Wishes

Want to read about the wishes that have come true? See that list here!

When we received the news that his eyesight had changed so dramatically we immediately began Ben’s wish list. What did he want to see, where did he want to go, what could we help him experience visually before he lost more sight… One of his therapists explained that as he gets older it will be easier for him to describe things and interact with the sighted world if he has memories of things – like snow, she said, or the ocean or a mountain. And of course beyond the practical logistics of it, we wanted to help Ben have the emotional experience of witnessing this wild and wonderful world!

Some of what Ben wants to see isn’t realistic, either because of practicality or finances. But we still want him to share all his dreams – if it’s something we can’t see in person we’re looking up places online to see videos or photos. Almost every day he pops into our room after bedtime and says, “May I see a photo of a glacier?” or “Can you show me Mount Rushmore?” or “I want to see the Sistine Chapel.”

It takes all my self control to not cry every time he asks me to show him these things.

Anyway, some of Ben’s list makes me laugh – like the Apple store. Others have me curious (a bike store, or chalk under a microscope??) While we can’t make it all happen, here’s his list of things he hopes to see and experience while he still has as much eyesight as possible.

UPDATE: Here’s the consolidated version of what is remaining:
- redwood forest/northern California
- southern California
- Las Vegas
- Mardi Gras somewhere (mom said probably NOT in New Orleans)
- Parthenon & Athena statue in Tennessee
- sand dunes
- Great Wolf lodge
- toy factory
- skiing
- snorkeling

Ben’s Full Vision Wish List (non-local):

- Doctor Who & Harry Potter studios in England: (TICKETS BOOKED!)

- Also in England: the Globe theater (we’ve read several of his plays in kids’ versions), London Eye, Big Ben (of course! Ben!) then the Roman Wall (he read about it), Van Gogh’s sunflower, and Tower Bridge.

- While we’re over there anyway (and he’s dreaming big) he added Paris, to see the Louvre & Eiffel tower. Those were his two main requests but I’m sure we would go see more! (TICKETS BOOKED W/ENGLAND TRIP!)

- the Grand Canyon (WISH GRANTED!!)

- The northern lights, he was fascinated by the pictures I showed him! (WISH GRANTED!!)

- DC: Lincoln Memorial & the white house. We watched some of MLKs speeches and he was fascinated, both by the man and the memorial. (WISH GRANTED!!)

- Southern California: Los Angeles to see where his big brother was born & the ocean, but he’s also asked about movie studios, Legoland, and Disney.

- Northern California: the Golden Gate Bridge & the Redwood Forest

- Las Vegas

- snorkeling

- Parthenon in Greece (There is one in Kentucky! Not Kentucky, Tennessee! The friends we have near there are in KY, thus my confusion. And that’s WAY closer than Greece! I know it’s not the same, but we’re working on a budget. :) )

- The Food Network kitchen with all the cooking people. (He LOVES cooking shows, his “most favorite” is Cupcake Wars, but he also loves Worst Cooks in America and Iron Chef. And Chopped, and… he kept going, I just stopped typing.) :)

Local Wishes:

- Children’s Aquarium in Fair Park, because Ben asked if he could touch sea life and we said we didn’t think it was possible. Apparently there you can! (Happening fall 2015!)

- Fort Worth Museum of Science & History because he heard there was more than one science museum in the area and he adores the Perot. (GRANTED!!)

- Fort Worth Botanical Gardens because he heard about the koi pond! I’ve not been in the Japanese gardens but I hear they are gorgeous, and the closest we may get the kids to Japan. (GRANTED! We’ll visit in the spring to see the cherry blossoms.)

- a waterfall (GRANTED!)

- Africa (he said the Sahara, the pyramids, and a safari) A friend suggested instead we look at Fossil Rim park for a North Texas version of a safari. (GRANTED!)

- The Dallas Aquarium (GRANTED!)

- Heard Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary GRANTED!

- a bike store (The inside. As opposed to the outside? He wanted me to include that – the INSIDE of a bike store.) GRANTED!

- a Weird Al concert which WILL happen as soon as I do better research and find a show relatively close. :)

- sand dunes (We’re hoping to visit Monohan State Park as the Sahara, his first request, is a bit far.)

- a toy factory (He says he likes seeing things made.)

- Great Wolf Lodge waterpark in Grapevine, after hearing about some friends staying there. I let him watch the videos of riding inside the watersides and he thought that looked so cool!

- ice skating (We skated in Albuquerque and he fell in LOVE, we’re now looking for local options to get a family membership pass which is surprisingly hard to find!)

WINTER WISHES:

- skiing (I’m nervous about this one but we’ll try to make it happen with a helmet. And bubble wrap.)

- Christkindlmart! We can’t get to Germany but I’m so excited to share that with the kids, one of my happiest childhood holiday memories. I told him about the twinkling lights and how beautiful the booths are at night. There’s a free market in DFW.

- The Nutracker ballet, they watch the video each year but this December I want to take the older ones to see it live. (GRANTED!)

- Antarctica, which is not happening but someone said the ICE! exhibit at Gaylord may be a close second? :) They said it’s incredible and he may get an Antarctic feel, so we’ll check on tickets in December.

PLACES WE WANT HIM TO SEE
These are places we’ve not necessarily told him about/shown him online yet but we’re going to try and take the kids to see.

- Farmers Branch Historical Park because of the old pioneer buildings and general store. (Bonus, looks like it’s free??) GRANTED!

- Similar idea, the Log Cabin Village in FW. GRANTED!

- The Kimball for more art in FW but also for the building itself, suggested by his architect uncle.

- Fort Worth Water Gardens – I hear they are beautiful at night.

- The FW Modern, because it’s gorgeous and because when B was tiny and only home a couple months my sister babysat our big kids and Kit and I took a visit there with Ben and oxygen tank in tow for Kit’s bday. We stayed very isolated so no one would expose him to any bugs! We’ve not visited since, shame on us. (Plus I appreciate when the wishes are free, much easier to make them happen!)

- Bass Hall because someone said you can do a free tour and he can just see the beautiful building. GRANTED!

- Central Park in Frisco (another suggestion for lovely spots to take him.)

- Dallas Farmers market, big and fantastic! I think our little food lover would enjoy it.

The ones Mom vetoed due to practicality/finances BUT has been told she must reconsider because apparently Ben’s dreams have a way of moving heaven and earth to happen. :)

- The Great Wall of China
- Mount Rushmore (too long a drive) I’ll be brave.
- the Sistine Chapel (Maybe we’ll get to Italy someday!)
- Death Valley (too hot) We’ll pack water. ;)
- Leaning Tower of Pisa (See Italy above.)
- Roman Colosseum (Ditto – clearly we need an Italy trip.)

Update: I feel bad, because I vetoed some of Ben’s wishes and he then thought some others weren’t realistic and didn’t share them with us (like Germany and snorkeling.) So I told him DREAM BIG and tell us anything and everything! Okay, but I’m still not willing to do Antarctica. :)

So if you were losing your eyesight what would YOU want to see? We love suggestions! Truly, please share your ideas – even if we can’t make the trip, we can show him online the places you think are best. Leave a comment and tell us what Ben should see!

Ben’s Wish List
c/o Hobby-Q
PO Box 2107
Lake Dallas, TX 75065-2107

Ben and all the kids LOVE postcards so if you want to send one from your hometown or your vacation spot then they would be thrilled. It’s the next best thing to him getting to see those places in person.

Also, go give us ideas here for the NON-vision bucket list: what should Ben try later on that helps him focus on his other senses? We’re loving the fun ideas – it helps Ben get excited about all of the adventures to come when he’s no longer light dependent. (I love that phrase from Thunder Dog! Talk about giving a new perspective on life without sight.) :)

275 Responses to Wishes

  1. Gabriela Redin says:

    Hi Hiedi,

    My name is gaby, Im also an American, but live abroad in Florence, Italy. It just broke my heart noticing you crossed out the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, Leaning tower. My husband and I rent various apartments here in Florence and for us it would be an honor to invite you and your family to stay in one of our places. They’re all pretty small apartments, but somehow we can help you and the kids adjust. I think Ben would be amazed at visiting the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or the famous Ponte Vecchio or Palazzo Pitti or Boboli Gardens. Florence is a tiny gem, and yet its filled with so much history and art. I would love to give Ben the opportunity to see it all in person. Aside from Florence, the leaning tower of Pisa is only an hour away. You can also take day trips to visit Pisa, Luca, Siena and one more place I’d highly recommend you: San Gimignano, its literally like stepping back in time…I think Ben and the kids would love it :) Please write back, I just wish I can help you and your family in any way. As a child I also had a particular experience, it shifted my life completely, I am just grateful that I am alive.

    Cheers from Florence,

    gaby

  2. Debbie Skinner says:

    Hi – I have a brother who is legally blind and I have seen first hand the struggles he has had. He is fortunate that he can see some shapes and colors. It is not much but my husband and I would love to treat Ben and his family to the Ice exhibit at The Gaylord. Please let me know – it would be our great honor to do this for Ben. Thanks for sharing Ben’s story. I will pray for Ben and hope many of his wishes can be granted.

  3. Kathleen Mosher says:

    I was working on getting him access to Legoland and I see that they already contacted him before the show aired and took care of this. My next door neighbor works for them and he said they would be happy to. So glad this dream came true and he can cross it off his bucket list!

    Idea: How about cards…..people can make them and send him well wishes … he can receive them every day?

  4. Sue says:

    I suggest taking him to the lavender fields near Mt. Hood in Oregon. They are absolutely beautiful & smell amazing, so he would always be able to associate the smell of lavender to the stunning scenery. :-) And maybe you could see the Columbia River Gorge & Multnomah Falls while you’re there. Sending our best wishes to sweet Ben!!

  5. Susan says:

    I have seen Ben’s story and it breaks my heart. I have been to Italy and to Greece. I am originally from Illinois and moved to Texas a few months. One of the items I purchased at Vatican City was a miraculous medal. It is inexpensive and would love to send it to Ben. The daughter of a friend of mine was thought to be dying, someone pinned this medal to her blanket and she is now alive and well. I want to give Ben one of these medals to wear. Secondly, I want to send the post cards I have from Greece and lastly I have a souvenir small baseball bat from the Chicago White Sox, I have been saving it and could not think of a more deserving person to give it to.

    Susan

  6. MB says:

    Fossil Rim is amazing and worth the trip. So are the water gardens – I don’t often drive to downtown ft worth but every time I do I go walk around it and I’m just in awe.

    Have you considered taking him to the Ft Worth Stockyards? It’s a fun day trip, they have a cattle drive down the main road with longhorn cattle several times a day, and there’s an old vintage train that you can ride. Plus a human maze. And I think there’s a petting zoo.

    If you need a canyon closer than the Grand Canyon there’s also Palo Duro Canyon in Canyon, TX. The second largest canyon in the united states plus they have a really neat play there in the summer. When I was his age my parents took us on a big summer trip to Palo Duro, Carlsbad, the Painted Desert, the petrified forest, and the Grand Canyon.

  7. David Snell says:

    I also read of Ben’s interest to Visit New Orleans or explore some Mardi Gras related things so outside of flying hopefully we can fulfill some of this request as I own http://www.cajuncrawfishcompany and have many local ties to some Cajun restaurants he could visit the kitchens of plus see how we put on a real crawfish boil if he likes! Beads and beads to give to him plus a few tours of a few local Cajun kitchens Ben may take interest in?? Flying and cooking I hope Ben and his family will be able to find some time to go fly and then go eat at any number of Cajun restaurants we work with in all of his exciting upcoming adventures!! Thanks contact info sent in previous post home to hear from your family soon! Sincerely, David Snell, Starlightflight/Cajun Crawfish Co.

  8. D says:

    Idea: You mentioned Ben would like to visit Nintendo (in Japan) but there is also a US branch of Nintendo located in Washington. And Sony Computer Entertainment (produces Playstation) has a HQ location in San Mateo, CA. But close to your area is the GameStop HQ; its located in Grapevine. Although games are not manufactured there, it might be really cool for Ben to get to see the facilities, the marketing department, and the warehouse. Just a thought!

    The story on WFAA this afternoon was very touching. Thank you and Ben for sharing your story with everyone.

  9. Dean Ferguson says:

    I saw your note about Ben wanting to see sand dunes. May I suggest the White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico. It’s part of the White Sands Missile Range and within a fairly short drive of the Carlsbad Caverns (a cave?).

    Just a couple of suggestions from a native of Albuquerque. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

    Dean

  10. Patti Maxwell Hines says:

    Looking forward to see you at the Albuquerque Balloon party … look for the big parrot head. <3

  11. Katie Groves says:

    I read Ben’s story and it truly touched my heart not only what the he and family are going through, but that you all are willing to take him to these places all over the world is which is truly incredible. It’s still so amazing to see people with so much love in their heart

  12. Alicia says:

    I have not seen it mentioned, but Ben can visit the Blue Bell ice cream factory right there in Brenham, Texas. They offer regular tours and are not too far from you! My family now lives outside of Philadelphia, PA and if you would like some help in seeing our part of the country, let me know!

  13. Adam says:

    Havasu Falls. It is beautiful and it takes care of the Grand canyon as well. There is a helicopter to the town of Supai and the falls are another 2 miles away.

  14. Leigh Ann says:

    That’s so neat that you are able to give Ben so many visual experiences. I asked my 12 year old what things she would like to see in that situation and she said she didn’t know. She doesn’t do well being put on the spot. However, I know that now and at Ben’s age she would love to see any kind of a rocket launch and the rain forest. Indonesia has the highest rain forest canopy in the world and she wants to go there but would happily settle for Hawaii. Costa Rica would be better than Hawaii but Hawaii is probably cheaper.

  15. Leigh Ann says:

    For his non-vision adventures. If you can get a copy of Erma Bombeck’s book “When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, it’s Time to go Home” (your library probably has it) she has a column about experiencing The Grand Canyon with a man who was blind. He describes to her all the things he is experiencing. It’s really beautiful and shows how he enjoys something that most people think of as strictly visual. We talk about going to see The Grand Canyon. He felt and heard it.

  16. Miriam Mason says:

    The Waco Mammoth site is awesome. We finally went a few years ago. Not too far and just amazing! There is a natural history and science museum in Waco too by the college.

  17. Rebecca says:

    I’d suggest Niagara Falls……day & night so beautiful. Be sure to ride the boat into the mist. And then go across to the Canadian side for another country to add to his resume.
    Also Northern Lights in Alaska…July 4th is a great time to be there…glaciers galore.

  18. Raymond E. Conley says:

    Now is a wonderful time to view Jupiter and it’s moons, Mars, and Saturn with it’s rings all at the same time! You will need an armature astronomer with a decent telescope and knows where to find these wonders of the universe, and the timing will be very important, Jupiter is setting fast.
    Contact:
    Fort Worth Astronomical Society
    Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
    Olympus Mons at the University of Texas at Arlington
    North Texas Astronomical Society
    Lockheed Martin Astronomy Club

    Best Wishes
    Regards
    Raymond

  19. Michael Martin says:

    I don’t know if this was said but the Google building in New York is absolutely amazing. I live in Keller (real close to Fort Worth) and there is a Freddy’s with fantastic custard, it’s not visual but it sure is tasty.

  20. Erica Kitchen says:

    I live in the New Orleans area and have some suggestions for the Mardi Gras wish…
    1) You can still come at Mardi Gras and attend one of the parades in one of the surrounding cities that is a little more family friendly.
    2) you can visit in the weeks preceding Mardi Gras. We have parades on the weekends leading up to the big party.
    3) Visit outside of the Mardi Gras season and enjoy the city. Mardi Gras World in downtown New Orleans makes many of the floats for the parades and does daily tours. You can get up close and see how they are made. They also give you king cake at the end of the tour. If he likes history, this would be a grat opportunity to also visit the national World War 2 museum.
    http://www.mardigrasworld.com
    http://nationalww2museum.org

  21. Kiel Pratt says:

    Hello,

    I heard about Ben’s wish list, and I’d like to send some art I created if you’re interested.

    I made some unique, intricate math-based art on the computer using some processes I came up with, and it was pretty time-consuming but the result is a couple of interesting, black-and-white, richly-textured images based on the “Golden Ratio”. You can see different features depending on how close or far away you are.

    I’d just need an email address that can accept a couple of attachments of less than 2MB each. Hope you’ll all get a kick out of it! And I could explain more about the math in the email I’d send too if you like.

    P.S. – I also have a son named Ben and I’ll be interested in home-schooling him in the future too. :) (He’s 6 months old now.)

    Best wishes,
    Kiel

  22. Landon Deatherage says:

    If he is as interested an animals as I am, he should really check out the San Diego Zoo sometime!

    Also, if he enjoys traveling, you should take him on board a cruise ship! Carnival Cruise Line is one of my favorites! There are cruise that can even take you all te way to Italy, France, Bahamas, Carribbean …etc.!

    Hope some of my suggestions were helpful!!!

  23. Nancy Fischer says:

    I am a friend of Doug Baum.
    Have you considered the Galveston Mardi Gras? It is family friendly, but parades and floats are close in ambiance to New Orleans. Closer and nicer.

  24. Becky Alexander says:

    I know you are in Alaska because you visited our store today. How about the Ice Museum in Fairbanks so you can feel how cold 40 below is? It would be a great thing to do. Hope you all are enjoying Pleasant Valley and Alaska.

  25. Sandy says:

    Dear Family, I saw the recent story of the exciting visit in Fairbanks (I live south of there). What a family adventure for all of you and I am so tickled Ben is experiencing so much! It will all be unforgettable. I recommend, as one person mention Oregon, to Soos Fish Hatchery — go in September when they are collecting eggs. This year they’ll collect over 5 million eggs from salmon. I recommend Mobile, Alabama, the home of Mardi gras. But for a smaller intimate time, Fairhope, AL (outside of Mobile) has quaint happenings and fun celebrations. While in the area, you could go to the battleship USS Alabama (they have war planes, sub and other interesting things to do!). The Space Center in Huntsville is a dream!!! The other big suggestion would be to take a cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska if you would ever like to come back. The Inside Passage is totally different than the rest of the state! It offers something special — and it’s a garden of activities! I wish each of your family happy blessings and thank you for sharing how special Ben is!

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