Seeing tiny snails and examining chalk under a microscope might seem like small things, but to a Texas boy losing his eyesight they're bucket list material—along with more standard big-ticket items like seeing the Grand Canyon and Antarctica—of things he wants to see before he goes blind. "He is a 9-year-old boy ... he squeals with excitement at little things and big things, every single one has been incredible," mom Heidi Pierce tells the Houston Chronicle. The third of six children, Ben was born four months premature and developed a complicated case of retinopathy of prematurity that doctors were unable to reverse; it has already claimed his peripheral vision.
"And so our goal became, what can we help him experience, to store up these memories," Heidi Pierce tells CBS News. "And we sat him down and said, 'What do you think would be cool to see? What's on your wish list?'" Ben's priorities include New York City, Legoland, the Apple Store, a croissant bakery, and a farm with chickens and cows. Knowing his family can only fulfill certain wishes, Ben also asks to see photos of things—lots of things, like glaciers and the Sistine Chapel. When CBS correspondent Steve Hartman recently asked Ben if he realizes how lucky he is that his parents are making his dreams come true, Ben "got a little emotional" and drew doodles, including of a little boy saying, "Wow!" (One baby recently completed a bucket list before he was even born.)