Ben’s story by Janet St. James aired on Wednesday at 10pm. There are been several ads running for the story on the radio and television so we were getting messages all day long from family and friends hearing it! Then the emails began… and they have not stopped. 🙂
This is the original video.
When we woke up we were greeted by an inbox flooded with emails, Ben’s Wish List page on Facebook had gone from a hundred or so Likes to several hundred (and now thousands), and there were a ton of personal messages for us as well. The entire day we were getting more, and the ones that made me laugh were friends and family literally across the nation saying, “I just saw you on the front page of CNN!” or “Why are you on the front of USA Today?” or “You’re on the news in California!” It was spreading near and far!
This is the follow up when Janet brought us into the studios to share what the reaction had been.
SO, we’ve not caught up! We woke up Thursday to such a tidal wave of support that while we’ve done our best to read every single email, we’ve not been able to answer them all yet! It may take awhile, and we really apologize. I like to have messages answered quickly so knowing I cannot possibly respond to everyone right away makes me antsy. But for some reason these six kids of mine still want me to feed them and play with them and thus, the emails and messages wait. 😉
Please know in the meantime that we have treasured every single one of you taking the time to write and share your support, suggestions, inspiration, and generosity. Words are failing us because while we knew we lived in a great community, while we treasure our fantastic village of people, we hadn’t anticipated Ben’s story being shared so far and so wide. (The messages from abroad began Friday morning!) We’ve been warned, multiple times, that we should avoid reading any comments on websites with our story because often there are internet trolls being hurtful. While I’ve not even seen all the websites on which the story was shared, the comments I have read are all kind and loving and incredible.
We think our kids are pretty fantastic, of course. We believe Ben’s story is miraculous, but we had never, ever imagined that sharing his wish list would lead to this.
There are amazing things in the works and we will be sharing them along the way. I promise we WILL catch up with the inbox and in the meantime, if you have sent something and we have not responded yet but you feel it’s time sensitive then PLEASE feel free to send it again to firstname.lastname@example.org as that’s the best way to catch me.
Also, we will be updating Ben’s Wish List as they are fulfilled. For some of his wishes we’ve been sent a couple opportunities and we’re trying to make sure that everyone is told THANK YOU, but that we’re not accidentally duplicating efforts when everyone is being so generous. I apologize that the page is not updated yet – until I finish the inbox I’m not sure what the status is for some things. If you’ve sent a message to help with one of Ben’s wishes please know how grateful we are, and we promise we will respond ASAP!
2 thoughts on “THANK YOU!”
I have read many ?(but not all) of the suggestions of places Ben should see. Before I go on let me add that my grandmother, who was a school teacher, went blind when I was five or six. I am now 71. So I while I was very young I have experienced blindness in my family. There are many beautiful places and sights in this world that Ben should enjoy, but as Ben grows, and becomes an adult, and sets out upon a life of his own, he should know something more of the world than just its beauty. You live in Texas; I suggest a trip to Mexico, to the more rural areas; a trip to a working farm or ranch in Oklahoma or Kansas; a coal mining town in West Virginia; a factory in Ohio. There are other places more difficult to reach, but still places that would give Ben a fuller knowledge of the world he lives in. As parents (I am the father of 3 who are now adults) we want the best for our children, and we want to protect them from harm and from worry, but all to soon they grow up and then must face the world as they find it. I was blessed to have the ability to show my children many wonderful sights as they were growing, and I would not want to take any of those away from them or from Ben, but if the goal is to give Ben a visual memory, I feel it should be as complete as possible.
You may want to check out Beyond Vision: The Story of a Blind Rower. It was written by Victoria Nolan, my wife. Her website is blindrower.com.
On a side note, I would say this to Ben: when my son was about five he looked at his mom (who is blind), and said to me, “Dad, I don’t want to go blind like mom.” I pointed out to him that there are way worse things than being blind…he agreed, and said, “yeah, like being bad.”