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 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!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.) ๐Ÿ™‚

393 thoughts on “Wishes”

  1. At Waynoka, OK (NW Oklahoma on the way to Colorado) there is the Little Sahara State Park. I grew up near there and have fond memories of running up and sliding down the dunes on school trips. I believe they still have dune buggy rides available for a fee. By Google satellite map it’s not very large but as a child standing on a dune looking westward at it, it WAS the Great Sahara.

  2. Hi Heidi! I read about your family in the Denton paper and have meet you through the Birthing From Within classes and FB – The Baby Ladies. I hardly know you but really respect you and your family. I was driving back home from East Texas yesterday and thought of a couple of close places your son might like to see….disclaimer – I’ve never been so I don’t have first hand experience. 1. is the Western Currency Facility in north Ft. Worth. I think they print money here and offer tours. http://www.moneyfactory.gov/tours/fortworthtxtours.html
    and 2. is the Russell Stover factory in Corsicana, TX
    http://www.russellstover.com/jump.jsp?itemType=CATEGORY&itemID=392

    If you do have a email list about upcoming fundraisier, please add my email address.

    thanks and good luck on the adventures!

  3. Stephanie, thank you!! It looks like the chocolate factory is right off of 45 on the way to Houston? I just officially added it to our list, we’re hoping to get down there next week if we get approval from the space center and that chocolate factory looks like a perfect addition. I’m going to check out the currency tours next, I’m grateful for the tips!

  4. Hi, Heidi. I found my way here through an article in the Denton Record Chronicle. For Ben’s wish about going to a bakery. If it hasn’t happened already, might I suggest Ravelin Bakery here in Denton. Ravelin is a small artisan bakery, and they specialize in croissants and pastries. Eric, the baker and owner, makes everything right in the shop and loves visiting with folks. Give them a call and explain about Ben and I’m sure that they’d love to help out.

  5. I hadn’t thought of Ravelins, which is funny since I just ate a chocolate croissant from there this week – they’re our favorite! We called another local bakery/candy place but they said they can’t do tours of their kitchen, I wasn’t sure if we could talk someone else into letting us bring kids into a bakery but it’s worth asking again! Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Beth, we had no idea! I’m excited, we hope to see DC and I bet we could make that on our way – the kids would love it, I’m so glad you shared that with us!

  7. For the microscope, you might try the Texas Society for Microscopy (http://www.texasmicroscopy.org/index.html), as well as UNT or other area universities.

    I would imagine any of the local news programs would find great PR in providing Ben and his family with a tour of their studio.

    The London Bridge was moved lock, stock & barrel to Lake Havasu City, NV. It’s not the London Tower, but it’s a lot closer. Also, try a replica of the Globe Theater in Odessa, Texas (http://www.globesw.org/).

  8. Hi there! I heard about Ben’s story because my friend Morgan Everhart held an art exhibition and was selling one of her pieces and giving you guys the proceeds! I want to help in any way that I can to help Ben see most things on his Wish List. I’m a single female from Denton who is in a touring band so I don’t have much to offer, but like I said, I would love to do anything I can! If you email me at moscoso.jenny@gmail.com I can let you know what I’m thinking…I was home schoooled myself so my parent’s have a good microscope that I would love to lend you guys for a while! And maybe next time my band plays in the area y’all could come to the show ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hey Heidi, just so you know Turner Falls is so close it can easily be a day trip. Just pack a lunch and some snacks and drinks. Of course, cabins are always fun too. So fun to read about your family’s great adventures!

  10. Karen, thank you for the links and suggestions! We didn’t know there was a globe theater so much closer, and we’ll check out the microscope link!

  11. Try the white sands at Biloxi MS. There are several hotels across the street from the dunes. They also have theses hugh trikes that ride on the water on oversized wheels.

    Definitely a family place. We stayed in a camp ground at the rear of the Holiday Inn. Maybe camping might be fun.

  12. We would totally love it, and be honored if Ben would like to come out and see a roller derby bout! We have upcoming bouts on:

    Saturday 5/3 7:00-11:00 pm
    Saturday 6/7 7:00-11:00 pm
    Saturday 7/12 7:00-11:00 pm
    Saturday 8/9 7:00-11:00 pm

    If Ben is interested in coming out to see some roller derby, please let us know!
    We will give you 10 extra tickets too for family members and friends.

    Love you little man, and wish you well!

    Dolly Mama
    Assassination City Roller Derby

  13. For the bicycle shop, I can definitely recommend Denton Bicycle Center on Elm St. Their shop is very open and I know the folks that work there. They would be very welcome to him coming back and seeing how they work on the bikes.

    I might be able to pull some strings on the LEGO Land Discovery Center as well, I would just need to talk with my wife and son. We have an annual pass that has a bunch of extra free perks attached (free passes for extra visitors, etc.) Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in this.

  14. Dallas arboretum is lovely. If you make the Cali trip, there is a Jelly Belly Factory near the Bay Area. Greatest candy tour ever and free. And the drive isn’t bad….break it up and see some cool things along the way….the painted desert, dinosaur tracks, planetarium at NAU in flagstaff…. We used to drive from Sacramento to FW with 3 kids, before vehicle entertainment systems, it’s not that bad! The pacific coast is spectacular….drive from LA to Ft Bragg, stop in Monterey, see Big Sur, drive across the GoldenGate. my prayers are with y’all.

  15. Hi Heidi! I have a big family also ( 5 kids) and we try to find the free/cheap stuff too. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have a membership to the Dallas Zoo it will get you into other zoos and aquariums for free all over America. One of those happens to be Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. ๐Ÿ˜€ AND the San Antonio zoo. Also in San Antonio they have botanical gardens that are FREE. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had planned on taking my Herd to SA last summer until my husband got injured at work so I had researched free/cheap/affordable in that area. There’s also Morgan s Wonderland in SA ( I have a child with Down Syndrome and another with autism and we thought it would be great for them.)
    Historical villages- there’s also Chestnut Square Historic Village in McKinney, it’s free to walk around and look in the windows. On Saturdays they have a Farmers Market too and do public tours for a small fee ( $5 /kid, $7/adult) and there’s the Old City Park in Dallas too.
    For Mardi Gras McKinney does a dog parade called Krewe of Barkus that is fun. Dogs in costumes what could be better?! ๐Ÿ™‚
    There’s an ice rink ( real ice ) in the Grapevine Mills mall. My older son has played hockey there several times. Or you could check out any of the Dr Pepper Stars Centers in the Metroplex. They have open, public skate sessions all the time.
    My daughters are HUGE Dr Who fans too and many of the actors will be at Comic con in San Diego this year. (They want me to drive them there. ugh, not happening. ) Northern lights can seen in Canada, Alaska and sometimes here in the US- like Minnesota. The Perot membership does get you into the Heard as well. Also right now there’s a groupon out for the Heard membership for only $40! (They lost money on my family buying that! ha ha) That’s all I ‘ve got for now. Oh! check out the website aroundtownkids.com . They usually have ideas for free/ discounted fun. It’s centered around Allen , McKinney and Frisco but it covers the Metroplex activities. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun!

  16. There is a Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio if you are heading down to Austin anyway. It is beautiful!

  17. You should take him to see the CR Smith Museum (it is at American Airlines headquarters). I know a few people that work for American Airlines. I might be able to see what they could do for him (like besides seeing the museums maybe check out an actual plane or let him tour their headquarters).

  18. One of the best ways to see Albuquerque is in a Hot Air Balloon! Please let me know if you would like contact information for some of the local balloon pilots.

  19. Dolly, Kit says he thinks Ben would love it – I could keep the little ones home and the big ones could go. We’ll message you – thank you!!

  20. Korrie, you sealed the deal – we’ve got to plan a San Antonio trip ASAP. I didn’t know the zoo pass could be used at Fossil Rim! I hadn’t heard of the historic village in McKinney, adding that to our list as well – pretty much I’m just copying your list down into my files. ๐Ÿ™‚ Need to go search for that Heard groupon, too – thank you, thank you!

  21. Kathi, I’ve not heard of the CR Smith Museum but we’ll go look it up. We were told to take him to see the observation center at DFW but we’ve not made it yet – thank you for the suggestions!

  22. Mystie, we would love more info about the balloon rides. I knew they had that huge festival in the fall and were famous for balloons, but I hadn’t priced taking rides. I’m scared of heights, but Kit and Ben could go up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Since you guys may detour to Albuquerque on an already planned trip, look into visiting White Sands which is just outside Alamogordo. You can rent or buy round sleds and the kids (and adults) can go sledding down soft white sand dunes. It’s stunningly beautiful at sunset and quite an amazing sight. It’s a national park so there are entry fees, but it’s well worth it.

    And for the museums, if you are a member of a local science museum, check to see if they participate in the passport program (I’m not exactly sure what it’s called, sorry). I am a member of the Ft Worth Science and History museum and am able to get in free at other museums all over the place. The science museum in Lubbock is included and I was able to get in up to 6 people free there with just my one membership card!

  24. I have two standard poodles that are Therapy Dogs with The Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. One poodle is 85 pounds!

    They love kids, as I do. Please let me know if you think we can help.
    I have 12 Grand children, and LOVE kids. We work with abused kids, hospital patients, nursing home patients, Alzimers patients. Would love to help!

  25. Heidi, have you done the botanical gardens yet? If not, I can help. Also, Great Wolf Lodge, have you been able to go?

  26. Hi- I noticed one of Ben’s wishes is to see a candy factory. I believe there is a Russell Stover Candy Factory in Corsicana, Texas. This may be closer for you to get to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. If you do Albuquerque, head a few hours south on I-25 and do White Sands. It looks like something from of outer space. Seriously! It’s like visiting another planet.

  28. The Fort Worth Library’s year round reading program gives the kids free passes to the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History once they complete an activity card. You do not have to have a Fort Worth Library card to participate. We also partner with several other locations like the Amon Carter Museum for programs. Almost all the programs are free & open to the public. Our next chapter runs May 1-Aug. 31. You can check out the list of programs on the website starting May 1st. http://www.wr365.org

  29. Im a single father of 3 kids 2 boys(10,8) and a girl (5) we would love to help anyway possible contact me via email @ FRTscott@gmail.com i told my kids the story and let them read it for themselves they want to help and so do i please contact me if there’s anything we can do. Btw my kids love the zoo and want to go to the log cabin village.

  30. Hi Heidi, Would Ben like to ride a horse? I am in your back yard on Post Oak Drive in Corinth. We offer free one hour rides to children with special needs! I would love for everyone to come out. Since you home school your kids, mornings and afternoons would work out perfect! Please email me back if this is something Ben and his siblings would like to do. We could work out the details then.
    Please feel free to email me any time!
    Crystal

  31. My husband & I have a connection to a terrific ballet studio that puts on a wonderful Nutcracker on Thanksgiving weekend in Richardson. We will work on getting your family tickets. Praying it won’t be too far away for Ben. We will be in touch.

  32. I can help with the tortillas. There is a restaurant on Skillman @ Mockingbird that makes the most amazing fresh tortillas by hand and I know the owner who would love to help and our family makes them as well. We can schedule this when the time is good for you and your family. You can let us know which location would be the most fun for you. A restaurant or in our home or both. You are a beautiful family and mother. All our love.

  33. There is a Blue Bell Creamery in lewisville off of I35. Their phone number is (972) 221-5646. I rmember going to tour it when I was little on a field trip. Maybe they would let y’all tour!!
    We will be praying for God’s peace and love to cover you all.

  34. I would like to help out in some way as well. I saw your story in the local news and it really hurt me to know that there is no fix formBens problem. I would like to take Ben and his father to a local snorkeling facility if you would like. I can totally understand bens want to snorkel as I have done it once and it was unbelievable.

    Please email me at cmjndallas1@yahoo.com if you would like.

    God bless you and your family Ben!

    Chris

  35. I made a list quite similar to Ben’s (in fact, we have about 10 things that are the same) because I have SLE lupus and lost the ability to walk on my own. I also love ice cream and put a visit to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory on my list. So, if you all make the trip to New York maybe you can take a day trip or an extended vacation to Vermont. I haven’t made it there yet, but I heard they have a graveyard of all the flavors they no longer make. Some other things on my list I thought he might like are: see a Broadway musical, plant a garden, watch the sunset, take a pottery class, take a trip by train, and visit Tuscany.

    I just watched your story on the news and I have to say I was so touched by it. I do know how it feels to lose the ability to do something you never thought you would lose.There will be days when you just want to cry and days when you forget you are unique and one of a kind and you’re just doing your thing. But know you have a wonderful family that will always be there for you. My family has helped me through those dark days and the bright ones and yours will too! And remember normal is overrated!

    Shanice J.

  36. I have a Dallas Arboretum membership, can bring 5 additional people for free w/ parking. I would love to treat your family. White Rock Lake is basically in my backyard, would enjoy sharing a wonderful part of my neighborhood with you! I am also a photographer, and would offer a family portrait if you are interested. I do not have my own children, but photograph newborns and their family. You are an inspiration to us all, I wish you all much luck on your quest! Good luck!

  37. I’ll gladly pay Bens way to Chuck E Cheese. Let me know where to send the check.

    Kenya

  38. Heidi- I would be honored to coordinate some of Ben’s wish list items – please email me for more information

  39. Jaram’s donuts off Preston in Dallas have the best croissant donuts (cronuts) and other pastries. They are such a sweet staff there and I’m sure if you call they will be willing to help. Check out their FB page ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Heidi,

    My mind is spinning after reading your story, it warms my heart to hear your plans for Ben and his list.

    Perhaps not a perfect fit, but GameStop is a video game company and could be an opti
    on to get that one off the veto list. Also, Gearbox is a Richardson-based video game company that could be interesting. Let me know if I can be of any assistance with either.

    Arguably the best view of Dallas – The City Club on the 69th floor of the Bank of America Plaza (green lit bldg). It’s breathtaking.

    Very best wishes for you all,
    Justin

  41. To travel to Europr, go stay in Germany! Ryan air flies out of Frankfurt Hahn & it’s dirt cheap. I was a military fight nurse & only had 3 days off at a time to travel. Tickets to London were 1 euro plus tax, it was $50 for 2 adults. Rome was $130 for 2, for 4 days. There’s no assigned seats, no numbers, just a line. You can buy early boarding, we always did. I traveled all over Europe, super cheap….In 2 weeks you could see a lot. And the croissants & pastries are to die for I’m Germany. & Paris…..

  42. Oh, and in Kohln, Germany there is a Lindt chocolate factory-amazing…. Email me if a trip to Europe is feasible….I could give you lots of advice

  43. For pyramids you might try moody gardens in Galveston. Each one is a pyramid with different ecosystems in them. Contact them or maybe some local charities, churches, or even 4H groups and they can probably help get the cost down for you. Plus you can also visit the beach and along the way some awesome caves, natural springs, etc that Texas has to offer.

  44. A wonderful place to see how ice cream is made and get to taste test flavors is the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham.

  45. I have a few connections, one is lighthouse for the blind and the other is a wonderful friend who helps employers employ sight impaired folks. We you like to show him some of those things while he is sighted? These are amazing folks.
    please email me if you want.

  46. Hi Heidi. Here are some other ideas that are local: Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Texas Motor Speedway, Grisham Farms (I know you said the animals were already checked off, but they have some exotic animals too – we did our daughter’s birthday party there – just North of McKinney – nice place, great people!!). Also, just thinking out of the box here – does he have a favorite college that he hopes to go to one day? If so, schedule a campus tour – or do several! ๐Ÿ™‚ Regarding the Gaylord ICE, it’s amazing and I definitely recommend you go there. I have a contact there that might be able to help so email me and we’ll talk more about that. For ice cream, take him to Blue Bell in Brenham, Texas!!! And since he’s a foodie, maybe we could get one of the famous chefs here in Dallas to invite him into their kitchen for a demonstration or to shadow them. Oh – and if he has any interest in sky diving, I hear Urban Air in Frisco is awesome!! I hope this helps!!!

  47. Heidi,

    I left this comment on Facebook, but if you don’t see it there, you can email me a reply at manduh16@gmail.com. I would LOVE to help Ben!

    Hi. My name is Amanda and last summer, I spent 3 weeks in Europe. A week in London, a week in France (Bayeux and Paris) and a week in Rome. I attended on a college scholarship, but I also study photography, so I took over 1,000 photos. I realize this is not as great as GOING to these places, but I went to all levels of the Coliseum, toured the Vatican, saw all the things he wants to see in London and Paris and I am willing to share this experience with Ben and his siblings. I also went to the Harry Potter studio and have hundreds of photos. I was wondering if I could send Ben a scrapbook of my adventures with photos and stories?

  48. I am an ice-skater, and would be happy to escort him at a real ice rink if you like. The Stonebriar Ice Rink might let us use their rink for a short time.

  49. Monahans State Park is great. I actually grew up in Monahans (my parents still live there). While you are in the area, take him to see the Odessa meteor crater and take note of the wind farm you pass through! Both awesome sights!

  50. Oh, take note: Monahans is a six hour drive, pack patience. Also, the area has experienced an oil boom over the past 10 years and hotels are expensive. Stay in Odessa and drive to Monahans. That’s about a 30 min drive. If you have time, once you see the Sandhills, you should keep driving Southwest to the Davis mountains. If you aren’t able to see Northern lights, there is a phenomenon called the ‘Marfa’ lights that may do. West Texas is a fun trip. We make it about three times a year with three kiddos! Also, while in Monahans, eat at Vicki’s restaurant. Wonderful Mexican food, NOTHING like most places here! Have fun!

  51. I just saw your story on the news and felt compelled to write. I read through Ben’s list and would like to help out if possible. I was fortunate enough to live in London for 5 years and if you are able to make it to the UK, I would like to help you experience some of the items on Ben’s list. I don’t know if it is an option, but perhaps some people could donate air miles to help out with the plane tickets?

    Also, I don’t know if it is something Ben might be interested in but I have a book from visiting Vatican City featuring the artwork as well as photos. The best part is a foldout showing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Even as a fully sighted person, I found the Chapel to be overwhelming so I bought the book from the Vatican gift shop to be able to take everything in at my own pace. I know it’s not the same but it may allow him to experience it just a little bit.

    Lastly if you would like to go to the Dallas Arboretum, we would be more than happy to enable a visit!

  52. Heidi,

    How about for the sand dunes taking him to White Sands, New Mexico? You can hit the Carlsbad caverns first and then after going to White Sands head up towards Ruidoso, NM which is beautiful! You might as well drive a little northwest and see Albuquerque while you are at it.

    Blessings to you all!

  53. If you go to fossil rim, you can stop by the dinosaur park at Glen Rose. You could take him to Fredricksburg to climb Enchanted Rock, I don’t think it cost! Yellowstone would be my next recommendation and Mount Rushmore, you need to re think, he would get to see herds of buffalo these two are amazing!
    I have poor eyesight corrected with glasses but can’t imagine what your going through with your sweet child! My heart goes out to you! Praying for you all! God Bless!

  54. Susan, last fall we were connected with Lighthouse for the Blind and Ben’s cane training has been through them – they’ve been wonderful! I’m going to email you tomorrow also – thank you!! -Heidi

  55. Oh, we are so going there!! We just saw a picture of cronuts and the kids thought that was the best donut idea ever. I’ll go try and find their FB page – thank you for the idea!!

  56. Kris, we visited there recently and LOVED the samples, but unfortunately they said they don’t allow tours. Thank you for the suggestion though!

  57. When you go to Monahans definitely take the time to go to the Davis Mountains. In Ft. Davis there is a dude ranch called Prude Ranch…you can ride horses through the mountains. You can also visit Mc Donald’s Observatory and take tour. They offer evening viewing…you might be able to talk to them about letting him look through one of their telescopes to see other planets. On the way to Ft Davis you could stop at Balmorea state park and see the largest naturL spring fed swimming pool. Other thought…talk to the astronomy dept at one of the universities near you and see if they have a telescope and if they would set up a time one evening for him to view the stars and planets. I know Texas tech has one here in Lubbock. If you get to come to Lubbock there are several wonderful museums you can visit. One is one the tech campus, ranching & heritage museum, planetarium, science spectrum, and Lubbock lake landmark which is an archeological dig site and museum. Maybe check your local omnimax to see if they have any movies coming in that deal with some of his wish list?

  58. Not sure if anyone has mentioned about the ice cream but what about making homemade ice cream. I remember as a kid having to sit on top of the little freezer while someone else craked it but now they have little machines at Walmart or Target that have instructions to make homemade ice cream. I love my Blue Bell but honestly homemade ice cream is way better!!! And you could make any flavor he likes!! Also, the tortillas, if you make a trip to FW for the Zoo and everything, there are 2 Mexican restaurants that make their own tortillas, Uncle Julio’s and Don Pablo’s both really close to the zoo and everything you want to see in FW. Prayers are with y’all!!

  59. Hello Pierce family!

    Shoot me an email…I think we can help with a visit to Log Cabin Village. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rena Lawrence
    Educator and Collections Manager
    Log Cabin Village

  60. Hi I saw Ben’s story last nigbt on channel 8, I was looking at Ben’s wishes and I saw the one about the bike store. There is a bike store in Richardson called the Richardson Bike Mart. That might be a place Ben could go.

  61. Hi Heidi,

    Just a thought… How about the longhorn drive in downtown Ft. Worth? They drive every day and it is a sight to see. There are all kinds of fun things for kids down in the stock yards too. The drive is free to watch, not sure about the other events. I have heard there is a trick roper down there that puts on a great show. Prayers for Ben and you family. Hope he gets to check some things off his list soon! -Kim

  62. The full sized replica of the Parthenon is in Nashville, TN, not Kentucky. But is is quite close to Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave which is great to see. If you go a little further east from Nashville you could see the Great Smokey Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains are home to over 100 native species of trees, more than are found in northern Europe. It is the most visited national park in the US. You could do these things on the way to DC.

  63. Heidi – I just saw your story on CNN this morning, and it both warmed and broke my heart at the same time. I am sure you are familiar with mixed emotions, due to all that has happened, but at the very least, praise God that your baby boy is still alive today! Has anyone offered to pay for a family trip to the Fort Worth Zoo yet? I can attest to what a great place it is to visit, being a resident of DFW myself, and would love the opportunity to help you and your family visit by paying for your admission and parking. Please let me know!

  64. If you cannot make it to the Grand Canyon you could always go to Palo Duro Canyon outside of Amarillo. It may not be as big as the Grand Canyon but it is just as beautiful! The colors in the morning and at dusk are gorgeous! I will keep Ben and your family in my prayers! Susan

  65. I would like to recommend In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, Tx. If he loves Tigers this is the place for him. It is a Tiger Rescue and sanctuary. They have over 60 animals there including Cougars, Bobcats, Lynx, two Lepoards, lions, servals, two cheetahs and an ocolat. You are literally feet away from the animals, though well protected by two fences. The volunteers there are very helpful and if you call ahead you can get a guided tour. I am very sure they would take extra time with Ben, they love helping people as well as animals. The lions sing often and it is a great experience. Entrance fee is minimal and you could do it when you are in the Dallas area. Check out their website and facebook page. I would even be willing to meet you guys and take you there myself.

  66. What about movies? I’m sure he has seen some but there are some great films this summer. What are some of the closest theaters to you – my husband and I work in the film industry and can try to get some passes for theaters. I am visually impiared too – legally blind, and my heart goes out to him.

  67. I think you should take him to a nursery at a local hospital and let him see the room with all the babies:) One day, hopefully he will become a father and he will have that memory stored in his mind. The world has many beautiful sights to offer, but the room full of infants at the beginning of life are also a miracle to be seen.

    Good luck with your list. Share with your local high schools. I know where I teach there are always groups trying to do something new and creative for community service projects. Just helping him achieve some of the local sights might be fun for them and then they will get some appreciation for what they take for granted as well.
    Love and Blessings-

  68. My mother just contacted me after seeing the news story about Ben last night. She and my father live in Dallas but own a beautiful home at the base of the Sandia Mountains ( near the tram) in Alburquerque. My parents would love to offer their home to Ben and his family for a vacation – it has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and an elevator. Please let me know if they would be interested- I can send photos of the home.

  69. We lived in Indianapolis for years. 18 months ago we moved back home to So. Oregon. We now live about an hours drive from the Redwoods and about 90 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Our family would be honored to take you and your son (family?) to see both. If we had a larger home I’d offer for you to stay with us, however this is a wonderful town and I’m certain I can find a motel to comp you and yours a room or two for 2 nights if we can find a way to get you out here. Our family would love to be a part of checking off another bucket list item for you. Please email me if you want to talk possibilities.

  70. Rosa’s Tortilla Factory’s are all over North Texas, he can see them make tortillas there! They shoot the balls of dough through a big machine you can watch through a window. Sand dunes- you can take him to White Sands in Las Cruces, New Mexico as a part of your Albuquerque trip! White Sands is very beautiful especially at night with the moon shining. Take a plastic saucer type of sled, he will love it! Good luck and God Bless you all!

    Kelly
    N. Richland Hills, TX

  71. I understand your need to veto some of his choices, but with the video game company, there are many right here in Texas that he could visit. There are even some in Dallas. Just check this site http://gamejobhunter.com/blog/local-video-game-companies-dallas/. If none of those are sufficient, we also have a lot here in Austin, which isn’t that far. Just do a google search and I’m sure once you contact them they would be more than happy to give him a free tour.

    As for my suggestion, because he showed an interest in seeing things under a microscope, he should also try to see something in a telescope. I understand that learning how to use one properly takes time, and to see the best images you really need a high end scope, so you may try to search for local “Star Parties.” These are events where mostly amateur astronomers come together and observe the night sky. Many people bring very powerful and high end equipment, and most are very enthusiastic about sharing the experience with others. The only problem I would foresee is that these events are usually very dark, and it’s sometimes difficult for people even with perfect eyesight to safely maneuver around. Still I think it would be worth it for the experience. If you still just can’t make that happen, at least look up some astronomy pictures to show him. Two great sights are http://hubblesite.org/gallery/ and http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html. There are just breathtaking images on both sites that will give you a whole new perspective on life and our place in the universe. I still really encourage trying to see something through a telescope with his own eyes though. I just can’t put into words how I felt the first time I saw Saturn through my scope. It’s just not the same in a textbook or on a computer screen.

  72. I will check with a friend of mine whose sister works on the set where Barney is filmed in Plano.

  73. Heidi,

    With your family homeschooling, you might want to consider an RV excursion across the US and Canada. Maybe someone locally can partially sponsor the vehicle/gas/etc and allow you all to take in the wonderful places on Ben’s list. Canada would be a great place to see several items on the list in one trip, too! Waterfalls, glaciers, moose and elk, the northern lights, mountains….. Jasper National Park on the BC-Alberta border is one of the most beautiful places on this planet! Come back down through the coast of BC, Washington, Oregon and California for the Redwoods and Pacific ocean. There is the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas that I was very impressed with and you can continue homewards thru the Grand Canyon passing over the Hoover Dam and going southeast through the deserts, mesas and sand dunes of AZ, NM and west TX.

    I hope Ben gets to see all of his wishes…and that his time with his sight is a long one.

  74. So sorry for your situation, prayers for the family and Ben. Here are some ideas I hope you can use. I also suggest setting up an account at a bank or online for donations! you never know how much you will be blessed!
    I second palo dura canyon in Amarillo, tx. Prarie dog towns all over under construction neighborhoods in Amarillo! The Modern in FTW is FREE on May 18, 2014 (10am). HEB grocery store makes tortillas, and gives you a sample FREE! CHICK FIL A does free kitchen tours. Mrs Bairds in FTW gives FREE tours ( on tues I think and you need to give two week notice), smells yummy and I bet you can see their “yummy” food too! There are sand dunes in northern Oklahoma, supposed to be really cool. I bet any HS or college would let you come check out their microscopes! Ice skating at the Galleria mall, or Parks in Arlington. FTW MINT, FREE tours and get to see money made. We saw a buffalo herd this easter just north of Cabelas FTW on I 35 north, before Alliance airport on your right. Dallas and FTW do free concerts under the stars in the summer.

  75. As an art historian, it’s difficult for me to imagine losing my eyesight.

    As someone already mentioned above, the replica of the Parthenon is in Nashville, and it’s the ONLY place where Ben can see the giant statue of Athena, since Phidias’s original was destroyed a thousand years ago.

    I know it may not seem very comforting now, but bear in mind in the future that many museums will allow vision-impaired guests to touch certain artworks if you arrange a visit ahead of time and explain the situation. Some also have special galleries with replicas of famous sculpture, as well as relief versions of paintings (for example, the Uffizi in Florence has one of Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”) that can be “seen” through touch. These things are not often publicized, and are not always open to the public, but can be accessed through special arrangement.

    I lived and worked in Los Angeles for almost a decade and have many contacts in the museums there (the Getty, LACMA, etc.). If you do make the trip to LA, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will see if I can help arrange some special tours.

  76. My heart is breaking for you all. It is soo heartwarming to see and read all of the wonderful suggestions and invitations you have received. Back in the day I worked at a movie rental store. We had an entire section on vacation videos ie. the Caribbean , Germany, Italy etc. I imagine they still make them. I think it would be a great way for him to ‘visit’ some of the distant places he wishes to see. ๐Ÿ™‚

  77. We would be happy to donate the use of a pool home, dates if available, for the family if they are visiting Legoland in Florida and of course there is also the Harry Potter section at Universal
    Speak with Ashley or Michael the Home would be free up to 6 Nights

  78. Oh, I forgot to mention something. One way to potentially see the Northern Lights without a trip solely for that purpose is to observe them from an airplane. There are websites that predict their appearance. If you book a flight to somewhere in Europe that Ben wants to visit, plan it for the right time of year, and make sure you ask for a flight route that goes as far north as possible, he would have a shot at seeing them from the window of the plane. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a possibility!

  79. You should try taking him to rosas tortilla factory. They are like a restraunt but you get to watch them make tortillas as you wait for your food.

  80. I live in Tulsa, OK, and I would like to recommend that all of you see the beautiful fall colors along the Talimena drive in eastern Oklahoma. I grew up in Texas, so I know that the fall is not as colorful as other states. The Talimena drive can be a beautiful experience for the entire family. Oklahoma actually has a lot to see and enjoy: The Aquarium in Jenks, OK; Woolaroc; the Illinois river (take a rafting trip); the Oachita Mountains and so much more. Tulsa has some of the most beautiful Art Deco buildings in the nation and Gilcrease Museum has Western art and Native American art.
    Also, when you go to New Mexico, visit Santa Fe. Especially taking time to walk around the city. Arts, crafts and incredibly wonderful people.
    My prayers are with you and your family. As beautiful as the places are that he wants to see, the memories he’s making with his family are even more so.
    God bless you all.

  81. Hi again! I forgot to mention that I work for a large hotel chain and will gladly help you with a friends and family discount wherever you go. I might be able to do more than that, but it will depend on where you what to go and when. I’m assuming you can see my email address, even though it’s not published. If you can’t, please let me know and I’ll try to get it to you. If you can, please email me and we can start to look at dates – we can talk about ICE too! Thanks!!

  82. I think it’s great that your son wants to see Albuquerque, especially due to a Weird Al song. Lol Albuquerque would love to welcome your family! I recommend going on the tram while you’re hear. It’s the worlds longest tramway and the views are spectacular. How many people would you be with?

  83. You can see prairie dog towns in Odessa on the way to Monahans and the Sand Dunes. Contacted someone who may be able to help with the Fort Worth Zoo.

    How about the 6th floor museum in Dallas?
    Fair Park in Dallas?
    Stock Yard in Ft Worth?
    Ball Park in Arlington?

  84. well since he wants to see how things are done, how about blue bell creamery in Brenham Tx. i might be able to contact gm assy plant in Arlington Tx see if he can get a tour of the manufacturing plant while trucks and,suv’s are made. ๐Ÿ™‚ feel free to contact me at SSkeeterswaterjetdesigns@gmail.com

  85. If you do the California redwoods, I do not have much money but I do have a house near by and you are more than welcome to come spend a few days with my daughter and I. We are a little over the Oregon border. If making the trip you need to explore an Oregon Beach or two!

  86. Dear Heidi,

    There is a candy factory in Lufkin, TX (4 hours instead of another state). It’s the Atkinson Candy Company. Give them a call. They do tours and have a shop where you can buy a bag of candy that was made fresh the same day. They may have some of his favorite types of candy.

  87. I saw the one about the bakery. Have you thought about contacting the show Cake Boss. I know that Buddy enjoys helping out other families.

  88. Try Marfa Chamber of Commerce for “northern lights.” It’s here in West Texas.
    God Bless

  89. for snorkeling, i would suggest googling jellyfish lake in palau, and palau in general. it is absolutely gorgeous, and he can read up on the history of how the jellyfish there lost their stinging power. i’m going there in october, and i would love to share any pictures that i’ll be taking, if you’re interested. i’ve also snorkeled in guam and would be more than happy to share the very few pictures that i have.

  90. I saw looking into a bicycle shop, I have very good friends who own and run Oak Cliff bicycle shop. Beautiful shop and they build bikes all the time also wouldn’t mind showing him around, letting him ride or anything like that! Please, shoot me an email if you would like to get into contact with them!

  91. Dear Ben, Mom Heidi, & loving family

    I work at a private night club in Terrell TX called Swingin Doors. I heard about your story on the radio yesterday, & wanted to see the news last night, but missed it. My boss who’s name is Sheryl Ballentine, called me today & said “It’s fund Raiser/Benefit time” We’ve hosted several benefits, & bike (motorcycle) runs, with great success, so we would love to have one for Ben. It takes some planning, & finding sponsors, getting items donated, scheduling “stops” during the “run” etc… but at the end of the day, ALL proceeds will go to Ben & the family to use towards any one of Ben’s wishes. We will need to speak with you, & coordinate the date, & time. These usually start early in the morning & end around 5:00-6:00 p.m. & this being the last stop on the run, & once there we have food, give away prizes to the participants, have an auction, & celebrate our reason & purpose of the day, which of course would be Ben’s wish list, & we ALL would be most excited if an appearance by Ben & the entire family could be arranged as well. Possibly even take Ben on the bike run with us, if he would like to ride on a motorcycle if he hasn’t already. A good turn out usually requires a cpl months planning, & announcing, so that we get as many participants to ride as possible. Please at your convenience, contact me at the email add. I gave, or you may contact Sheryl Ballentine at our Swingin Doors facebook page.
    p.s. when it comes to children, bikers have the BIGGEST hearts!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sincerely
    Tammy Shaw.

  92. Mom, I live in Bourg Louisiana ( about 60 miles sw of New Orleans ) . I would have to agree about not going into Nola for mardi gras but in Houma la we are the second largest mardi gras celebration around . If he would like to see mardi gras parades this is the place to go. I would like to contact you about this and a place to watch it if you would be interested . This would not be a fAr drive for the family and I am sure we can work something out . My email is tunbehagen@msn.com also have you comsidered a gofund me account ?

  93. Try contacting your local Lions club, if you have not already. We Lions help out the blind, whatever their needs are and I think a local club, in or near your home city, would love to help out however they can. Perhaps they can help with a fundraiser as well. If you don’t know if there is a local Lions club, go here: https://directory.lionsclubs.org/?language=EN and look up your city. Perhaps if you have a Leos club (a Lions-sponsored club for kids 12-18), contact them as well. They love to help kids and they are excellent at fundraising. Good luck and God bless!

  94. For the northern lights and moose sightings, Maine is an awesome place to go (if you can’t make it to Alaska). The winter is best. I’d also suggest just getting out somewhere DARK and seeing the stars and milky way with a telescope or astronomy binoculars. This website (http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/) shows light pollution in the US. Fortunately, in Texas, it’s easy to get out to some dark places with just a couple hours drive west of the DFW area.

    For the microscope, I’d suggest talking to people at UT Southwestern – there are lots of researchers there who would love to show Ben what different things look like under a microscope. I am a microbiology graduate student in Austin, and I’ve got a USB powered microscope that I use at home – I’m going to take a look at it and see how good the images/video it takes are – maybe this could be helpful to Ben (and fun for all of your kids). As I’m not too far, if the USB scope is interesting to you I can mail it or drive it up to the DFW area. Ben, I hope someday we can grow you new retinas, or make you retinal implants that are as good as human eyes.

  95. re: the Northern Lights. Yes, this is a dream of mine too. Iceland IS ungodly expensive, but you can see them in Canada or Alaska, during the wintertime. There are even hotels to stay at up there that will wake you when the Aurora is up so you can see how beautiful they truly are. Fairbanks would probably be among the cheapest, but they are always predicted *here* http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast

    Best of luck, and yes, also, the Fort Worth Japanese Gardens are better than even the one I saw in San Francisco. Take him there. It’s kind of a shame you missed the cherry blossoms this year, though.

  96. Would he like to see the inside of a radio station? If so, please email me and I will make it happen. We are located in downtown Dallas.

  97. the northern lights can easily be seen in Alaska! I would recommend going in October, when the daylight hours ebb and it doesn’t get so crazy cold. It’s best to try it in the interior (Fairbanks area).

    It’s a domestic ticket and only a few hours from Seattle on Alaska Airlines or Delta.

    Please contact me if you want more info on where to go/stay. I lived there recently for a few months and as an eye care provider, your son’s wishes have touched my heart. I saw the northern lights multiple times out there (and a bunch of moose!) and Alaska is a place I hope everyone gets to see in their lifetime. You and your family will not regret it.

  98. If you are able to make a trip to DC and NYC, you are within easy driving distance of the Hershey’s plant in Pennsylvania (where everyone gets at least one free candy bar) and Niagara Falls. While Hershey’s was fun and sweet, Niagara Falls was almost beyond discription…awesome, euphoric, and enriching physically and emotionally.

    I wish everyone could visit a big falls, like Niagara Falls, at least once in their life. I hope Ben can make that visit while he can see it as well as experience it. It is well worth the sacrifice to make the trip. FYI, with a family, the travel to and from is much easier in an RV.

    In the two big cities, our RV was parked in the outlying areas and we rode in on the trains and subways. Another really neat experience for Texans from a rural area.

  99. Heidi and Family, Read your story in the Nerk Aggravate. I moved from OH to CO about 10 yrs ago, and wanted to note some cool things Ben might cross off his bucket list in a short time here – Large Aquarium w/cool sea critters; tons of prarie dog town right along the roadway, especially coming south from the Denver airport; can touch snow in summertime at Estes Park, while exploring mountains, seeing elk very easily (recommend horseback rental trail ride here too); Garden of the Gods in Col Springs (free walking and car tours, and kids can climb all over EVERYTHING there); dinosaur footprints and fossils at DinoRidge (http://www.dinoridge.org/); a cograil trainride to Pikes Peak. I’m sure there’s more, but if you’re already headed here this month, just wanted to touch upon a few I thot of.

  100. Me, again….if you like to camp, recommend you contact the Estes Park YMCA. They have WONDERFUL campgrounds, with cabins, horseback, outdoor activities, a lodgehouse – it would be a great, extremely budget-friendly way to see the mountains out here.

  101. I second another comment about White Samds national Park in New Mexoco. It is beautiful and fun to slide down the big dunes. It is however very bright. You can hit Carslbad Cavrens on the way wihich is amazing. Coming back you can stop by The McDonald observatory for a star party. When we went we saw the moon up blade and the rings of Saturn and more. Then from there you can hit Marfa to see the Marfa lights.

  102. Ben’s story had me in tears! What a sweet boy. Where can we donate money to his wish list? Is there a Go Fund Me page or something similar! Let’s make that happen! ๐Ÿ™‚

  103. Hi Ben & your amazing family!

    I just heard your story and wanted to share some places in Arizona with you that I can’t stop thinking of after visiting them last year:

    1. It’s already on your list, but I hope you are able to make it to the Grand Canyon. It is such an amazing place that can have such a profound impact on your soul.

    2. If you are able to, take a helicopter tour of the canyon. Or even visit Havasupai Falls (you can fly into the Reservation and hike 2 miles to see it). There are 3 massive waterfalls there, with the most beautiful turquoise color – you will definitely remember that color.

    3. Nearby – only a few hours drive- is Sedona, AZ, another beautiful place. The drive between Sedona and Prescott, AZ is also one of the most amazing 60 miles of road you’ll ever take (Hwy 89A).

    Best wishes!

  104. Ben’s family: create a Kickstarter crowdsourcing page to start funding these adventures! It is easier than you think. Folks want to help donate, and although that was never your intention, find a way for folks to donate that doesn’t require a check in the mail. Paypal. Something. If you have questions on getting started, contact me directly! Let the public help you achieve more of these goals. ๐Ÿ™‚

  105. Dear Heidi, I work for a major airline which can help with airfare and I have connections with timeshares which can help with hotels. I would love to help in anyway I can to get Ben to further his list. Please email me when you get a chance Junbug7777@aol.com.

  106. I just saw a report on my local news about Ben’s list. Having been to many of the places on the list I can understand his desire to see these things! I know that so many people would like to help make these dreams come true but there is no way to give online through your blog page or the FB page. PayPal has an easy way to do this with a “Donate” button. Please do something quick so we can all help Ben see his dreams come true!! The link for the PayPal button is: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donate-intro-outside You have my email so feel free to contact me if you need help. I’ve assisted others in raising funds for various projects and it works great!

  107. I am from San Antonio and would totally encourage checking out the river-walk. There is also a wild life safari that you can drive through called Natural Bridges Wildlife Ranch which also has Caverns to explore. It is super cool. This story was very touching! I hope he has a wonderful time and can experience the things he is dreaming of! Also the Circuits of America Raceway in Austin is really awesome.

  108. Hi! My family owns an (private) exotic ranch outside of San Antonio and if you find your way down here, please contact me as your family is welcome to come spend the day with us. We have bass, perch and catfish the kids can fish, 2 zonkeys, 9 donkeys, 2 longhorns, 1 Watusi, a cat food eating fat goat and a spoiled ibex that will eat out of your hands. We also have zebras, wildebeests, several species of smaller antelope and white elk. Most children love to come out and help me feed.

  109. You don’t have to go to Japan! There is a game/software company called GearBox in Frisco!

  110. I see video game company on the veto list, but wanted to point out that there are a good amount of game studios in the Dallas area that would probably give you a tour! Gearbox Software, iD Software, Robot Entergainment, and Zynga are all around here, it may be worth trying to get into contact with them.

    Best wishes to you, Ben, and your family!

  111. Heidi,

    I just read your story, and I live in San Antonio, there is no charge here to visit the Alamo and the Riverwalk, I would love to invite you and your family down IH-35, to beautiful San Antonio, we could take care of a hotel for a couple of days for you and your family to experience San Antonio…

  112. I saw your story on HLN today and was very moved by Ben wanting to imprint as many visual memories as he can. My mother and two of her brothers are legally blind and one of her brothers is losing the little sight he has. I spent my life among blind people as my mother and uncle worked for the NJ Commission for the Blind. Although the loss is devastating, blind people can live full and satisfying lives.
    Please set up a donation mechanism on this website so that people like myself can help make some of Ben’s wishes come true. That said, if you come north to Mt Rushmore in South Dakota and want to drive a little bit and to visit the badlands on your way to the Glaciers, we can put you up for a few days in Eastern Montana!

  113. Hello Pierce Family,
    I work at The Sheraton Gunter hotel in San Antonio about a block off the river. We would love to host your family for a stay so that Ben and your family can see the Riverwalk and the Alamo. I know that The San Antonio tourism community will welcome you with open arms and we will create an amazing experience for your family. Contact me so that we can work this out.

  114. Please let us know when a site is set-up to help with donations to make Ben’s wishes come true. Both of my son’s were premies (my first lived for 23 days) and my second is getting ready to graduate college (he was 23 weeks early too). My son suffered some eye issues too, but thankfully, has been able to keep his sight. I am always touched by stories of premature babies who beat the odds and I know Ben will accomplish so much with or without his sight. Again, please update when we can donate to his wish list through the internet. God’s blessings.

    Tracey Burch

  115. Dear Ben, Remember ALL the COLORS you can, God Bless You! Your new friend,Patricia

  116. Hi Heidi, What an amazing little boy you have. I was truly touched by his emotion while watching CNN. I live in Nashville, TN. We have so much here for him to experience. The Parthenon @ Centinial Park, Vanderbilt university with hi-tech microscopes, purity I’ve cream, titans football, predators hockey, a zoo with anteaters & kangaroos, elephant sanctuary, horseback trail riding on breath talking trails, first visual art museum, family owned farms that would live to show him how things grow, an arts center with broadway plays, Nashville ballets nutcracker, googoo candy factory, planetariums, grand ole opry…I will work on some things & get back to you. Smiles!

  117. Heidi,
    We live in Albuquerque and want to help. Let me know when you will be heading this way. I would like to get you tickets for the Sandia Peak Tramway (more info at http://www.sandiapeak.com/) and can probably get you a hotel for free when you are in town. Please contact me with details.

  118. I have a beautiful 4 bedroom town home @ the canyons ski resort in Park City Utah. I would love for you to use it this spring if it works for you. It is available until June 23 and then is rented for the summer. It would also be available in the fall which is a gorgeous time in Park City. It would be an honor to have you all as my guests.

    Please let me know if you would like to come to Park City, UT!

    The Best to all of you,
    Kathi

  119. If you make a trip to Nashville to Opryland I suggest Huntsville Alabama and Space Camp! Its about two hours south of Nashville. My brother works for NASA and could maybe help with making some arrangements. The Space and Rocket Center is awesome.

  120. We would love to have Ben and his family visit the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
    Please email me at your convenience.

    Philip Gonzalez
    Director of Marketing
    817-255-9411

  121. Our son Ryan showed us the story about Ben. We are very touched. We saw he wanted to go to the Fort Worth Zoo. We would love to take care of this wish for him and his family. Our son is a 24 week miracle baby also. He is now twelve and wears glasses and has hearing aids. It has been an incredible journey. Ryan would love to meet Ben at the zoo, if possible. Just let us know when.
    Sincerely,
    Michelle, Jim and Ryan McCabe ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  122. Consider gofundme.com. I know a few that have set up accounts there. Simple to set up and simple to donate. They only charge a nominal fee.

  123. Hi Heidi,
    unless your family have already been, I think Ben would love to go to Oahu, Hawaii. I took my granddaughter and we had a ball; it’s simply beautiful. He would have quite an experience seeing, and learning more about Pearl Harbor, visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as many other great sites. The Dole Pineapple Plantation was so much fun – especially the train ride, and walking through the worlds largest maze as documented by the Guinness Book Of World Records. The Polynesian Cultural Center, http://www.polynesianculturalcenter.com, is very educational as well. There, he can learn much about Polynesian life, and it also provides hand on experiences. The Luau, and evening show – Ha: breath of Life – was spectacular. The island itself is packed with a lifetime of memories.

  124. We would like to treat Ben and his family for a VIP tour of Galveston, Moody Gardens with a personal up close with live penguins and a Fishing trip on our fishing Yacht August Moon, a day he will never forget……contact William Simpson

  125. I have a beautiful blue & gold macaw named Papi. I would love to at least send a few of his beautiful feathers. I am just outside of Houston and would love to meet yall!

  126. My kids 10 & 7 were touched by your story and wanted to add these suggestions. International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM we think is a must see. My 7 year old said the US Lexington in Corpus. We wish you all tons of luck

  127. You can see the Northern Lights in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you’re lucky you might also spot a moose.

  128. In San Antonio, close to the Alamo, you have the River Walk with tour boats, a Children’s Museum, and the Tower of America with a revolving restaurant and an observation level with telescopes. The SA Zoo, Japanese Gardens, and Witte Museum are close together. SA also has a Six Flags and Sea World Parks. The 5 Spanish Missions and other Museums. 4 or more Universities. Within 50 miles there are 4 caverns, Cascade, Cave Without a Name, Natural Bridge, and Wonder Cave which you can skip or Wonder why you went. At New Braunfels ( 30+miles from SA) the Comal River starts from springs in Landa Park. Seeing water bubbling from the ground is still amazing to me. I grew up outside of Abilene. The Comal is only 3 miles long and then runs into the Guadalupe (which starts above Kerrville which is north of SA) and both rivers are great to float in rented tubes or your own.
    If you can get the use of an RV it would be great to spend a week at a time visiting and area. Some one suggested Fredricksburg and Enchanted Rock both a day trip from SA. The Rock is a part of the Texas Park system and you can get a year family pass and then all are free.

  129. Have you contacted Make-A-Wish? I would hope Ben’s condition would warrant a wish! Also have you gone out to Go Fund Me! This is an on-line fund raising site for worthy causes and I cannot think there would be another cause anymore worthy thaen Ben’s!

  130. Have him read this book – Erik gradually lost his sight and learned to adapt and do many great adventures including Mt Everest.

    Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See:
    Erik Weihenmayer (Author)

  131. I think you should take him to Disney world! I just went and it is amazing, and at the animal kingdom you can take a safari where you feel like you are in actually in Africa. Also there are some amazing sand dunes somewhere around Kitty Hawk (You should visit where the wright brothers flew the first time too if you went!).

  132. Hi Heidi

    Have you contacted Make-A-Wish? I know they grant wishes for chronically I’ll children, but I believe Ben’s situation would warrant a wish. Also there is an on-line fund raising service called Go Fund Me! We set up an account for my grandson who is chronically ill and has needed treatments that weren’t covered under insurance, funds were raised through Go Fund Me. Our prayers go out to Ben and your family!

  133. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado is beautiful and about a 12 hour drive from here. The Rio Grande River runs at the foot of the dunes. It is shallow and you can wade through it. The Sangre de Christo Mountains are right there and there is wildlife to see. This trip could meet several of Ben’s wishes! These are largest dunes in North America.
    Ben didn’t mention horses but if he is interested, I have a friend in Eastern Oklahoma who runs an Equine Sanctuary with approx. 40 horses. 6 of these horses are blind and one of them was an Arkansas Prison Guard horse who went blind at a young age. His name is Stevie and he is a sweet gentle animal and walks around the property keeping the grass short:). All of the horses are loving and loved. If Ben is interested, I will ask my friend if we could make a trip out to the ranch. I would be willing to provide transportation.

  134. You guys should take him to Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. It is incredible! I’ve been there twice (I live in St. Louis) & both times I was there I didn’t even get to cover all of it. The last time I was there was back in March & I only got to go there for a day because we were on a strict time schedule & it’s so big that we couldn’t even cover 1/4 in a 6 hour time span. It is crazy! They also have a humongous Lego Store up there that Ben would probably like to see. You guys should also try to make your way out here to STL, (The Arch, we have one of the best zoos here also, Ted Drewes, he would LOVE city museum (heck, I am 22 & I still love that place!), Six Flags (my aunt said we have a better one than MA does), the Spaghetti Factory, & The Rootbeer Factory. We have tons of cool stuff here! Also, maybe Las Vegas??? I hope Ben gets to do a lot of stuff on his wish list & I hope I gave you guys some more ideas that you could possibly take him to do.

  135. Scott, only because I’ve not been there myself and my children in a large crowd & an unknown city makes me nervous. I can imagine a little one wandering off, Ben having trouble navigating, and me being a basket case as I try to keep tabs on them all. ๐Ÿ™‚ But you are right – Paris with my kids doesn’t scare me, but NYC does and that seems odd!

  136. NYC is very safe – I’ve lived here my whole life! Nothing bad has every happened. It’s chaotic but it’s certainly doable, and there is so much to see here. Take him to Times Square (perhaps not at night because of his light sensitivity), the Museum of Natural History to see the life size whale model and the dinosaurs, the Met to see more great works of art up close, take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, the view from the Empire State Building, Central Park (I recommend the Alice in Wonderland statue in particular; kids go crazy over that)…

  137. Bedre Chocolate is made 5 miles north of Turner Falls right off exit 55 on I-35 west of Davis, OK. You are able to watch chocolate being made and enjoy samples. Bedre is owned by the Chickasaw Indian Tribe. While in this area you could enjoy the Cultral Center on and operated by the Chickasaw Indians. Story of the tribe with lots of visuals and participation. Plenty of things for all ages to enjoy.

  138. What a heart wrenching story to say the least.
    I would like to suggest NASA (Johnson Space Center) if he would be interested. I live in the area and would like to assist with expenses of the hotel stay. I am willing to take the lead on this and will contact someone at NASA who I am sure would be willing to help with a visit. Please reply back to this posting if interested.
    God bless Ben and Family – Wishing he fills the “BUCKET”

    Wayne T Jones

  139. Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival! It’s the closest thing to Japan in the US, not the mention it’s absolutely breath taking. It usually runs mid March to mid April. Since it’s a festival there’s a ton to see! While you’re there you can stop by the Lincoln memorial and see the White House! Good luck! Prayers are with you and your family!

  140. If your sweetie would like to see some cows up close, we can handle that! He can a ride a huge tractor as well. Also, there used to be a Russel Stover candy factory in corsicana!

  141. Also in Corsicana is the Collin street bakery, it’s a pretty famous and we’ll known place and I’m sure they would love to have him!

  142. If you can get sponsors or help, please do not rule out going to Japan or seeing the Great Wall of China. There’s lots to see in Japan!!!

  143. Want to see where ice cream is made? The Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, TX has tours and ice cream at the end.

  144. I live in the Houston area & we have an awesome place called Light House for the Blind, if you haven’t already you should look into & see if they have any programs that could help y’all out throughout y’all’s journey. I know they have a special course set up for the blind to be able to experience driving.

  145. More suggestions for Fort Worth:

    Sundance Square (especially at night!)
    The Stockyards
    The Coyote Drive-In

  146. I would like to invite you and your entire family ice skating one day in Dallas. There are multiple ice rinks in the area and you can choose which one you would like to visit. Please let me know if you would like to attend and which day you can be available to go and I will make it happen! I love that your spirit is strong and that you have overcome so much. I will pray for you and your family and hope that you get your bucket list filled.

    May God Bless You and Your Family.

  147. Also, if you would like to go tubing this summer on the lake, we have a boat and many kids water “boat” toys to offer and would be honored to have the entire family down to Corsicana, TX for a day of lake fun and BBQ!

  148. I am pretty far away from the cities, at a place called Kavik River Camp up near the Arctic Ocean. If you email me, maybe we can get him up here this fall for the Northern lights and some Alaska time. No charge for staying here and I bet we can wiggle some airmiles to cover alot of the flying. I like to help kids and helping him scratch off an item on his bucket list would be an honor. The lights wont come out to play again until September or so. I would include some flightseeing in a bush plane so maybe he can see polar bears and the like.

  149. Hi Heidi,
    I have an old microscope in my garage that Ben can have.
    Hugs!
    -Anita

  150. My heart goes out to Ben and his family. I think it is just great that they are trying to make sure that Ben has many visual memories to draw upon after his vision is gone. Kudos to whoever thought to suggest such proactive measures. I think all of the things Ben wants to see are really wonderful choices. Being that family is such an important issue, I wonder if he would want to see what he and his siblings and parents will look like when he is an adult? There is such wonderful technology available for age advancement simulation, like they use to look for missing children. It would be neat if he could have an opportunity to visualize the other kids and himself in their grown appearance, so that he might have a better sense of his own adult appearance and relate to his siblings in the future with an idea of what they look like. Unfortunately, this is out of my skillset. If I could do this, I would. Maybe someone who has access to those programs could provide this for him, if this is something that interests him?

  151. Hey little man I just wanted to tell u keep your head up and everything always ends up working out! Its easy to say I know but it will b OK, but neway I wanted to float u a couple few ideas so hear they are -1) football stadium or even a game (lambeau field. Green Bay) 2) Basketball game (Celtics or Lakers maybe) 3) NASCAR race 4) University of Michigan college football game! ( in my mind all these places would b most exiting and some are historic , sports fan or not) and most of all spend time n take in all of ur family’s love cause they are n will b by you thru it all…n I’m not a doctor n don’t know exactly everything but don’t lose hope that maybe u will have some vision who knows? Best wishes to you and your family buddy !!! ~MuChLoVeOneLoVekEEpThEHoPe~

  152. You need to meet or at least talk with Erik Weihenmayer. He went blind at the age of 13 due to a rare eye disorder. He’s now in his 40s. He is one of the best inspirational speakers I’ve ever known. He also was the first (and only) blind man to summit Mt. Everest. Take a look at his website: http://www.touchthetop.com. I know he’d like to hear from you. He went through many of the same feelings as you are going through right now. It is Erik’s quest in life to empower people and to demonstrate that adversity has many, many advantages.

    Best of luck to you, Ben. With your strong positive attitude, you have the power to overcome anything in life. Your story will give you opportunities that will change your life!

  153. I agree with another person who posted regarding funding – SERIOUSLY, please consider getting a site created for him at http://www.gofundme.com/ and then get the word out through as many outlets as possible (media, friends, family, Facebook, school, co-workers, etc.) You will be surprised at how fast it will grow!

  154. I also live in Arizona and was going to suggest a couple of additional must see sites when visiting the Grand Canyon, but see that Krystal beat me to it. ๐Ÿ™‚ With that said, I give a big thumbs up for her recommendations with a few additional suggestions…it got lengthy!

    Grand Canyon south rim – If you can, I suggest lodging in the park itself. Both the Bright Angel Lodge (my first choice) and the Maswik Lodge have affordable rooms that don’t cost any more than staying in Tusayan which is one mile south of the park entrance. There are quite a few choices in Tusayan but nothing beats staying right there at the rim. Even though Tusayan is one mile from the park, it is easily still a half hour drive to the canyon itself and the additional time to navigate traffic and find parking.

    Highly recommended are the free shuttle buses that run several routes…two scenic routes (every 15 min) and one to/from Tusayan (during the summer) if you are staying there. There are also several museums and historical buildings that are on the scenic routes. Many of the drivers have their own narration with interesting stories along the way.

    Another consideration that might be enjoyed is a mule ride into and out of the canyon. A more affordable option is a shorter trail ride that takes you from the stables through the forest to a scenic outlook and back. This is NOT into the canyon, but would give Ben a nice western experience with the “cowboys” who escort the ride.

    Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon – Sedona, for many including myself, is the most favorite place in the state to visit. Beautiful red rock formations of grandeur proportions. When traveling south from the canyon and Flagstaff, take 89A south into Oak Creek Canyon for a beautiful scenic drive. If visiting in the summer, a stop at Slide Rock state park would be a nice fun swimming stop for the kids…water shoes highly recommended, the creek rocks are slippery! There are many activities to do in Sedona and if time permits, an over night stay or longer is ideal.

    The stunning drive of State Route 89A from Sedona to Prescott will take you through the small historic mountainside mining town of Jerome. Full of character, history and artists, this town is built on switchbacks and stilts. Don’t miss the Nellie Bly Kalidiscope store! It’s the largest in the world and is absolutely amazing! A FEAST FOR THE EYES!!!

    Prescott – Fabulous old Victorian town with a traditional court house on a central square. Don’t miss the Palace Saloon and the Sharlot Hall museum.

    I know this was a lot of info, but I hope it can help make Ben’s trip to AZ as memorable as possible. Please email if you desire any more info. I was once a travel agent and would be happy to help with your trip! I have 4 kids myself, so I know what it’s like to travel with a pack…lol.

  155. I am hoping and praying Ben gets to do a lot of these things. I have been blessed to travel a lot in my life. In NM if you make it to white sands make the short trip into Alamogordo the nasa space museum is there and they have a HUGE telescope. I grew up in the four corners and spent 17 years in CO there are a ton of things I loved seeing if you go to Estes park don’t leave out pikes peak it’s breath taking even in summer. The airplane and car museums are along the route to the Grand Canyon my kids spent more time there than at the canyon. In Az there is montezumas well montezumas castle the city of Jerome the petrified forest and the canyons of Sedona. If your headed south in az Tucson and tombstone are wonderful stops.

  156. Hello!
    There used to be a full replica of the Globe Theater in Midland, TX and the Blue Bell ice cream tour in Brenham,Tx is great!

  157. Some places that I have been and would jump at the chance to return to are (from west to east, sort of):
    – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
    – Devil’s Tower and Yellowstone National Park both also in Wyoming
    – The Badlands National Park in South Dakota
    – Lake Itasca in Minnesota which is the headwaters of the Mississippi
    – Riding to the top of the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
    – The Cahokia Mounds in Cahokia, Illinois (Also the world’s largest Ketchup Bottle is just down the road in Collinsville, IL)
    – Niagara Falls (The Canadian side is far more impressive in my opinion)
    – Arlington National Cemetery, kind of a somber place for kids but something worth seeing.
    – Smithsonian Museums, would probably take a week to feel you’ve seen half of what they have to offer.

  158. I would highly recommend Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona and Las Vegas. You might be able to squeeze those in during the Utah trip.

  159. I went to Niagara Falls when I was 26… Got on the Maid of the Mist… It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen… Breathtaking.. And the sound of the water and the visual together is something I will never forget

  160. There is a telescope group that meets once a month in the parking lot next to children’s museum of science and history in Fort Worth. A lot of people bring their telescopes and set them up for all to use to see planets and stars. It is free at this location. And you don’t have to be a member. There is also a location in the country so ppl can see better. I don’t know that location though. I think you have to be a member to go there but they may sponser you guys. Hope you enjoy this!!

  161. When you’re in San Antonio, eat at Alamo Cafe. You can watch them make the tortillas there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  162. Some neat southeast U.S. Places to see things: The American Museum of Science and Energy, the historic K-25 site overlook, graphite reactor display at ORNL- all in historic Oak Ridge Tennessee. Nearby attractions include spectacular scenery in the Great Smokey Mtns National Park, Sunsphere in Knoxville, Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN, Burgess Falls near Cookeville, Dollywood and other attractions near Sevierville, apple orchards/farms in western North Carolina, numerous alpaca and/or llama farms throughout the mountains of Tn,NC and Ga. John Campbell folk school in Murphy, NC. God bless you Ben and your family!

  163. Maybe you could make it to the Bluebell Creamery in Brenham TX. It’s a fun tour of the ice cream factory with free ice cream at the end. Only open during the week though so you have to plan around that.

  164. Molly, thank you for all of those great suggestions! I’ve heard NYC is actually incredibly safe, so that wasn’t my concern. I was trying to picture getting six kids around to all the places they would want to see and explore and trying to keep them close. Sometimes my kids are a little too confident exploring their world and it keeps me on my toes. ๐Ÿ™‚ You gave me some fun ideas and got me excited to make that happen someday!

  165. If you get to Germany Neuschwanstein Castle is beautiful as well as the Rhine river, boat tour along the coast to see castle ruins that are centuries old. The Swiss alps are stunning and I also got to see the place sound of music was filmed on my trip.
    Not exactly sure how much snow you have had in Texas but there is nothing more enchanting than the snowy woods in Wisconsin. Some of my favorite memories as a child were in the snow.
    Best wishes to you all!!!

  166. My son is legally blind and we lived in Maryland (15 minutes from Washington DC) when he was losing most of his vision. His favorite thing to see, while driving to and from his eye doctors in Bethesda, MD, was the Washington Monument because he could see the shadow even while driving by it in the car. My son was able to participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll one year and every year we lived in the DC area, he participated in the beeping Easter Egg hunt at the Washington Monument.

    I would highly suggest Yellowstone National Park (some glorious waterfalls), Teton National Park (just south of Yellowstone) and Mount Rushmore could be on that same trip. We live in Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods is always beautiful, Pikes Peak, the Air Force Academy (the chapel is wonderful to see) and the Olympic Training Center (you may even spot some of your favorites training). We have a wonderful zoo here too and the 5 star hotel “The Broadmoor”. One of my sons eye doctors in Bethesda, Maryland (his retina specialist, Dr. Gilbert) once told my son (when my son was 7) “I want you to know that if you do lose your vision, it doesn’t have to be the end of your world……..I have friends who are blind and they happen to be my happiest friends”.

  167. My husband and I were touched by this story and would love for Ben and your family to visit Albuquerque, NM and check out the Balloon Fiesta, it is definitely a site to see and there is nothing like it in the world. We dont have a lot of money, but would love to help in any way that we can. Balloon ride, place to stay or anything else that you may need. We would love to have you come to the land of enchantment! I will stop and get a postcard for Ben so he can get an idea of what the fiesta is all about. God bless you and your family and hopefully we will see you in October ๐Ÿ™‚

  168. If I was losing my eyesight I would want to come to Australia and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef! ๐Ÿ™‚

  169. If you’re coming to Utah you should consider Zion’s National Patk as well. I would like to help make that happen if you are interested. Please email me and let me know.

  170. The Parthenon and Athena are actually here in Nashville, not Ky. So when you come to ice at Gaylord in Dec, you can see those. There very close together. About 20 minutes apart. I might suggest staying at the Opry land hotel if you an swing it. It’s beautifully decorated for Christmas and has lots of great kids shows throughout the day complete with dancing water shows etc. It’s walking distance to ICE and the music city Rockettes as well as Opry Mills.

  171. Have you seen this list?

    http://www.factorytoursusa.com/

    It looks like in Texas alone, you could hit a bakery, chocolate making place, ice cream, salsa/sauces, etc.

    Also, at the craft stores (Michaels and Hobby Lobby def, not sure about AC Moore), you can take cake decorating classes and make fancy class. Pretty cheap (Michael’s runs specials) and it’s one day a week for a few weeks.

    Warning about the Louvre – Mona Lisa is really small and roped off so chances are he will not be able to get close and see it well.

    If you are going to DC, you should go to the National Zoo to tick off most of the animal sightings (free!) and you can hit Baltimore (2.5 hours from CD) and go to Charm City Cakes. Then, hey, you’re just a few hours from NYC… and could hit NJ’s (free) beaches on the way up.

    Also, very northern England (where I’m from) / into Scotland you can see Northern Lights.

    Cheers!

  172. Would be happy to take Ben and his dad cat fishing at Cedar Creek Lake. We have a twenty foot center console boat. We can fry fish at our house in Athens afterwards.

  173. This is a great list! Ben’s uncle’s suggestion of the Kimball is a great one…I love that building. When you go to the Modern, try to take a tour that talks about the architect and the creation of that building. I went on a field trip there in high school and remembered it was very interesting. (And there was a tactile component as they encouraged you to feel the walls to understand more about how exacting the architect was was in regards to the materials and methods used.

    I’m not sure if Ben was talking about a bike factory or shop, but there’s a small bike shop in Grapevine on Northwest Hwy near Main Street. There’s also a log cabin on Main Street.

    One place that comes to my mind is the Giant’s Causeway on Northern Ireland. I went there on a college trip and it was MAJESTIC. There’s a legend about its creation that would probably be fun for story time. If you can make it over there, I do recommend it. But pictures are also great!

    I wish you and your family the very best!

  174. There aren’t too many of them around anymore, but if you can find one in your area I would suggest a drive-in movie theatre. It is an experience not many kids get to have today. The only one that I know of that is still open is in Niagra Falls (the Canadian side). If you do end up there, the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not there is pretty amazing too.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  175. Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but the Chicago Christkindlmarkt is pretty impressive these days. I’m German and that is as authentic as it gets outside of Germany and not as far away. The sounds and smells and treats are definitely worth it.

  176. If you go to New Mexico for Albuquerque and Carlsbad Caverns (AMAZING caves, yes, I went as a kid and still remember 30 years later), maybe try to go to White Sands National Monument too as another commenter said. There are dunes there and they’re unusual, white gypsum instead of normal sand. Depending on when you go, there are tours there to the Trinity Site too, where atomic bomb testing was done a long time ago. The museum in town is less exciting but not bad, if you’re there and have the time anyway, but I’d go for “sledding” down sand dunes for a few more hours myself.

    Also, maybe a planetarium show? Another thing I did as a kid and remember very fondly.

  177. I absolutely love what you are doing for Ben!! You mentioned he wants to see a candy factory. When you take the trip to see the Redwoods, stop in San Francisco. Explore Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ghiradelli Square! That’s where all the Ghiradelli chocolates are made! Plus, there is a wax museum nearby and of course, the trolley!

  178. Yosemite would definitely be on my list. There are Mariposa Grove of giant sequios, (the redwood’s cousin), the Merced river, Half Dome, Glacier Point, water falls, and it is so beautiful and peaceful.

  179. I’m born and raised in San Diego and if he wants to see a beach we have one of the most beautiful in the world (and that is not just my opinion it is actually listed fact). La Jolla Shores is breathtaking and we have a seal colony there at the children’s pool area. Also down the road from the beach is one of the top oceanography institutes in the world, Scripps Institue of Oceanography. We also have Sea World and Legoland (not the one you listed but the original theme park with rides, etc). And we’re only an hour from the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland (a true must do with so much to see and experience).

    My son James and I wish Ben and the whole family the best on your travels and adventures. We can send him some postcards from SoCal if he’d like.

  180. What an amazing family that you all are, trying to give Ben some great visual memories! For some of those places that are too far away to see, there are replicas in the US. In Las Vegas, Paris Paris hotel has a replica of the Eiffel tower; New York New York has the Statue of Liberty and and Empire State Building; Caesar’s Palace has the Colosseum and there’s a “volcano” at the Mirage. A Leaning Tower of Pisa replica is in Niles, IL and a Parethenon replica in Nashville, TN. Universal Studios in FL or CA has a Harry Potter theme park and there is a Wizarding World online at the studios’ website. There’s a Mission Foods factor in Houston where maybe he can see how the tortillas are made. A Mt. Rushmore ride is at the Seven Peaks Fun Center in Lehi, UT and a Sistine Chapel replica made of Precious Moments characters in Carthage, MO. There’s an adaptive ski program nationwide…www.adaptiveski.org and you can a location close to you. San Diego Zoo has all the animals listed except the penguin and the shark which are present at Sea World in San Diego and San Antonio. Moose and the Northern Lights can be seen in northern Canada as well, although Alaska would be pretty awesome (I’ve been to Anchorage in the winter and did not get to see the lights…have to outside of the city and they weren’t that good the year that I was there. One more thing…food network is casting for a kids cook-off with Guy and Rachael-..http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/articles/get-cast-how-to-be-on-food-network.html. If he doesn’t want to try to be a contestant maybe he can vie to be in the audience. I hope some of this helps in your adventure. I don’t live near anything that’s been mentioned..i live in Seattle but if you guys ever decide you want to come up this way, please let me know. Good luck and have fun!!

  181. Comic-Con in San Diego in July 2014 or in Chicago 2014 are good places to learn more about how comics (Marvel,etc), sci-fi shows (Star Trek, Firefly, Atlantis) are written. The Chicago one has Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who appearing!

  182. Heather, Ben would absolutely love some postcards! Many years ago I visited La Jolla and I agree with you – it’s breathtaking, and I would love to share it with the kids. I’ll add that to our list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  183. The geysers at Yellowstone. I have seen pictures and they are amazing! I have a list going myself if things I want to see. I, myself, am going through the same thing as Ben. I was recently diagnosed with Ushers Syndrome and find your family’s enthusiasm to be infectious. I recently visited the universities in Pasadena, Ca. The grounds are beautiful! Sitting in on a class would be an amazing experience. Also, Death Valley is beautiful! You may want to consider going in the winter time because the salt fields give the mountains beautiful colors and the sunset is breathtaking! Big Bear, Ca. has a beautiful lake with waterfalls and an old village that’s fun to walk and experience. I hope Ben is able to experience as much as possible!

  184. Visit the Coca Cola Company in Downey California. I can arrange the visit. Watch and taste how Coke is made.

  185. It might sound creepy, but a just born baby, so he has an idea of what it’s like assuming he will have his own newborn to hold someday.. Also cotton floating in the air from cottonwood trees is quite beautiful. When you are in Arches make sure to plan to do the Fiery Furnace hike, as well as Delicate, it will allow him to explore the park in a way you can’t on the other trails that get really crowded.

  186. I think Ben should go to Michigan and have a trip to the top of the Mackinac Bridge tower, to see the expanse of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Mackinac Island and just ferl as if he’s in the clouds! http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/04/22/raffle-winner-to-visit-top-of-mackinac-bridge/
    Then, he needs to go to Mackinac Island! http://www.mackinacisland.org
    Then, he needs to see Tahquamenon Falls & the Soo Locks and take the boat tour and see the museum where the Edmund Fitzgerald’s Bell is on view! http://www.newberrytourism.com/index.php?page=Tahquamenon_Falls http://www.soolocks.com/index.phtml
    I could go on and on about what Ben should see in Michigan.

  187. If he’s interested in tigers, the Tiger Creek Wildlife Center may be on point. Also, the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (outside San Antonio) used to let you actually feed the animals on the safari. I’m not sure if they still do, but I highly recommend it. It’s one of my most vivid childhood memories.

    Good luck! I am so inspired by you taking this terrible hand you’ve been dealt, which you can’t do anything about, and turning it into an amazing adventure. I hope the memories stay with him, and he remembers more vividly all the things the rest of us often take for granted. The world is beautiful and I hope that he gets to see (and smell, and touch, and hear, and taste) all of it!

  188. I hope he is able to see as many of these things as possible. My 74 year old father is legally blind, losing most of his sight back in 1997. He’s been an avid sports fan most of his life, so one thing he did before his sight got even worse was travel to many of the very famous ballparks like Wrigley Field, Fenway, etc. Does Ben like baseball? I would also recommend, if you do make it to Paris, to visit the St. Chapelle church. A tiny church close to Notre Dame but it has the most gorgeous stained glass windows. Also, I live in the Seattle area and my husband works for the Nintendo American headquarters nearby. Are you able to do FaceTime or Skype? Maybe an option would be to do that with my husband and Ben could experience it that way.

  189. If he loves the beach, you need to take him to Destin, Florida. It it’s like heaven on earth. White sugary sands, emerald ocean and breath taking sunsets.

  190. Blue Bell Creamery does tours during the week. Y’all could go and take the tour and at the end you get a scoop of ice cream.

    I agree with the newborn baby. And driving a car.

  191. Niagara Falls is pretty spectacular. (we rented an RV and had a road trip with the kids it was a great way to see many things along the way and be comfortable) I think driving a car would be something to remember too. A real sunset on the beach when you see the sun “touch” the water.

  192. NORTHERN LIGHTS– In northern canada there is a city named Yellowknife. It is located in the center of the aurora belt that wraps around the world and actually has the best aurora viewing location of all cities in the WORLD. Highly recommended. Most viewable time would be November to march. YZF is the airport code. Yellowknife, northwest territories, Canada. Look it up.

  193. Great list, I hope gets a chance to see them all. Northern Alberta for the northern lights, they are amazing in the winter. Might be less $$ than Antarctic. Icebergs is something I would love to see, anything nature related really. Whales in their natural habitat.

  194. You could cross of a few things on your list if you visited Canada. More specifically the Yukon territory. Northern lights, ice skating, car cross desert, skiing, the mountains, a moose, big rivers, beautiful waterfalls, a short trip from there to Alaska and best of all we have Kinder Eggs!! Good luck on all your adventures!

  195. Inspiring story and sad as well!
    It would be a long way and an expense for you but you could cross off a few things (Northern Lights, for instance) with a trip to Northern Manitoba (yes, in Canada!). My family and I live in Alberta and I have seen pictures of trips to Northern Manitoba to see polar bears! They are beautiful creatures and VERY large! You could also do some outdoor ice skating (nothing like the feel of the hard ice under your skates, the cool breeze in your face and the warm sun!), cross-country skiing, and maybe find a hill for some fun sledding! Come on up… the people are friendly and the landscape is SPECTACULAR!
    Good luck!

  196. Northern Lights: Yellowknife, NWT, or Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada, or Fairbanks, Alaska.
    WestJet (Canadian airline company) flies out of Austin, Houston, El Paso, and Dallas.. fly in to Edmonton, or Calgary and then on to Yellowknife, or Whitehorse.
    Alaska Air also flies out of the same airports in TX, and you could fly into Seattle, WA (Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, Music Emporium, Seattle Ctr), or Portland, Ore. to connect to a flight to Fairbanks.
    I’m going to forward this website to WestJet, and Alaska… maybe they would be willing to help out some ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good Luck on completing your bucket list, Ben. Maybe you’ll be lucky with the new bionic parts for humans that are currently being made, you might qualify for a bionic eye!

  197. It is very difficult to choose what to see in a world with so many wonders. Here in Vancouver, British Columbia we have a Christkindlmart. I have been to Munich, Germany twice and the first time I went it was at Christmas. The market was like a magical experience that I will never forget. Our market it not very large but it sure feels like the real one; from the gluwein to the roasting nuts and the sausages. There is even a carousel on site. If you can manage it, it would be worth it. Check out the Vancouver Tourism site to see it. I wish you the time and good fortune to accomplish your list young man.

  198. Sounds like a trip to Canada is in order – skating on ice, northern lights, seeing a moose, ocean, mountains, Nordic and alpine skiing…

  199. he should come visit in northern alberta, and go for a quad ride (atv), through the bush to our cabin and get to see a moose up close, and even have moose meat stew and bannoch mmmm so good, if the time is right you can even see the northern lites, go camping and go boating and fishing, lots of fun,

  200. It may be a little chilly but a good display of the Northern lights can be truly unforgettable. I can close my eyes even today 30 years later and still see the colours and the movement or dancing of the lights. Get away from Yellowknife about 50km on a clear night. That’s the tough part, but I think it’s worth the attempt.
    Also a good telescope and the moon, Mars, and Jupiter.

  201. Definitely Skype with Nintendo in Washington State!
    I live in DC and would say he should go to: Ford Theater, National Cathedral, obviously all the outdoor monuments on the mall, ride on the subway, US capital building, Supreme court, go up in the Washington Monument, See a show a the Kennedy Center, take a hike at Great Falls.

  202. I am a monocular adult, and have faced a fear of losing my sight my whole life, so Ben’s story has really touched me. I plan on sending post cards, but I thought I’d throw this out there. A HUGE amount of video game companies have headquarters in Austin, not too far away. You might be able to get to one of them and take care of that wish too. Here is a list:

    http://www.gamedevmap.com/index.php?tool=location&query=Austin

    Hugs to your whole family, extra knuckle-bump to Ben,
    Jeff

  203. If you are planning a trip to DC to see the monuments, it’s only a short drive up to Hershey, PA – candy factory AND amusement park all in one! The Goddard Space Flight Center is also on the way. Gourmet cupcake and donut shops are right next door to bike shops on Capitol Hill, and the National Aquarium is in Baltimore… Make it up our way, and we’ll help you knock out as much of your list as we can! ๐Ÿ™‚

  204. Regarding the wish to go to a Bakery and see fancy cakes decorated: have you considered attending a Wilton Cake Decorating class or finding a Wilton Cake Decorating instructor to give an overview of techniques? At their website you can search for classes by distance from your home. The class location should have contact information for the instructor or the ability to take a message to be given to the instructor. My homeschooled daughter was taught how to decorate her own cake by my mother-in-law, who is a Wilton Cake Decorating instructor. What fun! And cake decorating encompasses more than flowers; there are other interesting techniques. HTH! Praying for you and your family, Kelly ๐Ÿ™‚ in Canada <

  205. When you come or San Antonio, you should definitely make a trip to Morgan’s Wonderland. It’s a truly extraordinary, multi sensory experience.

  206. I think for the bakery, you should contact the bakery from TLC SHOW cake boss and get him In there for the day!!!!! I’m desire they would love to help.

  207. I’m in Los Angeles and have two guest rooms your family is welcome to if you visit! I also have some cool crittersโ€ฆ I rescue, rehab, and bottle-feed squirrels, opossums, skunks, and raccoonsโ€ฆ. I always have baby something or others and would love help bottle-feeding! The California Science Center is a must! The space shuttle is there and starting May 20, there is an exhibit opening with things from Pompeiiโ€ฆ Season tickets to a USC game and I know people so I could possibly get you on the field during the gameโ€ฆ Also, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, The Museum of Toleranceโ€ฆ Also, the Reagan Museum! They have Air Force One there! So many things! I also live next to some movie peopleโ€ฆ. He’s a director and she is a producerโ€ฆ Their latest film is Wolverine and they did Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yumaโ€ฆ. I know they would love to hook you up with some cool kids tours! Also have some actor friends (you would know their names)โ€ฆ We have a van that seats 7 officially but given the age of your kids, they could squeeze! I wold love to help!

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

    We are nothing like cartoon network or a network studio but we are located a little closer to you, in Oklahoma City.

    Starbase Studios has Star Trek fans from all over the country that travel to Oklahoma City to film their own fan made tributes to Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek the Original Series. We have recreated an exact replica of the USS Enterprise bridge used in the show.

    We would be honored to set up a private tour for you and your family, that is if you are Star Trek fans.

  209. We are stationed in Germany, not too far from Munich. I hear Neuschwanstein castle is absolutely beautiful. It is the castle they based Cinderella’s castle of. Regensburg, Germany is also a beautiful place. The cathedrals are amazing there. If you cannot visit, I would love to send you postcards of these places.

  210. Just saw your story on Katie and am inspired and intrigued by your list Ben. After spending many years in Colorado, I couldn’t agree more about a wish for a trip there. The Frasier Valley/Winter Park area is amazing. We love staying at Snow Mountain Ranch – family cabins with lots to do summer or winter (ice skating near Winter Park skiing in winter). It’s a YMCA property. If you make it to Colorado you could stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park. A road trip from TX through NM to Colorado to Sand Dunes then the mountains could cross several things off of your list.

  211. If your going to Colorado/ Denver having grown up there you should go to:
    – The Denver Mint to see how coins are made they give free tours also
    – The Molly Brown house “the unsinkable Molly Brown” from the Titanic
    – Not in Denver but if your goanna be around Arches national park or Zion national park in UT you should stop at Mesa Verde in CO pretty close to those parks probably one of my favorite things I have ever seen!
    – All the aspen trees up in the mountains during fall when the leaves all turn gold absolutely breathtaking
    – Great Sand Dunes National Park
    – Rocky Mountain National Park (better in the summer/ early fall also moose live there along with ATON of elk, seriously they are everywhere)
    – White water rafting (one of my absolute favorite things to do)
    – Pikes Peak
    – Seven Falls (also the local Indians do a really cool show there)
    Those would be my favorite things that I can think of that my not already be on your list. Good luck and God Bless!!!

  212. Visit Muir Woods just north of San Francisco you can see redwoods in the most beautiful setting.

  213. If you do come to Colorado this month for the candy factory, I would love to help your family see some of our sites. He could see the elk, rivers, sand dunes, red rocks amphitheater. Please let me know what I can do to help ๐Ÿ™‚

  214. For the sahara you could also go to “Little Sahara” here in Oklahoma.

    Chicago has some really neat museums

  215. I am not a sports fan but he might be one day. I say you try to take him to as many actual games (baseball/ basketball/ football/ hockey/ etc). And maybe take a cruise! You could check off many of his list depending on where the cruise goes. And possibly get some extra sight! Maybe a cruise company would help out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  216. For sand dunes, visit White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Gorgeous mammoth sized white dunes that resemble mountains of snow. Drivable distance from north Texas.

  217. I would suggest Willis Tower in Chicago. Their new leaning windows will be something he will never forget. And while there, he could take in Shedd Aquarium (I bet they will take him behind the scenes) as well as Field Museum and the Art Institute.

  218. A beautiful church with stained glass windows on a bright sunny day. Let him stand in the colors and just be silent. Niagra Falls! The thunderous sound and spray of the water and the rainbow it creates is just beautiful. Take Ben to a huge parade and also you definitely need to see a giant fireworks display! Baby birds in a nest. Play with the puppies or kittens at a pet store or your local shelter. I would try to include as many things on the list as possible that have a high sensory input. If these are his favorite things he will probably want to go back again. While he may not have his vision he will have the same sensory input. It may help him to recall those memories more vividly. My hubby and I are the parents of now 16 year old twins. Born at 23 weeks – 1.5lbs. One of our sons has cerebral palsy as a result. I can see the love you have for each other and the love Ben has for life. That was there from birth or he wouldn’t be here. Our children were born fighters. He’ll get through this with your love and support and Ben’s strength will help you and your family be strong too! Love and hugs from my family to yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  219. What about making your own ice cream? There is nothing better than homemade (no artificial stuff in it) You can find ice cream/yogurt makers and they come with basic flavours. I can even send you a great recipe I found for Mayan Chocolate ice cream.
    Wishing strength and courage to you all. Feel the love that everyone is sending to you Ben.
    Love, from Canada

  220. Hi Thaden!
    I’m not sure if your husband, Kit, remembers me. I used to paint for Reaper along with Jennifer Haley and Anne Foerster back in the early 2000. Feel free to hit me up when you visit Colorado. My firstborn son was also premature and I had to deliver him via emergency cesarean at 23 weeks while my husband was also undergoing a major abdominal surgery at a different hospital on that same day. Alas we lost him due to heavy hemorrhage in his brain the next day.

    I live in Conifer, which is one of the mountain area in CO. It will be an honor for me to be able to help by showing you and Ben around to places like the Red Rocks Natural Amphitheather, Garden of the Gods, etc. where he can witness the wonder of nature. Feel free to send me an email so we can arrange things.

  221. I strongly reccommend California for:
    – Death Valley (I’ve driven it; it’s perfectly fine as long as you make sure you top off your gas tank, have good tires (including a spare), a working air conditioner, and of course bring coolers of chilled food and beverages, on ice). You only have to worry about DV if your car breaks down. Even then, the highway patrol can come get you. And lots of people drive through it so its not like you will be alone in the desert.
    – Drive the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego through Los Angeles, Ventura Beach, all the GORGEOUS coastal towns, Big Sur state park area, Morrow Rock (GIANT boulder about 1,000 feet from the highway, stop amd feed the swuirrels—-they will eat from your hand and love people and are as fat as cats and dogs; continue north past the Heart Mansion (stop an see it; its a state park now), USMC base Camp Pendleton, San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombardi Street (curvy curvy), and then go north into the Redwoods area/redwoods state park.

    On the way back drive through GORGEOUS northern California to YOSEMITE; absolutely beautiful. You go through rolling hills, vibrant green grass, farms, lakes, diners, majestic scenes, etc. Take the southern entrAnce to the park; if tou take the roads to the northern entrances there might be snow on the ground. We went through Tolne Canyon and it was BREATHTAKING. Many little villages in the hills leading to Yellowstone. They have fishing, hiking, etc.

    On the way back to Texas goto the Grand Canyon. If you can, take the donkey rode to the inside ofthe bottom of the GC. Its GREAT. Five hours in, five hours out, BUT but worth it. Collect dirt an flowers from everywhere you go and make a memory board displaying his treasures. Maybe the smells of the flowers will help him as he loses his eyesight.

  222. I can’t offer much right now, but I live 25 minutes from Mount Rushmore and would love to help in anyway I can. Rushmore is a great sight, we’d love to show him and the family this great American monument!

  223. The Braums farm is located in Tuttle and they provide free
    tours of their facility. It is not far from Turner Farma.

  224. I live in Toronto and would be happy to ship some kinder eggs! Also I live 45 minutes from Niagara Falls…I would be happy to go visit and FaceTime / skype?

  225. Since he likes to see things under a microscope he might enjoy seeing pictures of snowflakes close up: http://io9.com/amazing-close-up-photos-of-snowflakes-taken-without-a-m-1478945547
    Or how about some miniature art?
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/the-very-large-list-of-very-tiny-things

    Some around the world videos, that might inspire some more ideas:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/laraparker/around-the-world-in-video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTlXttQL_Yk

    Or how about glow worm caves:
    http://youngadventuress.com/2014/01/waitomo-glow-worm-caves.html
    And how about pandas:
    http://live.ipanda.com/
    Or how about bioluminescene:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HXXQBz6Vv0
    Which mentions the Giant Squid, which by the way they have footage of now:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/edith_widder_how_we_found_the_giant_squid
    Or how about a different sort of beekeeping:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/11/honey-hunters-nepal_n_4937079.html
    Or weird birds that don’t really look real when they open their mouths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C3sCm1fzSI
    Tiny, sort of silly squeaky frog:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBkWhkAZ9ds

    Another cool place to look at: Bhutan. It’s a very different way of living over there and they’ve got really cool culture (Bhutan also translates to Dragon Kingdom which is pretty sweet because the king is also “Dragon King” and the people are “Dragon People”)

    Pictures of some tribes:
    http://www.boredpanda.org/vanishing-tribes-before-they-pass-away-jimmy-nelson/

    Since he’s interested in food, has he listened to this Ted Talk?
    http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable

    Speaking of food if you discover he likes sushi, maybe add going to Japan to the list? I’ve heard the sushi varies as you travel across Japan. Plus there’s the bonus of seeing temples, going to museums (such as the Trick Art Museums or Hara Model Railway Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwrQiaPjpr4), cat/dog cafes, robots, cherry blossom festival, etcetc.
    You can check out this website:
    http://japanlover.me/cool/
    which has a few posts on “things to do” when in certain parts of Japan.

    I also suggest watching a Studio Ghibli movie together (such as Porco Rosso, which has REALLY beautiful animation and it’s also just a really good movie about a pig/man who flies planes) and “Life In A Day” (http://youtu.be/JaFVr_cJJIY).
    And a shorter animation to watch (about five minutes) that is really fun and adventurous:

    Since he likes seeing how things are made here’s how a t-shirt was made:
    http://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/you

    He likes Harry Potter, have you seen the Very Potter musicals (there’s three, starting with this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmwM_AKeMCk). Best to watch after finishing the books and movies.

    I think that is probably more than enough suggestions from me. Of course there’s many more I could list but I’ll leave you with this.

    I wish your family the best of luck checking off that bucket list! As an artist, losing my eyesight is one of my biggest fears so I really respect that Ben is keeping his head up and going to see the world while he can!

  226. As fellow homeschoolers in the area, we would love to meet up on some of your adventures! We are spending some time in HB, CA this summer and will send you some postcards and a baggie of sand. You’ll have to compare it to Florida sand, which is like powder. CA sand is very rough.
    You should take him to Chuy’s to see tortillas made. My kids LOVE the “Tortilla Lady” at Chuy’s Restaurant. She rolls the dough and bakes them at an open window in the restaurant. When the kids go to visit her, she gives them a piece of tortilla dough to play with at the table. It’s FUN!! Every Chuy’s that we’ve been to has the same set-up and kind “Tortilla Lady.”
    Have you been to Henry’s Ice Cream in Plano? He’s SO nice and has done home school tours for us before, with SAMPLES at the end. Yeehaw!

  227. I didn’t have time to read all the comments so I hope this isn’t a repeat. Ben, I’m sure you would love seeing the Fall leaves in Vermont (or any state in the Northeast). At their peak, they make the sky look like it’s on fire. It will take your breath away!

  228. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

  229. 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.

  230. 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?

  231. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ And maybe you could see the Columbia River Gorge & Multnomah Falls while you’re there. Sending our best wishes to sweet Ben!!

  232. 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

  233. 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.

  234. Hello my name is David Snell and I live in Frisco and first heard of Bens story on ch 8 tonight. I see that he seems to have a big love for airplanes and aviation and so do I. I own http://www.starlightflight.com out of Addison and would love to offer a aviation day that Ben and all of his family will remember for a life time if interested. Ben’s story pulled at my emotions tonight as when I was a kid I too used to watch the airplanes take off/land at DFW including the concord………giving away my age now at 44! I was adopted and after finding my biological mom in Fairbanks years ago I too have seen the Northern lights which are amazing when you catch them etc. Ben’s story put things in perspective for me and I bet many others or so it should. I wrote Janet St James a bit ago but perhaps this offer will make it faster first hand: I would love to set up a number of aviation related attractions for Ben and his family to do with me when able at Addison Airport. Anything from a family tour of the control tower to a few visits to a few multi million dollar corporate jets I have access to visit if he likes. Concluding our time spent with a airplane ride for Ben and any family members making the offer to Ben to not only ride but fly along with us as my co pilot. As a flight instructor I would love nothing more than to give Ben the opportunity to not only ride along but fly the plane with me if he likes. This is an open offer and I hope that either Kit or Heidi will reach out to me to discuss cell 469-767-2645. I hope that Ben and his family will explore my offer of this aviation experience that he/they will remember for years to come. In all of his wish request I may have missed “flying” but for a kid who seems to love airplanes/airports I can offer him a day they will never forget I would love to be able to give to them if they like. Please email me direct at dsnell@grandecom.net or call my cell 469-767-2645. Sincerely, David Snell/Owner/Pilot

  235. 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.

  236. 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.

  237. 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

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

  239. 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

  240. 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!

  241. 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.

  242. 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.

  243. 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.

  244. 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.

  245. 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.

  246. Now is a wonderful time to view Jupiter and itโ€™s moons, Mars, and Saturn with itโ€™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

  247. 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.

  248. 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

  249. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ (He’s 6 months old now.)

    Best wishes,
    Kiel

  250. 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!!!

  251. 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.

  252. 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.

  253. 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!

  254. Hello there,
    Something I really miss after suddenly losing my eye sight is stargazing! How about witnessing a meteor shower? Its something I always wanted to see but didn’t have a chance to. Look up whens the next meteor shower and be sure to see it.
    The sight of the Milky Way is something I can never forget, away from city lights, take Ben stargazing.
    God bless you all, love from Bahrain.

  255. Hello Ben and family! I used to live in No. California, and Ben absolutely should see those redwoods! A good place to see them is Humboldt State Park – I’ve camped there many a time and it’s wonderful. If you get to see San Francisco, you may also want to take a side trip to West Marin County and see the Point Reyes National Seashore. There’s a lighthouse there (200 steps down – then back up!) that is pretty cool, and I’ve often seen gray whales from Feb-Apr.

    I mostly wanted to ask if there’s any sort of kickstarter or similar account set up for donations to this worthy cause? I (and maybe some other folks who’ve heard this story) would like to donate to help with the costs of travel.

  256. What a wonderful thing you are doing for your family! There is a Christmas market in NYC in Central Park . NYC at Christmas is a wonderful time of year and I would suggest you take your family there to see the German market, the tree in Rockefeller Center and perhaps go Ice Skating there or in Central Park and see a play. You can easily head an hour and a half north of NYC to Hunter Mountain or Windham and ski there too.
    Best of luck to you,
    Kari

  257. Ben should visit Indianapolis for the Indianapolis 500 sometime. You only see the cars for a short time, but the noise and the vibration from the cars is amazing, so it could be a non-vision bucket list item.

    On a smaller sand dune scale, Lake Michigan has some. They’re not huge, obviously, but the lake is beautiful and it’s a quick trip to Chicago, which has some magnificent places, too!

    Your family makes my heart happy.

  258. If you visit Mount Rushmore you should take the drive on Needles Highway and stop at Sylvan Lake. I also highly recommend The Badlands. Some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!

  259. Don’t let the frat-boy images of Mardi Gras scare you away from
    New Orleans! There are PLENTY of family and kid friendly Mardi Gras parades throughout the city. Just avoid Bourbon street and you will be fine ๐Ÿ™‚ Awesome city with so much culture…I vote YES!

  260. You could show him some great fun and do a snorkeling trip on a cruise! It’s a great relatively inexpensive family vacation and Carnival has some great kids features and some excellent destinations and ports of call. We love snorkeling in Roatan, Honduras! Our six year old went on his first snorkeling trip there a few weeks ago!

  261. I know Ben has already met an astronaut, but did you know that Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama has a weeklong camp for Visually Impaired children? Just last week we hosted 200 children, aged 10-18, who studied space exploration and participated in Space Shuttle missions. Ben could be an astronaut, if even for just one week! Think about it and if Ben is interested, feel free to contact me!

  262. There is a Christkindlmarket in Chicago. It starts this year on Nov. 21 and runs until Dec. 24. Still a ways from Texas but not as far as Germany.

  263. The European items on the list and the Globe theater indicate that he may some interest in medieval times. I would strongly recommend a day at a renaissance faire. It’s not terribly authentic, but people dress up, there is tons of music and entertainment, arts and crafts, usually demonstrations of things like glass blowing and blacksmithing, some animal exhibits, maybe some jousting, and lots of food.

  264. In Northern California there are 2 wonderful redwood groves….Ave of the Giants in Garberville and The giant Sequioas in Murphys California….If there is anything my wife and I could do to help you achieve your goals please let us know!!!!

  265. I see that you have already visited San Antonio, but if New Orleans or Mobile are not feasible for the Mardi Gras experience, have you thought about coming here during Fiesta in April? We have the Battle of the Flowers parade on Friday with lots of floats, bands, horses, etc., and then the Fiesta Flambeau parade the next day (Saturday night) with the floats lit with lights. There’s lots of bead throwing just like at Mardi Gras. The events are family friendly, in fact the schools in the city even close on Friday so families can go to the parade. Perhaps if you contacted the organizers they could arrange for Ben to ride on one of the floats. The dates for the 2015 parades are April 24 and 25. In addition, if you didn’t visit Sea World while you were here it’s an awesome experience. Perhaps they would even arrange a special behind the scenes tour for Ben, where he could actually interact with and touch some marine animals as well as birds (ask for Leo if he’s still with the Education department, he’s full of knowledge and gives a wonderful tour).

  266. I can help with Mardi Gras (not in Nola). We are in Houma La which is the second largest Mardi Gras Please contact me asap

  267. I see Ben wanted to try skiing? I suggest taking him to Mt. Washington Resort on Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada. It is extremely beautiful up there and they have excellent ski lessons for beginners. I live not far from there so I can help if you were interested.

  268. Hi Heidi and Ben! I just learned about Ben’s story on Facebook and am so touched by your family’s quest to help him see the world! I’ve been lucky enough to travel some of the world myself (I had my first birthday in London, England, I traveled to China when I was 6 with my family to adopt my baby sister- who’s now 11-, and I got to visit Paris, France and Ireland when I was 9- I’m 16 now :)) so I think it’s awesome that Ben has gotten some amazing experiences! I really hope you get to go to Paris- that’s one of my favorite places in the world. If you get to visit the Eiffel Tower, I really recommend going up at night. You can see the whole city lit up and it’s absolutely beautiful! Another place I love (and my parents love because it’s budget friendly ;)) is Yosemite National Park in California, which is the state I live in :). It’s a lot of fun to camp there, and there are tons of adventures you can embark on there! My personal favorite is the hike up to Yosemite falls. The hike is hard (brace yourself for 50+ switchbacks) but the view is worth it!! I hope Ben never stops dreaming, even after his eyesight leaves him. One of my good friends is blind, and although she wears sunglasses most of the time, if you saw her in action you’d never know she can’t see. She’s on a blind rowing team that competes in many places all over the world, she skiis black diamond runs in Yosemite and Mammouth Mountain, and she climbs trees better than anyone I’ve ever met!! She’s never let anything stop her from doing what she loves, and I hope Ben will do the same. I wish you all the best and I hope Ben is able to see all the places he wants to!!

    Sincerely, Sarah ๐Ÿ™‚

  269. Hey Ben and family! ๐Ÿ™‚ I just saw your story, and I wanted to share some links to areas close to you. I’m from Shreveport, but I lived in New Orleans for nearly 10 years. I definitely agree with others who have said that Mardi Gras in New Orleans is amazingly kid-friendly (maybe just stay off Bourbon Street, but the outer areas are very family oriented .. kids are everywhere and families are having a good time together.) But, I have been living in Shreveport for a while now, and the Mardi Gras parades have definitely grown and they have become a great alternative if you can’t make it to the festival in New Orleans. I left the link to the Shreveport events you may want to check out … other than Mardi Gras there is also the Holiday Trail of Lights that is fun for the kids and the adults. Lots of lights, ice skating, a snow machine, fireworks, carnival rides, etc …

    So, just thought I would leave some ideas. Mardi Gras in Shreveport is a good alternative, but New Orleans really can be a family oriented festival, too. I love going to the holiday light festival in Natchitoches .. especially on opening night when they do fireworks over the water. And every kid (and 99.9% of adults) absolutely loves Celebration in the Oaks in New Orleans, but it’s also a great place to go for events during the non-holiday season.

    Shreveport events:
    http://www.sbfunguide.com/

    Natchitoches Christmas Festival:
    http://www.christmasfestival.com/schedule-of-events/
    http://holidaytrailoflights.com/

    New Orleans Celebration in the Oaks:
    http://neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks

    Also, I think I saw he wanted to go to Italy to the Colosseum. I was there a couple of years ago and a piece of it broke off in my hand (trust me, im not strong enough to pull a piece of the Colosseum off, so please nobody blast me for “destroying” a historical place .. but rather than just drop it I brought it back with me, so that my 80 yo grandmother who has never been able to afford to travel could feel a piece of Italy) but back to my point – I would be happy to send it to Ben to have now. Of course I hope that he gets to see Italy for himself, but if not maybe the rock from the Colosseum will make him as happy as it did my grandma. Just let me know. And please send my best wishes to Ben and his siblings!

    Lauryn

  270. I know.someone who was featured on cupcake wars maybe I could forward you the info and they can have a chat about the show? ๐Ÿ™‚ and if you are ever in Washington state he should add the space needle and great wolf. lodge in Olympia! I’d love to set up something to make this happen! If your interested hopefully my email pops up for you!

  271. I highly recommend Yellowstone National Park. Animals you’ll see are bison, bears, moose, coyotes, & if you’re really lucky you’ll hear the wolves. There are geysers, hot springs, fountains, waterfalls, & rushing rivers. There are great day hikes, too. Something to reinforce the benefits of homeschooling, Yellowstone is a volcano; talk about a great outdoors classroom! There are ash deposits, basalt columns, and the above listed hot springs/geysers. If you’re able to go, go for at least a week. June is a great time to go because it isn’t yet full tourist season. You could check in with the tourist information center about ranger &/or geologist guided tours. Best wishes to Ben & family.

  272. Adding Yellowstone to our list! I remember seeing it as a child when I was around Ben’s age and it was fantastic! Thanks for the suggestion.

  273. We just saw the space needle on our way to Alaska! He thought it was “awesome” even though we didn’t have time to go up it.

  274. Hello Heidi,

    My wife and I live in the San Francisco Area and would love to assist when you make your way out to the Golden Gate Bridge. For a twist, I’d personally like to offer my piloting services and let Ben not only see the famed bridge from the air, but also let him experience what it is like to fly an airplane. Of course, you and/or your husband are also invited to partake in his experience (please note, however, that the planes I fly are only four-seaters).

    Regards,

    Alex Esguerra

  275. If you are going to Europe, go to Paris. There is so much to see and so many memorable experiences. One of my favorites is Sainte Chapelle. It’s not one of the bigger churches on the tourist circuit, but the first time I went there, it brought me to tears. It’s like walking into a kaleidoscope. The pictures don’t do it justice. You are bathed in colors from the massive stained glass windows. It’s indescribable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Chapelle

  276. Hi! I have read your story and if you are going to Italy, visit Pompeii and Herculaneum. Also walk up to the crater of Vesuvius where you will see the steam vents! Rome is nice, especially when you see a “gladiator” in front of the Colosseum! I live in London UK. There are masses of “cool” things to experience here!
    Best wishes to Ben and all the family. ๐Ÿ˜€

  277. Hii Ben!!
    you are so good boy i knew about ur story today and wish tell u a special travel tip. When you can please come to latin america and visit brazil!! Rio de Janeiro is awesome. The sunset in Ipanema’s beach is so beautiful.

    hug and kisses from Brazil!!!

  278. venham conhecer o nosso Brasil… Paรญs lindo cheio de surpresas e coisas maravilhosas.
    Temos as mais belas praias, comidas tipicas de cada estado, culturas diferenciadas, e o carinho que sรณ brasileiro tem…

  279. Other places I would need to see:

    Niagara Falls (my favourite place on earth!)
    Google HQ (because, nap pods)
    Banff National Park
    The Rocky Mountains

  280. Hello Ben and family,
    We are a grade 4 class in Ontario, Canada. We have some suggestions for your bucket list………from some grade 4’s to another.
    Here they are:
    -go to a Hockey game
    -go to a FIFA Soccer game
    -Skydiving
    -go to a Museum
    -go to Niagara Falls (New York side)
    -come to the CN Tower in Toronto Canada
    -go to a Zoo
    -visit a Dinosaur museum
    -go to a car show
    -go to a Truck pull
    -see fireworks
    -come to Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughn Ontario
    -come to Canada
    -go to an amusement park
    -go to Ripley’s Aquarium
    -go on a plane ride
    We hope Ben experiences some great things on his bucket list. We are thinking of him and wishing him luck!!
    All the best Ben,
    Mrs. M and the grade 4’s

  281. Clingman’s dome in the fall, its in tennessee, then there is alot of other waterfalls too in the Great Smoky Mountains. Tahquamenon falls in michigan, and the lake of the clouds. The biltmore mansion at christmas time in Asheville, NC.

  282. There’s a world of great SOUNDS out there too! Pierce family: Keep an eye out in the mail for a special offer from LMTclub.com. I prefer not to post it here, but we would like to support your travel for years to come!

  283. Ben, Please have your parents call me collect if necessary @ 626-932-0052. I am in southern California. I hope what I tell your parents will have sincere meanings to them and you. I am not a goof so please call me. we are on standard pacific time.

  284. Niagra Falls on the Canada side is just breath- taking. So is Mount Rushmore and the story behind the stone carving.

  285. god bless Ben. I do hope he gets to see as many places as he can. maybe he would like to see Niagara falls I’ve never went always wanted to go. maybe he could tell me how it was ๐Ÿ™‚

  286. Pls. let me know what I can do for Ben’s trip for China, the Great Wall and Forbidden City is a must see. I have 3 kids myself, I know what it is like when they wish for something. Thank You

  287. I had never traveled before until I married my second husband. We bought a 5th wheel and went to all 50 states and Canada. Right now I can close my eyes and see all of the many sites I have seen. When you take a step back and close your eyes you can see everything God wants you to see. God Bless You Ben! I hope we don’t stop hearing your stories in the future.

  288. Niagara Falls. Though you get better views from the Canadian side you don’t need passports on the NY side.

  289. I would go to the biggest zoo that I was able to get to. Something with as many hands on animal encounters as possible. Not only for the sight, but all the senses. God bless your family! I am praying that Ben gets to see everything on his list. GO BEN!!

  290. The Nile…sunrise/sunset over the Nile….the great pyramids of egypt and the sphinx….stonehenge…

  291. The only place in the United States where you can touch 4 states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico)all at the same time. As a child I thought this was the coolest thing!! A trip to Michigan to Greenfield Village, a tour through one of the Many Auto Plants. Then head up north to the UP (Upper Pennisula to see the Soo Locks in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan. Also Stopping in Battle Creek at the Kellogg’s Cereal Factory for a tour!! Best of Luck and I think you need to start a website for Ben at GOFUNDMe.com Best of Luck and may God bless your family!! <3

  292. Hi Ben

    We live in Australia ,we would love to send you all something from Aus give us a few ideas and ill get it underway to make sure you receive before Christmas as things move a little slow here look forward to hearing from you ,,we will follow your story and do what we can to make your dreams come true God Bless

  293. A few more interesting places in Michigan are Frankenmuth, Michigan a must to visit is “Bronners” where everyday is Christmas there. On the west side of the state we have Holland, Michigan complete with windmills and Ben can have his own pair of personalized wooden dutch shoes made (still have mine LOL)!! Best time to visit is during the Tulip Festival. The trip to Mackinaw City where he can visit Colonial Fort Michilimackinac. Ben then can take the Jet Boat ride to Mackinaw Island, where you only mode of transportation is walking, bike or Horse Carriage. Drive across the Mackinaw Bridge which is 5 miles long to get to the only state that has a “Upper Pennisular”. Everyone wants to say they visited the “Mitten” state!!

  294. Let him see some real wild life bring him to Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania he will really appreciate the site of all the big cats and elephants in the wild nature. God bless you all.
    you won’t regret it.
    best of luck.

  295. Hi. I was listening to some indian herbal advise on improving eye sight as well as cure some problems. The guy said of you put your own saliva that comes out first thing in the morning when you awake before you do anything else, that saliva has a benefit for your eyes. Apply it inside your eye. It has many benefits. You could give it a try. Cure is from God.

    Regards

  296. If ever in New York – there are things here I could arrange at no cost to you such as:
    sport fishing
    hockey game at Madison Square Garden
    Broadway show/dinner at a real nice restaurant
    football game
    stay positive – it does help

  297. The Georgia Aquarium. It’s amazing! They have Whale Sharks. You can pet baby sharks and sting rays. It’s an amazing feeling. The Whale Sharks are as big as a bus. We would love to meet up with you if you can manage a trip to Atlanta. One of the Beluga Whales is even expecting.

  298. 1) A Zoo. See as many animals as possible.
    2) Leaves changing colors in the Fall. Mountains painted all shades of red, orange, yellow,… Combine this with Niagara Falls or anyplace closer to home.

    Good luck Ben! With technology, I’m praying you will see all of things when you get older too.

  299. PLEASE go to Niagara Falls. It is one of the Natural Wonders of the World. Something you will never forget Powerful yet calming. Magnificent !!! God bless you and your wonderul family.

  300. Hi! I’m working in an Italian tourist board and I’ll send some postcards from My town to Ben! My personal suggestion for Ben’s trip is: wherever in Italy! Every big town, or small village has something to be seen and to be tasted! Good luck!!

  301. Hi Ben,
    If you travel east………New York City has many attractions to see. Empire state building……Rockfeller Center………the 911 memorial……….Times Square……..Central Park…..Statue of Liberty….etc.
    God Bless you & your family in your travels. Best to all of you!

  302. I’m so sorry to hear about your eye disease. Have you been to Six Flags? My boys love it! Washington DC? Also, I went on my dream trip to Maine last year. It was awesome! You would probably love whale watching and a sailboat ride. Mount Rushmore?
    Best of luck to you!
    Tammy LaCrone,
    Pacific, MO

  303. I’d just like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. I am afraid to fly and getting on a plane in just a few hours. When I face my fears and see the clouds in the sky, I will think of Ben and remember that I get to have the precious gift of sight. I wish you love and joy on your continued journeys. May the love you feel in your heart always light your way.

    Warmly,
    Su

  304. New York! The city of lights! Come see the city that amazes me every day. Top of the rock will give you a tremendous view of the city we call Gotham.

  305. I am so sorry to hear about your son. I think what you are doing for him is amazing!My suggestion: The road to Hana in Maui has some of the most amazing things I have ever seen! Rainbow eucalyptus trees, the black sand beaches, we even saw the cliff where they filmed the opening scene of Jurassic Park, they also have a dormant volcano, Haleakala that has the most beautiful sunrises and Sunsets and you can watch this on youtube. If you are able to go to Hawaii they also have the whale watching which begins around this time of the year. I know you are also near Dallas, what about the Dallas Arboretum and the State Fair?

  306. We just went to Mt Rushmore with our 2 children this summer… a big hit after the National Treasure movie… (but no hiking allowed on statues)… that bummed my 13 year old out. He got over it. We also want to recommend more in the area… as we went to them:
    1 – Yellowstone… a must see.. .its so very very different from anything else… unless you have seen gysers and huge steaming pools and steam vents. Its pretty and quite amazing.
    1a – just south of Mt Rushmore, about 15-20 miles, is the Crazy Horse Monument. It is a private park… but amazing… it will be some 8-10 times bigger than Mt Rushmore.
    2 – Glacier National park… its the hugest beautiful valley you will ever see… it is amazing!! We were quite surprised and agree it should be a national park.
    3 – Grand Teton mountians south of Yellowstone… its only 1 hour drive south to lodge. Its gorgeous!
    4 – And since you are in Wyoming at he Grand tetons… head West and see the rolling hills and oddest most beautiful hills of clay, sand and orange beauty… we were very surprised by the beauty… it goes on for miles.
    5 – have you been to the White House in DC?… its amazing…
    6 – My kids next favorite… they want to see the Smithsonian also in DC… due to the movies… they want too see it all.. many, many buildings. We would hit the Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial and War memorials, Big grave yards (we have relatives there)… you can look on walls… you probably have someone there with the same last name.
    7 – Hawaii… there is the Dole Plantation in Honolulu, it has a train ride and samples… best and sweetest pineapple out there! They also have Pineapple softserve ice cream! Yum!
    7a – In Kuaui – they have lava tunnels you can ride thru in an innertube… it is cool… we did at Christmas… I think everyone has to be at least 5 or ride along in double tube. You get helmets, head lamps, and coat and footies. The walls are hard! Very fun… my kids loved!
    7b – Napali coast – you can see from the Norweign Cruise that goes to all the islands of Hawaii
    7c – Volcano national park is also cool too, its between Hilo and Kona… You can see steam vents, and see the crater… its huge! and they also have a short 100 yard lava tube to walk through with your family… there are some stairs that go down…and then some well made bridges at the national park and it has lights… very cool… a must do!
    (we have a friend on the Big hawaii island that lives near the lava flow.. .you can see it… if you want… or you can go stand on warm dry lava with the park service… the lava is 1 month old and still warm!
    8 – Hawaii – there is the Arizona memorial in Honolulu… order your tickets ahead of time… you choose a time and only pay $1.50 per person from national website (the tour companys cost $35 to $70 each for same thing)…the Arizona will show a short movie… explaining the history of pearl harbor and then there is a boat ride to see the ship under water.. they also have the Missouri battle ship… in tact and above water :)… if you want to tour it too. They also have the Bofin… its a submarine, to look at and crawl through. Very cool.
    9 – Hopefully on your way to Paris, you can add Italy and see your sons wanted items… its a short train ride away.
    – We will go see some of these places with our children in the next year:
    10- Also very cool, is the the cactus (Saquaro, pronounce “S-ah-war-0”) National Park in Tucson Arizona… we used to live there… the dessert is so different… and the cactuses are huge and so numerous… looks like huge soldiers lining the hills for miles… it is so so very different than any other place in the USA… a must see. Have you been?
    11 – also in tucson is the Cartchner caverns… very cool caves… new and not dead
    12 – also in Tucson is the dessert museum with animals… including the orangey peach and black lizard called the gila monster (pronounced “He-la” monster)… very cool.. it grabs on and will not let go… only dipping it in a pool or bucket of water will get it off.
    13- also in Tucson, is sabino canyon… its a river… it has a tram to ride in… you can hike and swim…
    14 – Also in Tucson is the San Xavier mission (pronounced “Hah-vee-air”)… it was built in the 1500’s. It is Very cool… i think first mission in Arizona… the walls are 3 or 4 feet thick, because they add a layer every year… I do not think they add layers anymore.. buts its very beautiful and white in the dessert.
    15 – Stautue of liberty
    16 – The beauty of Hong Kong… if you make it to China… Hong Kong is cleaner and nicer. More friendly too. I went to a Christian college with lots of students from Hong Kong… they are nice and will not take advantage of you… but I will warn you… there is no room… really… we stayed in a hostel one night with 4 bunk beds in 1 room… it sounds like its enough room for your family!… but put you luggage under the beds! Barely any walking room!
    17 – I went to india, it is so different too… I did not make it to the tach mahal… wish i did.. It is so so different… people sleeping on streets in summer, they eat ice milk… almost like ice cream, they eat curry and stewed meats… like goat and beef… the food was great. I went to Madras.

  307. I’ve kind of fallen in love with San Francisco, CA in the various times I’ve traveled there from where I live in Southern New Jersey, near Philadelphia.

    I know you’ve already mentioned the Golden Gate Bridge, but go see it on a nice clear day when the marine layer has moved back; best yet…walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a look at the Pacific Ocean from the Marin Headlands, or from the Great Highway right outside Cliff House. It’s a beautiful view he’ll never forget. Also go to Twin Peaks, which is near the Castro section. They’re the two large mountains that show a great view of The City, and of the Pacific.

  308. 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.

  309. 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!

  310. BEN, JUST READ OF YOU ON YAHOO. YOU’RE SUCH A BRAVE LITTLE MAN.!!!!!!
    I’LL BE PRAYING FOR YOU EVERYDAY!! I HOPE ALL YOUR TRAVELS WILL BE WONDERFUL.! PLEASE WRITE, I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.
    GOD BLESS YOU BEN, YOUR PARENTS MUST BE SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

  311. 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.

  312. 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?

  313. 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.

  314. 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.

  315. 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… ๐Ÿ™‚

  316. In Italia รจ tutto fantastico! Se riuscite a venire qui, consiglio di atterrare a Pisa cosรฌ vedete la cittร . 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 รจ piรน semplice raggiungere con il treno Siena, Firenze e Roma. Da Roma si raggiunge facilmente Napoli, Pompei ed anche Capua (dove c’รจ il colosseo piรน 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 costerร  tantissimo! Io comunque sono in Toscana, vicino Siena. Se vi servono informazioni, consigli, ecc contattatemi.

  317. 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.

  318. 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 =)

  319. 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.

  320. 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.

  321. 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.

    Regards,

    Wynand and the Ivory Tree team

  322. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  323. 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 GrรผรŸe aus Sauerland,
    Marc

  324. 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

  325. 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
    Thibault

  326. 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
    Jean-Michel

  327. 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.

  328. 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

    Cheers

    S.
    From France and China

  329. 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!

  330. 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.
    Clara

  331. salut,c est vraiment courageux venant de la part d un jeune garcon et tres extraordinaire pour une mere! moi je trouve cette idรฉes un peux trop fataliste.quand je pense que des aveugles ont รฉtรฉ 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 humilitรฉ, 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!

  332. 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!

  333. 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)!

  334. 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…

  335. 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.

  336. 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

  337. 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.

  338. 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 wonยดt 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 ! ๐Ÿ˜€

  339. 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!

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *