groceries, bills, and other expenses.
 

Bridging Communications During the Pandemic

April 2, 2020

Mattie Miracle is aware of the heightened level of isolation children with cancer and their families are experiencing due to the Coronavirus pandemic. For the safety of patients, most hospitals have visitation restrictions and therefore only one caregiver is allowed to stay with a pediatric patient. This is causing families to be separated above and beyond the typical impact of cancer treatment. On April 2, Mattie Miracle donated $2,000 worth of items to Children's Hospital at Sinai to help unite families and friends and bridge the communications gap caused by the pandemic.    

The following items were donated:


Standzout Medmount Mobile Secure Tablet Mount (4)
Lovebox Spinning Heart Messenger (2)
Long Distance Friendship Lamp (4)

These items will use technology to enable children and caregivers to connect with brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and friends. We are committed to helping children with cancer and their families and we believe that the Coronavirus Family Relief Grant and these items to assist with communication are needed above and beyond the annual psychosocial support we provide. 


A message of thanks from Children's Hospital at Sinai:

Sinai Hospital and LifeBridge Health are enormously grateful for the support of the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Through the Mattie Miracle Coronavirus Family Relief Grant, they will make a tremendous difference for the pediatric cancer patients and families at Sinai, supporting them with financial and other hardships they are unexpectedly facing because of the virus. Vicki and Peter Brown know firsthand the isolation that children undergoing cancer treatment and their families experience, isolation that is now exacerbated by the increased precautions related to the coronavirus. In addition to financial support, they have helped to lessen that isolation by purchasing iPad/tablet stands, love box spinning heart messaging systems, and long-distance friendship lamps, which will use technology to help the young patients at the Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai stay in contact with family and friends. In a time of unprecedented challenges, we are proud to be able to accept their generosity on behalf of the pediatric oncology patients and families we serve.
 

Funding Full-Time Child Life Professional

February 28, 2020

On February 28, we donated $46,000 to the Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund at Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD). This fund pays the full-time salary of our child life specialist, Adina Levitan. Child Life Specialists provide evidence-based, developmentally appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation and education that reduce fear, anxiety, and pain for children and their families. 

Adina has been our child life specialist since November of 2018. In this short time, she has become an invaluable part of the treatment team. The story below, highlights the difference Adina is making in the lives of children and how meeting the psychosocial needs of children with cancer improves quality of life and health outcomes.

My daughter, A., is a spunky, likes to be in control, book and art obsessed 4-year-old. Her diagnosis of brain cancer came out of the clear blue and hit all of us hard in December of 2019. Going from normal life to hospital life was hard, especially for A. She was used to being active and doing things. Ms. Adina was one of the first people A. met upon being admitted for her port and G-tube surgery before chemo. A. instantly bonded with Ms. Adina and was so excited over the little surprises she would bring her. A. literally went nuts over the playroom and all the art she could do, a kitchen to play in, and tons of books to read. When A. was super sick after chemo, Ms. Adina brought A. art supplies to her room, movies, and was there for moral support. There were days A. would talk to NO one, including myself, except for Ms. Adina. She helped A. get through some very low times while she was super sick. She has brought various resources into A.’s room to help her cope with her hair loss. Books, gorgeous Disney princess crochet hats, and a bald Barbie to name a few. When I tell A. we have to go to the hospital for medicine, she starts to get nervous. But as soon as I say, “Ms. Adina will be there!” she perks right up, and tears dry. Ms. Adina is absolutely crucial to A.’s chemo journey and has helped her get through so much already. We are so thankful for her and the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation for providing such services here at Sinai. I can say for sure that A.’s chemo journey would be very different and much more difficult without this service. ~ Mother of a 4-year-old patient

Direct Psychosocial Support (April-June 2019)

Spring 2019

Adina Levitan is the Mattie Miracle Child Life Professional at Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD).  We are proud to support Adina's position as she enhances treatment outcomes and the quality of life for children with cancer and their families on a daily basis.  We welcome you to view our recent three month overview which highlights our funded child and family focused interventions.

Successful 8th Annual Item Drive

April 15, 2019

We are very grateful to all our supporters of the 8th Annual Item Drive.  You helped us make this community event a success.  Mattie Miracle received items from all over the Country through our Amazon Wish List.  All the items donated will go to help stock our Snack & Item Carts at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, DC) and Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD).  Our Carts provide candy, nutritional snacks, drinks, and toiletries free of charge to parents caring for a child with cancer and other life threatening diseases.  Check out some of the recent feedback we received:

1)  We are extremely thankful for the Mattie Miracle Snack Cart for so many reasons!  Not only for the yummy treats there are to choose from which, goes without saying, but for the happiness it brings just anticipating its arrival.  I can attest to the fact that my child knows the day of the week it comes around and it is truly something he looks forward to.  Being in the hospital for weeks at a time, there are only a few moments these kids look forward to and the Mattie Miracle cart has achieved just that!  THANK YOU for all that you do to help make a very difficult time go away - if only for a moment!” ~ MedStar Georgetown Parent

 

2)  I love the snack cart; the snack cart means to me that child-life and other organizations care about the patients and family members. It shows appreciation towards each family when a family doesn't have time to go get a snack. I am thankful for the snack cart because it is helpful for when a family runs out of toiletries. ~ MedStar Georgetown Parent

3)  Is there a way we can pay this forward. I am going to check the website! ~ Children's Hospital at Sinai Parent

4)  You are doing a beautiful thing. I've never seen anything like this before. It is pretty awesome! ~ Children's Hospital at Sinai Parent

 

5)  I have truly enjoyed offering the Mattie Miracle Snack & Item Cart to parents spending extended stays at the hospital with their child. The reaction to the Cart is overwhelming!   It provides parents the necessities such as toiletries they may have forgotten to pack as well as a variety of snacks and drinks.  I enjoy meeting parents and kids but it also gives me an opportunity to check on the child's school situation.  The Cart provides a foray into explaining and offering my educational support services to those who may be struggling with school decisions.  I look forward to taking around the cart every week! ~ Christine Anninos, MedStar Georgetown Hospital Education Specialist

4th Child Life Specialist Funded by Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund

December 2018

In July 2018, Mattie Miracle endowed its second Child Life Program Fund.  This fund will be paying for the salary of Adina Levitan, at Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD).  Adina is the 4th Child Life Specialist funded by Mattie Miracle since 2011. 

Learn more about Adina:

Hello, my name is Adina Levitan and I am the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Child Life Specialist at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. I am so excited about the opportunity to provide child life and psychosocial services to the hematology/oncology population in the children’s hospital.

My interest in becoming a child life specialist began at the beginning of my college career. Prior to beginning my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to spend several summers working in a camp in Upstate New York for children with cancer and chronic illnesses. I was drawn to working with these children and found I was able to connect with them in the midst of their medical experiences. I considered many avenues of pediatrics and healthcare before a staff member in the camp told me about being a child life specialist. In that moment, it felt like a light bulb went off and everything clicked into place.

I began volunteering at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital in Baltimore. I enjoyed being able to provide play and socialization for the patients who were staying at Mt. Washington for extended rehabilitation. After completing my undergraduate degree, I began my Master’s degree at Towson University in Child Life. During my graduate schooling, I volunteered at Johns Hopkins Hospital on the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit and Pediatric Oncology Unit. Simultaneously, I completed a child life practicum at Sinai Hospital. From there I completed two more practicums at University of Maryland and Children’s National Health System. The highlight of my child life training was my internship at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York where I completed two rotations in the PICU and Emergency Department.

After completing my internship, I returned home to look for a position as a child life specialist which led me to Children’s National Medical Center where I worked for a year in the surgery center. A part of me always wanted to come back to Sinai Hospital because it is close to home, both physically and personally. As the hospital in my neighborhood, it is the place where my friends, family and community seek care and comfort during times of crisis. Especially for pediatric patients, the motto of Mattie Miracle could not be more fitting—“it is not just about the medicine,” and as the child life specialist working directly with children and their families, I have already been witness to the importance of psychosocial services for pediatrics. Whether I am preparing a patient for a procedure or planning a much-needed play activity, my role extends beyond the medicine and focuses on the child and their desire to learn, play and understand their hospital experience.

A $45,000 Mattie Miracle

July 26, 2018

The Foundation donated $45,000 to Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD) to create an endowed Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund.  This is our second endowed Fund that we have established, as the first was created in 2011, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, DC).  To date, we have contributed over $245,000 to these Funds to support children with cancer and their families.​

 

The Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund directly pays the salary of a child life professional.  Child life specialists are pediatric health care professionals who work with children and families in hospitals to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness, and disability.  They provide children with age-appropriate preparation for medical procedures, pain management, coping strategies, and play and self-expression activities.  In addition, these professionals provide information, support, and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members.

 

In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Child life services should be delivered as part of an integrated patient- and family-centered model of care and included as a quality indicator in the delivery of services for children and families in health care settings.  We are honored to support Children's Hospital at Sinai and are proud to enhance their child life services so that children and families in treatment have access to such vital psychosocial care.

Family Snack and Item Cart

Mattie Miracle funds and stocks the Mattie Miracle Free Family Snack and Item Cart at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, DC) and Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD).  The carts revolve around the inpatient pediatric units and offers free snacks, drinks, and toiletry items to parents and caregivers of children who are unable to leave the units and get their basic needs met while caring for their children.  On average, we donate over $10,000 worth of items to the carts per year.  The Carts are supported by 110 individual donors, 35 schools, and  40 businesses and organizations. 

The Foundation runs two successful item drives within the community every November and April to stock the cart. In November we collect around 15,000 pounds of post Halloween candy which is distributed to the following hospitals and organizations:

 

  • Children's Hospital at Sinai, Baltimore, MD

  • Children's Inn at NIH, Bethesda, MD

  • Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC

  • Hackerman-Patz House, Baltimore, MD

  • HSC Pediatric Center, Washington, DC

  • MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC

  • Pediatric Specialists of Virginia (PSV), Falls Church, VA

  • Ronald McDonald House, Washington, DC

  • Ronald McDonald House, Falls Church, VA

  • Ronald McDonald House, Baltimore, MD

  • Special Love, Winchester, VA

  • Cornerstones, Reston, VA

  • Covenant House, Washington, DC

  • Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Reston, VA

  • Nourish Now, Rockville, MD

  • Sasha Bruce, Washington, DC

  • St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth, and Families, Hyattsville, MD

  • United Community Ministries, Alexandria, VA

Child Life Specialist Funded by Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund

Mattie Miracle is proud to be funding Morganne Bovee at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.  Morganne will be working with children and families on the weekends.  Prior to establishing this position, the Hospital's playroom was closed to children on the weekends and children and families did not have access to a specialist to help them normalize the experience of living within a hospital setting as well as participate in social and creative activities on the weekends.

Learn more about Morganne:

Morganne was a college student volunteer at The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital when she first discovered the field of Child Life.  As someone who was passionate about serving children, and already involved in her campus’ Dance Marathon (a nation-wide  student-led philanthropy that benefits pediatric oncology patients and families) she was immediately interested in learning more about the profession and its unique role in providing psychosocial care in the hospital setting.  Morganne graduated from the University of Iowa with degrees in Therapeutic Recreation-Child Life and Psychology while also working as a Child Life Assistant.  After graduating in May 2015, she spent the summer as an Intern at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, NC and began her first job as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) at Inova Fairfax shortly after the completion of her internship.  Morganne most recently spent a year working at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center as the Pre-Surgery/PACU Child Life Specialist before deciding to obtain her Master’s in Public Health from the George Washington University.  The Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund pays the salary for this weekend position. Morganne is so excited to be able to continue working as a Child Life Specialist while also going to graduate school full-time. She is passionate about supporting children with chronic and long term health issues and working at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital reminds her of why she became a child life specialist in the first place.

Child Life Specialist Funded by Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund

Lerin is the most recent addition to the child life team at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and is directly funded through the Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund.  

 

Lerin serves a vital role within the Hospital, since she works on the weekends.  Weekends have historically been a time in which the Hospital's playroom has been closed, when there were no organized social activities planned, and most importantly children and families did not have access to the resources of a child life specialist.  

 

A child life specialist is a professional who is specially trained to help children and their families understand and manage challenging life events and stressful healthcare experiences.  These specialists are skilled in providing developmental, educational, and therapeutic interventions for children and their families under stress. 

 

Mattie Miracle is happy to be working with Lerin and to have her as part of our team.

Endowed Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

In 2011, the Foundation created the Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. For three years the fund supported a child life specialist position who assisted over 3,500 children and families on scan and procedure days. Scans are done periodically during treatment to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and the progression of disease.

 

Prior to funding this professional, many children and families at the Hospital navigated the Hospital system on these anxiety provoking days alone. Therefore, parents were left to entertain their children, manage their children's anxiety, and their own as they waited for the procedure to be done. In addition, families also received scan results alone without the support of someone there to assist them with the news (e.g., such news could be that the cancer has spread or returned).

 

Mattie Miracle's yearly contribution to Georgetown enabled the psychological and social needs of children with cancer and their families to be effectively met. This position has now been subsumed by the Hospital, which enables us to support a child life weekend position. 

Social Diversions --- Chocolate Therapy Workshop

Mattie Miracle understands the need for social and emotional diversions while enduring treatment and throughout all stages of one's cancer journey. The art of doing an activity while also talking and connecting with others is a forum that resonates with us.

 

Mattie Miracle teamed up with Alexandria, VA chocolatier, Robbin Warner, and found that chocolate therapy was a fun filled workshop at the Pediatric Lombardi Clinic of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Kids of all ages and their parents enjoyed the event and it was wonderful to see smiles everywhere! The smell of chocolate filled the air, it was intoxicating, and set the tone for a tasty distraction. 

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© 2019  MATTIE MIRACLE CANCER FOUNDATION.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation

P.O. Box 6485
Arlington, VA. 22206-0485

A 501(c)3 Public Charity

EIN: 27-1238358