Wishes Come True!

These are the trips and experiences Ben’s been able to have thus far, thanks in large part to friends, family, strangers, his hardworking siblings fundraising, and our community:

– A bakery that makes yummy food, “mostly croissants and pastries.” He also wants to see how people decorate fancy cakes. (Thanks to Kim from Scribbles Cakes and the Ritz Carlton – Orlando for letting us learn from you!)

– Harry Potter world (CHECK! Thanks to an amazing anonymous sponsor!)

– an Apple Store (CHECK!! It was incredible, go read the story!!)

– Food Network kitchen. I know, I cannot believe this happened!!!

– Baylor where he was born. He said he has, “Lots of good memories of that place.” That made me cry. I’m glad he has happy memories of a place I couldn’t see without crying for years.

– a farm to see chickens, cows, horses, and goats. (I think Meg’s place counts, as he played with goats and chickens! But she didn’t have a cow. 🙂 ) Update: We visited a camel farm and Sharkarosa and it was so neat. Plus, we found a BRAND new cow! Update II: We now own chickens! They happily wander the yard around our playing kids.

– Also food related, he wants to see how ice cream is made. He is so my child… (Thank you, Cold Stone and Afrah!)

– use a microscope to see tiny things (a microscope arrived in the mail!!)

Six Flags!

– a cave (Thank you, R&R Travel for sending us to Natural Bridge Caverns! We also made it to Carlsbad Caverns!)

– The Alamo & Riverwalk since we’ve been studying Texas for our homeschool

– the zoo (Check –Dallas Zoo for his birthday!

– Chuck E. Cheese: Hmm… this seems hunger driven rather than vision related. (Ben defended this wish and said the older two kids went and talked about all the cool things they saw so he wants a turn to go!)

– How they make tortillas. (This boy loves food, and one of his vision helpers is teaching him “Cooking without Looking.” Thus all the food related wishes.) Thank you Frontier & Chuy’s!

– a video game company, like Nintendo (which I said wasn’t realistic but a local company got in touch!)

– related to that, a chance to play video games was offered, along with a delicious lunch at BFD in Flower Mound

– the “pet rock” museum (He meant Perot science museum – which we saw today, thanks to a generous membership gift donated through a friend!!)

– the beach (He says near where C was born in LA, but we hope to visit Gulf next spring as that’s several days’ drive closer!) We made it to Galveston! AND Florida AND California!!

– a planetarium (Check – UNT star party he did in November!!)

– A movie theater (One of our other children is upset by the idea that someday we may have family movie night at home and Ben won’t be able to see or know what’s going on if it’s a new movie. The other kids are really struggling with this, too. 🙁 Someone gave us movie passes so we went to go see Frozen!)

– NASA: Oh, NASA made this one come true beyond his wildest dreams!!!

– a place where they make books (Not just a book but a Doctor Who book!!!)

– a play on the stage: Ben got this dream times TWO! The DCT invited him to see Hello, Dolly! and then we were able to see Beauty & the Beast in Dallas! They were both incredible, you should go read about those stories.

– a water tower up close: Possibly his weirdest and most random wish, and it came true thanks to the Mustang SUD!

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!

– NEW YORK CITY!! Katie Couric’s show flew us up for a beautiful visit, and we’ll be posting details and photos to come (along with the video.)

Fort Worth zoo – it was fantastic!

– a comic book store – in NYC!!

– the mountains

– the desert (Arches National Park during Utah trip in spring.)

– Albuquerque, because of the Weird Al song. (Kit is the reason our kids are Weird Al fans, for which I tease him whenever they burst into simultaneous song in the back of the van – we’ll catch Albuquerque on our way back from Utah.) Here are links about our time there: KOAT, KRQE, and KOB

– a candy factory

Legoland

– Other animals: penguins, fish, turtles AND tortoises, sharks (like hammerhead sharks), macaws (he had to spell that one for me.) Parrots, hedgehogs, a kiwi (the bird, NOT the fruit.)

– Under animals but this deserves it’s own post – gorgeous horses!

– A place where they make movies or shows, like Cartoon Network or a news show.

– some sports games

– The northern lights, he was fascinated by the pictures I showed him! (Thank you, Captain Chris & Alaska Airlines!!)

– Southern California: Los Angeles to see where his big brother was born & the ocean, but he’s also asked about movie studios, Legoland (thanks to The Doctors show!), and Disney.

– Family History spots: Where his parents met, where we got engaged, where we were married, where we went to college; where his grandparents met, their childhood homes, where they attended college. Also where his big brother was born (LA) and where he was born (BUMC in Dallas.)

– the Grand Canyon

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.

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

– 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. (9 degrees?? Yep, we got the feel!)

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!

– The Dallas Aquarium

Heard Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

– Doctor Who & Harry Potter studios in England

– 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.

– DC: Lincoln Memorial & the white house. We watched some of MLKs speeches and he was fascinated, both by the man and the memorial.

– sand dunes (Monohan State Park as the Sahara, his first request, is a bit far.)

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

– a Weird Al concert!!

Fort Worth Botanical Gardens because he heard about the koi pond! They are gorgeous, and the closest we may get the kids to Japan. We went in the fall when the colors were changing and it was stunning, Ben LOVED it.

In the works:

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

– 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.

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

Farmers Branch Historical Park because of the old pioneer buildings and general store. (Bonus, looks like it’s free?? Fall 2014)

– Similar idea, the Log Cabin Village in FW.

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!)

Contact info:

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.

36 Responses to Wishes Come True!

  1. Brooks says:

    This is a heart wrenching story and should make us all aware of how fortunate we are.Ben you are a strong young man!!!! Our family will be helping you achieve some of these goals.

  2. Jeremy Keith says:

    Iam a ranch foreman in stephenville. Would love for Ben to come to the ranch an ride horses. An see everything this working cattle ranch has.

  3. Beth Drennan says:

    Can’t he get an eye transplant? I know lots of people
    Would donate an eye. I know I would.

    Where would I send a donation to help?

  4. Heidi says:

    Beth, unfortunately only corneas can be transplanted, and thankfully Ben’s corneas are okay. It’s other parts of his eye that are the concern. Thank you for that suggestion though!

    You can reach us at heidi@thadenpierce.org or:
    Ben’s Wish List
    c/o Hobby-Q
    PO Box 2107
    Lake Dallas, TX 75065-2107

  5. Amber says:

    Do y’all have a Go Fund Me account or something similar?

  6. Clark says:

    I don’t know if Ben is into motorcycles but if he is I know the guys at the Harley shop would love to show him the bikes. I will even take him on my personal harley so he can get the full experience

  7. Clark says:

    I don’t know if Ben is into motorcycles but I know the guys at the Harley shop would love to show him all the bikes. I would even take him on my personal harley so he could get the full experience.

  8. Tracy Jackson says:

    I think the library still has passes for the museums, there is an Ice rink at the Parks mall in Arlington. I think half price day at the Fort Worth Zoo is on Wednesdays. As fort he concert thing, check with the people holding it they might be willing to help out. I hope this helps.

  9. Greg Douglas says:

    I see that Ben likes animals. We own 30 horses here in Cleburne Texas. If Ben would like to ride a horse and maybe pet our baby horse. Then I would like to invite him to come. If he can’t come here I will load my horses and bring them to him.

  10. Jessica Humphreys says:

    We live in Oregon, just 30 minutes north of California and 2 hours away from the coast. It’s not L.A. but we have 2 spare bedrooms if y’all are able to take a little journey this way.
    we also have mountain’s and volcanoes lol
    Praying for Ben and everyone evolved. ♥

  11. Cindy Carter says:

    We have a ranch in Longview, Texas. We have buffalo, cattle, donkeys. and horses. We have a nice lake that is full of stocked fish. We enjoy fishing everyday and would love more than anything for Ben and his family to come join us. We have a couple of dogs, Wyatt, our very large Great Pyrenees, and Mattie girl, whom you will fall in love with. We also have some riding trails…
    You and your family are welcome….

  12. Alissa Campbell says:

    I am so happy that Ben is able to have these great adventures! My husband is going blind as well. So I know your rush to see things before it’s too late.
    I noticed that Ben was able to see the play Hello Dolly in Denton. My husbands son who also has the same eye condition as his father was in that play. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

  13. claire henriksen says:

    We have a ranch in Bosque county. If he is interested in wildlife we would love him to come and see deer, turkey, antelope and maybe some dinosaur tracks!

  14. Mike Case says:

    I see you are talking about a Colorado trip in the spring. Has that date been set yet?

  15. Gloria Garcia says:

    May God bless you and your family, please let us know where we can send a donation for Ben to see the world…

  16. Jeremy says:

    Hi there – would love to help him see the world!

    Your update mentions a lot of folks have inquired about an online way to donate. By far, this would be the best way for many of us to help. Even with just a paypal account and a simple donation page – is that in the works? If not, let us know so we can help! 🙂

    Best wishes for Ben’s adventures!

  17. Ric Chavez says:

    We would gladly welcome you to Albuquerque!

  18. AliciaO says:

    Iceland in the winter. Friends went on their honeymoon there to see the Northern Lights too, they went in the winter so they could afford it. Young twenty-somethings just out of school, so major budget involved but they made it happen.

  19. Beth says:

    If you make the trip to Alaska for the northern lights you could stop along the way in Oregon/Washington to see the Columbia River Gorge with some amazing waterfalls (Multnomah Falls) also nearby is Mt Hood and Mt St Helens and further south in Oregon is Crater Lake (the deepest lake in the US & 9th deepest in the world).

  20. Heidi says:

    Jeremy, you are kind to ask! We’re waiting to hear back from PayPal re: donation restrictions (I do have PayPal at heidi@thadenpierce.org) but there are also two pages people set up to fundraise in his honor:

    Florida trip!
    InspireMore.com

    Thank you! -Heidi

  21. Denise Huddle says:

    A lot of museums can be viewed online. I think the Louvre is one of them. You should check them out! Ben could see some pretty amazing artwork! If he’s interested that is! Keep us posted on FB. If there is anyway we can help, people will surprise you. I want to help right now, but have no idea what I could possibly do.

  22. Denise Huddle says:

    Also near Azle is the Nature Preserve. Fairly cheap, with all kinds of wildlife. At the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History, there are all kinds of specimens we use in Museum School! Have you guys been to Museum School? Your pictures look SO familiar! If not, you could ask to see a lot of things, kind of behind the scenes. Space suit that was donated and has been on the Moon! Things like that. Good Luck!

  23. Troy says:

    I am not sure if Ben would be into it, but I am a training knight, and would love to do a knighting ceremony for him in full plate armor. I would provide him with a framed “scroll” to keep personalized. We could do it at a public park, and I have some foam swords we could gently play with as well.
    I am in the Bedford area, but will go around the DFW metroplex to do this for him.

  24. Justin Pamplin says:

    I notice on your web-site, it says “- New Orleans “Mardi Gras stuff” (not a chance! New Orleans – sure, but not at Mardi Gras.)”.

    I live in New Orleans and a great compromise is too take him to Mardi Gras World ( http://www.mardigrasworld.com/ ). He will be able to see Mardi Gras stuff without the stuff you are most likely worried about.

    And with New Orleans, do some research to find great things to do that are for children and families. A little research will help you find great places that families with children can have fun at.

  25. Rachel says:

    I truly hope that Ben gets to see and experience as much as possible!
    I have to say out of the places I have visited Savannah, GA is my favorite thus far. It is a beautiful city and close to the beach…we visited Tybee Island and went to the lighthouse. I noticed on the list of places you vetoed he wants to see the Sistine Chapel…the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Savannah is breathtaking.
    Another suggestion of someplace I would really like to go is the Olympic National Park in Washington. There’s mountains and forest 🙂

  26. Lee says:

    There is a fund raising site called GoFundMe.. I’m sure you probably have already come across that .. Just throwing in my 2 cents.. I think your son and your whole family is so amazing!

  27. Heidi Durbin says:

    Water, water everywhere…you’re going to get wet!! Ben and family, how about a fun day in the sun at one of the Hawaiian Falls Waterparks this summer? Please contact me so I can get you set up with some tickets.

  28. MichaelTLH says:

    Western North Carolina in the autumn, when the leaves are changing colors and the valleys and mountains are alive with reds and oranges and yellows. Drive up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway and see for miles. It’s amazing.

  29. RHART says:

    It’s awesome that you are able to make so many dreams come true! If Ben is interested in feeling the wind in his hair and flying with the windows open; I am able to help arrange a flight in a yellow cub. We are about 90 miles east of Dallas.

  30. John Givelis says:

    Saw Ben’s list for Mardi Gras and the obvious adult concerns. May I suggest Mobile Alabama instead? As the locals will (repetitively tell you), Mardi Gras started in Mobile, not New Orleans (they have a thing about that). It is considerable more family friendly, there are multiple parades throughout the week and nothing like the craziness that New Orleans is known for. My sister has been there with her children, 8 & 10, and we had a great time.

  31. Michele says:

    I saw that your kids are worried about Ben not being able to enjoy movies when he’s light-independent. There is a fix for that! It’s called DVS for Descriptive Video Service and my mom uses it constantly for her favorite shows. Wikipedia has a nice list of shows and links:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descriptive_Video_Service

    God bless you all.

  32. Tayana says:

    Dear Ben,

    You’re amazing! I’m really impressed about your history, and how brave you are.
    I’m from Brazil and 07 years ago I found out I had a serious problem on my corneas and I was transplanted. I was almost getting blind, and I must admit that I was desperate about this. I was 19, studying law and working. I couldn’t imagine myself blind, that’s why I admire you and your beautiful family, all of you been strong and trying to help you with your wish list on the best way it could be done. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with donations, but I’m going to prepare a mail with some pictures of beautiful places I’ve been (Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay….) and send you to show how beautiful some places you probably haven’t heard about are!!!!!!!

    Love from Brazil!!!!!!!!

  33. Ann Gormley says:

    Ben, hope all your wishes come true. Would be happy to offer you some where to stay when you come to England. We live in Richmond which would be ideal for travelling into London.

  34. Arne Tormählen says:

    Hope you’ll see all the places you want to see! If you want to see Hamburg-Germany, just send an email, you and your family are welcome at any time! All the best for you and your family!

  35. Mario Ernst says:

    I am a German living in Ireland and have just read about Ben on a German newspaper website http://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article138459590/Ben-will-alles-sehen-bevor-er-blind-wird.html. His story has touched me deeply and I would like to let you know that you are the best parents I have read or heard about in a very long time. Since 1993 I have been spending all of my vacations in Texas (about 40 times) and I just read that you are looking for a cave system for him to explore which is closer to San Antonio than Carlsbad Caverns. Take him to the Caverns of Sonora! It is the most amazing cave system that I have ever seen. I wish you all the best!!! Mario

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