The Short of It
A 5-year-old Ohio girl is going blind due to a rare condition. Before time runs out, her parents hope to complete a visual bucket list of all the sights they want their daughter to see.
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Myers suffered bilateral hearing loss last year and was soon diagnosed with Usher syndrome type II, a rare genetic condition that will lead to her eventual blindness. Doctors say she has about 5 to 7 years of sight left; night vision will be particularly challenging for little Lizzy.
So her parents have created a sort of visual bucket list for their daughter of the things they'd like her to see before she loses her sight permanently. The list includes big attractions like the Northern Lights, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and Yellowstone, but also some of life's simple pleasures, such as viewing the night sky and sunsets on the beach.
Just this week, Lizzy enjoyed gazing at the moon at the Warren Rupp Observatory in their hometown of Bellville, Ohio.
"It was big, giant, round. I see it, I see it. It looks like an oval that's all colored all in," Lizzy described as her parents looked on.
Lizzy hasn't been told about her condition yet. How can you explain to a 5-year-old she may not be able to see anymore in a few short years?
Her parents almost didn't get their daughter tested for Usher syndrome type II, but they're glad they did. They hope by sharing their story that they can inspire other parents to do the same.
"It was almost one of the biggest mistakes. I don't want another family to miss out on this," said Lizzy's mom Christine.
"Otherwise, it would be too late to do things like this (view the night sky) or catch lightning bugs," Lizzy's dad Steve said.
It's heartbreaking to think Lizzy will eventually go blind, and as a parent of a 5-year-old girl, it also puts things in perspective. How often do I stop and show her the beautiful sights around her? I definitely take it for granted that she and I can enjoy seeing things like a gorgeous sunset, the changing colors of the leaves, or an impressive cloud formation. It wouldn't hurt to slow down once in a while, and just...look.
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