If the thought of a little boy losing his sight at the age of nine really hits you where it hurts, then get out the tissues 'cause this one's a doozy.
Ben Pierce was a preemie baby, born four months early and with an eye disease called Retinopathy of Prematurity, which will eventually make him blind. Ben lost his peripheral vision last year and his parents asked him to make a bucket list of things he wanted to see and do before he loses his vision completely.
On that bucket list? Ben wants to go snorkeling, attend a Weird Al Yankovic concert, go to Las Vegas and explore the Redwood Forests, among other things.
Ben is far more traveled than any adult we know and quite frankly, has gotten to do some pretty cool stuff. He's headed to Mardi Gras, London and Paris in February. He's been to Legoland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. He attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (which sounds magical if you ask us). He's gotten to explore a candy factory and went to the mall for the first time to head to the Apple Store, which he said was "the friendliest place on Earth." We're not sure what Apple Store he visited but sign us up, because all of our Genius Bar appointments have been pure hell.
"But… But… How do they pay for all?" any sane person would ask. The family can't afford it all (a trip to The Great Wall of China was nixed) but thankfully there are still some good people in the world willing to donate money, airline miles or hotel bookings. If you're looking to donate, the family's website can tell you how to make it possible.
"Ben is aware of what's happening to him. He'll come into the room and say, ‘My eyes are changing. I see more spots. Everything is fuzzy,'" says Heidi Pierce, Ben's mother. "These would be visual memories that he would remember."
Here's to hoping he checks off every item on his bucket list before he's no longer "light dependent," a phrase his mom likes to use. Good luck, Ben!