Nine-year-old Ben Pierce may be going blind, but his worsening condition is not stopping the Denton, TX resident from seeing the world while he's still got time.
Ben's family has created an incredible bucket list of sights in an effort to jam pack his mind full of visual memories. He recently checked one item off his list thanks to an Alaska Airlines pilot: Seeing the Northern Lights.
“They were amazing, like watercolors painting the sky. It was really pretty,” Ben told the Today Show. He's also visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando and is itching to see the Grand Canyon.
But the one item his mom, Heidi Thaden-Pierce, immediately nixed? Mardi Gras in New Orleans, given it's "a little more adult-oriented" than she would like.
Though the trips have been joy-filled, Thaden-Pierce says the experience has been bittersweet. “I love watching his face and seeing his reaction. But it’s also a little bit heartbreaking to see it, knowing why we’re there," she shared.
Ben's condition is a result of his premature birth. Born four months early — and weighing only 22 ounces — he loses more vision with each growth spurt. He's already extremely nearsighted and incredibly sensitive to light.
“It’s hard for us as parents to comprehend and emotionally process. For a 9-year-old kid, it’s a challenge,” Thaden-Pierce said.
But although the future brings a great amount of uncertainty, Ben is focused on living in the now.
“He also told us he dreams about what he’s been seeing,” Thaden-Pierce told Today of her son. “He’s knows that he’s trying to store up memories and he’s working really hard to do as much as he can to cement them in his mind.”
To view Ben's full bucket list, head over to the family's blog.
Your life just got exponentially better and more stylish now you've signed up for our newsletter. Fabulousness awaits!