Parents Take 9-Year-Old Son Going Blind on 'Bucket List' of Adventures (VIDEO)

Ben Pierce

It's almost impossible to imagine a world that is growing suddenly darker by the day, but that is just what is happening to 9-year-old Ben Thaden-Pierce of Denton, Texas. Born premature at just 23 weeks and a little over one pound, Ben was expected to suffer some vision loss over the years, but no one knew how severe the loss would be. The fact that he lived at all is a miracle.  

Once they realized how quickly Ben would lose his sight, his mom, Heidi, encouraged Ben to make a wish list of all the things he would like to see before his vision loss was complete.


Thanks to the efforts of an Alaska Airlines pilot, last week, Ben saw the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the first time.  

“They were amazing, like watercolors painting the sky. It was really pretty,” Ben told TODAY.

Ben has had some amazing experiences since starting his list. While some of his wishes seem more commonplace, like seeing how ice cream is made or watching someone decorate cakes, they make perfect sense once coupled with the thought of never being able to see them.

While Heidi Thaden-Pierce says they are working to prepare Ben for the day when he will not be able to see at all, they are also trying hard to fill his head with images he can remember forever. When creating his list, Thaden-Pierce encouraged Ben to "shoot for the moon," knowing that some of the adventures might happen -- and some may not.  

"(We say) look, you can still have this incredible fantastic life full of adventures, you’re just going to read a little bit differently, since you’re learning Braille, and you’re going to navigate the world a little bit differently, but this doesn’t have to slow you down," Thaden-Pierce told TODAY.

From an Apple Store to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and NASA in Houston, Ben's family is making every effort to make sure Ben's visual memory is full as well as encouraging a zest for life I am sure he will have for years to come.

While it's hard to imagine going blind, it's harder to imagine watching your child go through the struggle. To work so hard at uplifting a child facing a world of darkness is beyond inspiring. I hope every family can take a page from the Thaden-Pierces' book and take the time to uplift a child whether struggling or not.

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What do you think of this of this family's response to their son's condition?


Written for The Stir by Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Image via Today

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