Boy tears up after special glasses allow him to see mom's face for 1st time
'When he put on the glasses we could tell that he could see because his first word was wow,' mom says
A blind boy from Selkirk, Man., is counting down the days until he'll be able to see his family again — something he did for the first time last week.
Benny Francey, 10, is living with a rare disease called Leber congenital amaurosis. It has prevented the boy and his brother, Ashton, age eight, from seeing anything but silhouettes.
But all that changed for Benny last Wednesday, when the Selkirk family took a trip to Toronto to try on a pair of eSight glasses they've bought after months spent fundraising the $15,000 US cost of the glasses.
The glasses have a camera that captures and then displays video on miniature, high-definition screens close to the eyes.
"When he put on the glasses we could tell that he could see because his first word was 'wow,'" said Benny's mom Jenna Cason.
Cason said there were tears, Benny smiled and then "he told me I had a big nose," she said laughing.
"Then we giggled and it kind of changed the mood."
"It was amazing. I mean he sat there and stared for a very long time and so you could tell I guess that he was taking it all in."
"It was very emotional."
Amanda Vitt is the boys' aunt. She started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the glasses and for horseback riding lessons for Ashton, who has no chance of seeing. Ashton, who relies on sound to communicate, also has autism and uses horseback riding as a form of therapy.
She said she was nervous when Benny put on the glasses because the family knew there was no guarantee her nephew would be able to see.
"We were really, really scared about that," Vitt said.
"We prepared him for that, you know. We still wanted to be hopeful and excited for him, but he needed to know the reality that there was a chance that they couldn't work."
Vitt said after the emotional encounter, Benny watched Kung Fu Panda and looked at photos from a past family vacation to Mexico. In the photos were palm trees the boy hadn't been able to see.
Benny's glasses will arrive customized from Toronto sometime next month.