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.
In 2021, we established the M&M (Margy & Mattie) Wishes program in memory of our board member, Margy Jost. This program will provide family grants up to $1,000 to support a fun family activity, trip, or a wish list item for a child with cancer.
M&M (Margy & Mattie) Wishes Program Established
On March 28, Mattie Miracle lost a board member and incredible supporter of the Foundation to ovarian cancer. Margy Jost will be deeply missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and the countless childhood cancer families she supported over the last 20 years. Margy understood that childhood cancer IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE MEDICINE!
Mattie Miracle is committed to keeping the legacy of this extraordinary woman alive and has created a new program in her memory called, M & M (Margy and Mattie) Wishes. M & M Wishes will offer a grant of up to $1,000 to 10 to 15 families each year. Grants are intended to support a fun family activity, trip, or a wish list item for a child with cancer.
The M & M Wishes program will be funded from the annual Walk Team created in Margy's memory. Join the M & M Wishes walk team, and help us raise funds in memory of Margy. Over the years, Margy granted many mini-wishes to children with cancer and this new program will continue her legacy.
6 Months, 1 Cart, & 300 Patients Served
In September of 2015, Mattie Miracle launched its first Snack and Item Cart at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. The Co-Founders of Mattie Miracle understood from personal experience how important it was to have access to snacks, drinks, and toiletries while caring for Mattie in the hospital. They received these daily gifts for 14 months from their support community. After Mattie died, the Foundation decided to continue this tradition but on a grander scale. Mattie Miracle now operates two Snack and Item Carts and together these Carts serve 2,500 families a year.
Carts offer snacks, drinks, and toiletries free to families caring for children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Over the last six months at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, the Cart has served 300 families and has provided 700 pieces of candy, 655 snacks, and 495 toiletry items.
Mattie Miracle hosts two community drives a year, and the donations from individuals, schools, businesses, and community organizations enable us to stock our Carts so that we can continue to meet the psychosocial needs of families caring for children with cancer.
Lyn Knowles (Clinical Nurse Manager at MedStar Georgetown) shared a message with us about the Cart:
"During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, our parents are quarantined to their child’s hospital room. The look on parent faces when offered items from the Mattie Miracle Snack & Item Cart is heartfelt. The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation has helped our patients and families through so much over the years, and now, more than ever, they continue to bring joy to our pediatric families."
Consider supporting our Carts by donating items. Check out our wish list below.
755 Patient Interventions
July to December 2020
Mattie Miracle is proud to fund a full-time child life professional, Adina Levitan, at Children's Hospital at Sinai in Baltimore, MD. Adina understands that childhood cancer IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE MEDICINE, and represents the Foundation's mission beautifully.
Certified Child Life Specialists generate positive behavioral, psychological, and physiological outcomes through individualized interventions with pediatric patients. They implement an array of play-based, coping-focused techniques shown to ameliorate pain, lower anxiety, reduce distress, and increase satisfaction with - and loyalty to - institutions of care. Children demonstrate fewer behavioral disturbances during and beyond medical encounters when receiving comprehensive preparation, procedural support, and coping skills education, all of which are associated with accelerated healing.
In a six month time period, July to December 2020, we are proud to report that Adina directly assisted children and their families by performing 755 patient interventions. The interventions fall within 12 categories, and the percentages indicate the number of children receiving each intervention:
Normalization/Play - 22%
Emotional Support - 19%
Introduction to Services - 18%
Parent Support - 15%
Procedural Support - 7%
Procedural Distraction - 6%
Psychological Preparation - 6%
Therapeutic Play - 3%
Diagnosis Education - 1%
Sibling Support - 1%
Memory Making/Legacy - 1%
Bereavement/End of Life - 1%
We invite you to read the Association of Child Life Professionals' full scientific report on the importance of child life specialists.
575 Families Served
July to December 2020
Mattie Miracle launched its Snack & Item Cart at Children’s Hospital at Sinai in Baltimore, MD in March of 2017. The Cart offers free snacks, drinks, and toiletry items to all inpatient families caring for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. It Is difficult for parents and caregivers to leave the bedside to get their basic needs met while caring for their children. On average, Mattie Miracle donates over $10,000 worth of items to our Carts per year and the Carts are supported by 110 individual donors, 35 schools, and 40 businesses and organizations.
From July to December 2020, the Mattie Miracle Snack & Item Cart provided: 1) 846 snacks, 2) 11,343 pieces of candy, and 3) 373 toiletry items to 575 pediatric families at Children's Hospital at Sinai.
Committed to Direct Support
The Foundation donated $46,000 to Children's Hospital at Sinai (Baltimore, MD) to support our 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 $300,000 to these Funds to directly support children with cancer and their families.
The Mattie Miracle Child Life Program Fund pays the salary of Adina Levitan, a child life professional at Children’s Hospital at Sinai. Adina works one on one with 200 patients and families a year and through the Mattie Miracle Snack & Item Cart, provides snacks, treats and toiletries annually to 1,500 families caring for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
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.
Child life services are associated with improved quality, outcomes, and patient and family experiences as well as decrease costs in pediatric care. There is evidence that child life services help to contain costs by reducing the length of stay, decreasing the need for sedation and analgesics, and increasing patient satisfaction ratings. Patient experience data and interdisciplinary team member feedback further confirm the positive effects of child life programs on children, families, and staff.