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 what’s remaining on his list of things he hopes to see and experience while he still has as much eyesight as possible. (You can read about the wishes that have come true here and they have been extraordinary beyond our wildest dreams, thanks to the stunning generosity of people near and far. (Thank you. Truly – it’s so inadequate a description of our feelings, but thank you.)

Update Summer 2018:

So, after much pondering and discussion and so much generosity and wonder… Ben says he thinks we did it. He got them all (within reason, see the unlikely ones below!) 😉 He got them all, he has experienced the extraordinary and miraculous and I tear up every single time I think about it, and think about the incredible people that made it happen. Ben talks about his memories from these wish trips every single day, and I think he will for the rest of his life.

He’s still making new visual memories, of course… but thanks to strangers and friends near and far, he’s lived a visual lifetime in just a few short years. Now he’s on to other adventures, big and small

Previous wishes Mom said aren’t so likely, but I still wrote them down to make him feel better:

– The Great Wall of China

– Death Valley (too hot!)

– Japan

– 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.) 🙂

395 thoughts on “Wishes”

  1. My heart bleeds for Ben. May the good Lord be always with you. My eyes are old, but I am willing to give them to Ben as a gift from God.

  2. OK…this is a strange one, but he won’t forget it. You can YouTube it…

    A baby being born! Maybe you could show him an animal birth if and when human is too much. He’ll beat most men some day because many can’t look. But he will have!


  4. If you’re going to Paris be sure and go in June during the music festival… the city comes alive with music, people, musicians from around the globe… it’s absolutely amazing. You’ll love it.

  5. Hi Ben & family!

    I just first have to say that Ben you have an amzing mother/ & . family! !! I know disneyland/world are what people talk about for kid’s, but i agree with northern California seeing redwoods & sequoia trees are so beautiful& hundreds of years old.

    -Go and see sports any that you love post (teams football basketball etc)
    -meet someone you look up too (look at the love in your parents eyes)
    -flower gardens/butterfly facilities science centers! Kansas citys nelson-atkins museum of art!a great art museum with incredible cultures in every step o and if in KC around holidays right across the way from the museum is the plaza(constructed parts are replica of spains cathedrals not to mention has beautiful festivities lights galore horse drawn carriages and any food you can (BBQ) imagine! The union station is incredible as well they have science city there too!
    -henry doorly zoo in omaha nebraska you will see most every animal you can imagine all in there own habitats white tigers aquarium you can walk underneath while looking up seeing the sea life all around you (its incredible) please google these if you get a chance!
    -little italy in New York
    -route 66 especially thru the turquoise trail in NM sw
    -theatres movies you must watch 3 amigos
    -Denver lookout mountain
    -North Carolina ashville the Biltmore estate
    -the entire east coast the caralinas Florida beaches Tennessee Appalachian mountains
    -im not sure if this appropriate or if you ever would want to think about marriage or babies but if one day you do, maybe your mom or dad could show you the birth of a child or the first time the baby eats idk im getting so emotional about this (im pregnant ) sorry if tmi i just want to wish you & family nothing but the best and to be well and love life everyday its so precious & yet so fast. Take care Ben see it all!
    – is there any way he could have an eye transplant?

  6. Parasailing over the ocean, or even in general it’s really breath taking.
    A trip to a rain forest, trips to the one in Puerto Rico can be decently priced during the off season.

    I hope he gets to see as many things as possible. He sounds like a very sweet little boy.

  7. If you’re going to Italy, you have to take him to see Venice. Also Cinque Terre, a collection of five villages on the Ligurian coast with hiking trails connecting them, just so, so beautiful.

    I live in South Africa and if you manage to get here, he should go to game reserve and do a game drive.

  8. This story touch me. I wish Ben can go one day in Japan, because it’s the most wonderfull place I’ve seen. Difficult to visit Nintendo, but I’m sure it can be amazing without that…
    The colors are differents, the lights, the smell, the sounds too… 🙂

  9. In Italia è tutto fantastico! Se riuscite a venire qui, consiglio di atterrare a Pisa così vedete la città. Purtroppo i mezzi di trasporto pubblici, anche se ci sono, non sono sempre affidabili e comodissimi e vi consiglio di noleggiare un’auto. Da Pisa poi è più semplice raggiungere con il treno Siena, Firenze e Roma. Da Roma si raggiunge facilmente Napoli, Pompei ed anche Capua (dove c’è il colosseo più antico al mondo, secondo per grandezza a Roma). Per quanto riguarda “alloggiare” in Italia, se siete credenti, ci sono diversi conventi religiosi con foresteria che offrono gratuitamente l’alloggio ed il cibo. Purtroppo in Italia non costa molto soggiornare e mangiare ma il viaggio aereo. Siete una famiglia di 8 persone e solo di aereo dall’America vi costerà tantissimo! Io comunque sono in Toscana, vicino Siena. Se vi servono informazioni, consigli, ecc contattatemi.

  10. Stacey, that’s not strange at all! As a birth professional (doula and midwife assistant) this is definitely something we’ve talked about with the kids! And actually Ben chose to attend the birth of his littlest sister, he was almost six years old at the time and I’m going to ask him what he remembers.

  11. Ben and family! I loved reading your story and all the amazing places you have been! My father lost his eye sight a few years ago. It was a hard adjustment but he does a lot of amazing things! Something he did recently and really enjoyed was watching the Talk in LA. He said he wants to go and be an audience member at talk shows whenever he can now he had so much fun =)

  12. Hello,
    What an incredible son & family you have. I know you were looking for ways for Ben to increase sensory awareness. I’m a children’s yoga teacher and child psychologist-in-training and believe yoga would be a great way to help achieve this goal! I usually practice with my eyes closed as this helps to increase internal awareness. I would be happy to teach Ben yoga personally or to guide you to some fantastic resources near you. Best of luck in reaching all your goals! Namaste.

  13. Weird Al is not on tour right now (as I am sure you are aware). However everytime I have seen him or met him at meet and greets he has been incredibly warm and nice. I posted a link to his fb page and told him to go on tour. Hope it helps.

  14. Hi Ben and family,

    you are in our daily prayers, if ever you make it to South Africa, we would love to host you at Ivory Tree Game Lodge for a few nights and let you experience and explore the sounds and sights of a African safari.


    Wynand and the Ivory Tree team

  15. Hi Ben, I just read about your story this morning. I live in Cape Town, South Africa. If you ever come to SA, I highly recommend Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (they even have an aerial walkway that you can take above the gardens), the cable car up Table Mountain and (one of my favourites) Butterfly World (butterfly sanctuary). There is a wine farm called Spier in Stellenbosch (not too far from Cape Town) where you can have an encounter with an eagle or owl as well. And if you are here, a game reserve and drive is also recommended. There a town a couple of hours up the coast called Oudtshoorn, and there you will also find some awesome places to check out: Buffelsdrift Game Lodge, for example, have 3 young elephants that you can feed, interact with and even sit on their backs – I think they even offer rides now. It is an amazing experience (done it twice, would love to go back!). Also in Oudtshoorn is the Cango Caves and the Cango Wildlife Ranch (sometimes the ranch has interactive session with tiger or cheetah cubs) – both highly recommended destinations (all of these places you can find on the ‘net too). There are stacks and stacks of other amazing places to see and visit here. I read that you like postcards, so I will try and send you one soon. And if you ever do come to the country, drop me a line to say hi and we can brainstorm some other cool places for you to check out.

    As for a suggestion for when you are no longer light dependant – dancing. I used to teach it (ballroom and latin american) and I often used to get students to close their eyes and really listen to the music. It is a wonderful way to enjoy music and express yourself at the same time. Just a thought 🙂

    I hope you get to do loads more on your bucket list! Good luck!

  16. One of the most amazing thing I have seen in my life is the Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace.
    The amazing blue color of the sea at the Grotta Del Bue Marino also marked me.
    Freundliche Grüße aus Sauerland,

  17. i would like him to see miracle!i’ll pray for him so that JESUS will touch his eyes and they will still seing till his old age. i tell the brave ben to just show his problem to someone whose name is JESUS,where ever u r he is,just close your eyes and tell his that you want new eyes and when you’ll open them wow

  18. Hi Ben, i’am Thibault from France. If you want to visit France , it will be with pleasure to show you my country where you want(i have some nice countries to show to you). You can send me an email
    Best regards

  19. Ben and Family, if you come to France to visit Paris and see the Eiffel Tower, we could help you and guide in this incredible place, after I can help you to go to the alpes to ski before going to Italy !
    Best luck to achieve your goals
    Bonne chance

  20. You are an inspiration. A brave mother and a brave kid. I wish you the best.
    I suggest you take Ben outside and do some charity like donating to poor people. Let Ben see the genuine smile and happiness of needy people when they get help. That’s a wonderful memory to keep.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  21. hello
    I live in China and i travel a lot
    I can send you pictures of my trip in Beijing, Hong Kong, shanghai etc… i can also asl my chinese students to share about their hometown

    I dont have Facebook in China and i dont use it so i don’t know how to contcat you but you you can send me an email


    From France and China

  22. Dear Ben and family.
    You are amazing!You are wonderful family!So supportive to each other.You story touching everybody’s hearts. Ben I have all most 9 year old son Daniel( his turning 9 in February) who like to travel very much and love to see different countries, art, palaces,mountains, forests ,wild life.He love this world like you Ben!We travel a lot in Europe( we live in France) and to South Africa(my husband South African). One of family favorite places in Europe is: Black forest in Germany and Neuschwanstein castle http://www.neuschwansteincastle.net/ ,Florance in Italy( sunset ,when you overlooking town!),Sintra palaces in Portugal.
    We live in very beautiful place you can look up lake Annecy http://en.lac-annecy.com/ .In summer we swim and walk in mountains,doing lots of sport activities, in winter skiing and going in small cafes for cup of hot chocolate with nice croissant. If may be one day like to come visit us in France we will be very happy to show you “Venice of the Alps” this nick name of Annecy.
    I must say South Africa is magical place.We love to go there and feel very sad coming back home.Two oceans meet there,red sunsets,game parks .Incredible feeling when you see beauty of this country.
    Ben we wish you to see all wonderful places you have one your list.You are one brave boy ! If you want to exchange travel experiences with Daniel, he would love to do it!

  23. Hi Ben !
    I will send you a postcard tomorrow, with my suggestions for your vision’s list of places
    you should see and things you should do, and my adress : if one day you want to visit
    my city (in France), I will be happy to be your guide !
    Have a nice day. Have lots of nice days.

  24. salut,c est vraiment courageux venant de la part d un jeune garcon et tres extraordinaire pour une mere! moi je trouve cette idées un peux trop fataliste.quand je pense que des aveugles ont été guerit par JESUS CHRIST.Ces miracle sont encore possible de nos jours.pour moi je souhaiterais,pour cet enfant un avenir ou il vera bien avec les yeux.
    Veillez donc en toute humilité, vous rendre dans un lieux de priere evangelique afin que cet enfant retrouve la guerison a travers un miracle que JESUS CHRIST operera.
    Merci de considerer mon message!

  25. Here are a some of my favorites: sunset on the ocean, whales in the ocean (aquarium visit in Monterey Bay? NewPort Beach CA?, the mountains of Montana and Wyoming, an eagle soaring in the sky, Mt. St. Helens, Yellowstone National park and all the geysers, flying in an airplane and looking out over the landscape, fireflies lighting up over a field, change of seasons and the leaves falling. A trip to Washington DC to see the Declaration of Independence, items at the Smithsonian, the White House, Lincoln’s memorial, and of course a trip to NY to see the Statue of Liberty!

  26. Another one that involves travel, but near the top of my list to see before my vision goes is one of the Bioluminscent Bays in Puerto Rico. Also on my list – a cruise (to take in the open ocean), watching all of the old episodes of Doctor Who, seeing a sloth in person (my favorite animal)!

  27. Weird Al will be in the TX area August 18-21, 2015. The closest to where you are is in Grand Prairie, TX on August 21, 2015 on Friday at 8 PM…Just thought I would let you know…hope the hubby and older siblings and Ben enjoy Mardi Gras down here! Dean Schouest had a jambalaya and fried fish plate lunch fundraiser today to help get Ben here for Mardi Gras and was interviewed for the Channel 4 news! Hope all goes well…God Bless…

  28. I am a longtime season ticket holder to LSU College Football Home Games. I have 4 tickets, 2 that my husband and I use for every home game. My other 2 are located 10 rows above where we sit and are purchased by my 2 friends who live in Maryland. They come do Baton Rouge for 1 or 2 games a season. They rest of the tickets I sell to friends or on the LSU ticket marketplace. I would love to invite Ben and either his mother or father to attend a Home LSU Football Game this season.

    God Bless All of You and especially Ben. I have had problems with my eyes since birth but not to the severity of Ben’s. I was born Cross eyed and over the first 7 years of my life had Muscle Surgery. I wear glasses and because of the aftereffects of surgery, contact lenses and refractive surgery were never an option. I would love to make this possible wish come true. Please email me no matter if you accept my idea of a wish for Ben or not.

  29. Dear Ben-thank god for your mother. The 2 things in my country of Canada that inspire me the most are:

    -the milky way on a clear summer night

    -the northern lights dancing across the sky in winter.

    God bless you and your family

  30. Dear Heidi and Ben,

    If you get the chance to go to Italy, visit Viterbo and the Amalfi Coast. Viterbo’s historical town still has it’s medieval wall and cobble stone streets. Although most do not speak English there, they are used to college students from the United States and will try their best to communicate with you (they are so friendly there!). And the Amalfi Coast is gorgeous!

    If you ever have interest in visiting Canada, you can take a little plane or a ferry across the bay from Seattle, Washington to Victoria, Britist Columbia. Their historical district is lovely and they have a wonderful museum. While there you should enjoy the deciduous rain forest while camping and swim in the Sooke Potholes.

    For things a little closer to home, visit the Kimbell Art Museum and the Fortworth Modern, if you haven’t already. San Antonio also has a plethora of museums, the river walk and a cute Japanese garden where you can enjoy tea. If you make your way to Corpus Christi, you must go to the Aquarium, go fishing and enjoy the beach on Padre Island. Visit Fort Davis and go horseback riding at Prude Ranch, and see the Chinati Foundation in Marfa.

  31. Dear Ben,
    watched yesterday an report about you and your story, they presented it on our german television (ZDF-Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) … Well, maybe you won´t get blind at all … You should go to more, than one doctor for one final diagnosis … Well, Iam wishing you all the best, power and healthness ! May our lord in heaven above, protecting, blessing and guiding you in/on every way … Many greetings from Hamburg/Germany ! Our famous Harbour is the famous gate to the world ! 😀

  32. Hi Ben! I’m so happy to hear about all the adventures you have done so far and a whole lifetime ahead of many more happy memories. You will thrive because you have a wonderful supportive family. Go see the world sweet boy! Best wishes from the Northwest!

  33. Theresa, I neglected to remove the link – we’ve taken down his FB page. Thanks for pointing that out to us!

  34. Breanna, we’ve just had a lot going on with our family and work, taking it down gave us one less thing to manage while focusing on other things. One of these days I hope to post more here, if life with our little ones ever quiets down. 🙂

  35. If I were losing my vision I would want to see the faces of closed friends and relatives what they would probably looked like in future (drawn by professional drawer like the ones used in disappearances). Also, I would look closely at a lot of the things around in nature like grass and rocks and insects. Thought his microscope idea was a really good one.

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