By A. Pawlowski, TODAY contributor
Nine-year-old Ben Pierce is slowly, steadily going blind. So his family has embarked on an amazing "bucket list" adventure, trying to pack his mind full of visual memories to last a lifetime.
Thanks to the kindness of an Alaska Airlines pilot, Ben recently checked off one major goal: Watching the Northern Lights. Staring into the Alaskan sky on a fall night, he was in awe.
“They were amazing, like watercolors painting the sky. It was really pretty,” Ben, who lives in Denton, Texas, told TODAY.
For his mom, the experience was bittersweet.
“I love watching his face and seeing his reaction,” said Heidi Thaden-Pierce, 37. “But it’s also a little bit heartbreaking to see it, knowing why we’re there. I wish so much that we didn’t feel this urgency to go on these trips now.”
The urgency is there because Ben is going blind, a complication of his premature birth. So he’s come up with a list of things he wants to see before he loses his vision. Taking him there has turned out to be a family adventure, documented on the family's blog.
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