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™‚

395 thoughts on “Wishes”

  1. 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).


    Alex Esguerra

  2. 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

  3. 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˜€

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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…

  6. 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

  7. 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
    -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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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™‚

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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!!

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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.


  23. 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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!!

  28. 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!

  29. 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

  30. 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.


  31. 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.

  32. 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?

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

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