A 6-year-old girl is preparing to go blind by seeing as much of the world as she can.

Catrina Frost remembers looking at photos of her daughter, Cailee, as a baby and thinking one of her eyes looked off-center.

Cailee's older brother, Tanner, had been born a few years earlier with major vision problems, so at first, the mom of four wanted to believe she was just being overly cautious.

Later, a vision test revealed that Cailee did indeed have some problems with her eyes. She was severely nearsighted and suffering from amblyopia, where the function of one eye is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly.


But Catrina's instincts told her there was something more going on too.

"I just had this mommy gut feeling," Catrina said. "And I literally remember being in theparking lot [of the optometrist] thinking, 'you know what, I just think there's more tothis.'"

Eventually Cailee was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called FEVR (familial exudative vitreoretinopathy).

It was a condition that would likely eventually cause her to go completely blind.

This is Cailee in a pink shirt that reads, 'Always be who you are.' All photos by Catrina Frost, unless otherwise noted.

It was during a road trip to see a FEVR specialist in California that Catrina had an idea: a "sightseeing" bucket list.

As they drove, they came across the Imperial Sand Dunes, miles of soft, beautiful sand sandwiched by smooth dessert on either side. And Cailee fell in love with them.

The sun setting behind the Imperial Sand Dunes in California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

"We pulled over and she ran up and downand up and down these sand dunes for like an hour. And got filthydirty and made sand angels and had a blast. And it was really therethat I realized I had to make myself a list of places that she shouldgo and things that she should do. ... If I hadn't stopped and given her that experience, she would neverhave been able to pull from that memory, that soft sand, and what thatlooked like and felt like."

When the two got to California, the specialist told them Cailee would likely lose all her vision within the next four or five years.

So when it came to this "bucket list" idea, it was now or never.

With help from donations brought in via a GoFundMe campaign, Cailee has been able to see the flowing gowns of princesses at Disney World...

Cailee hugs Belle at Disney World.

... the sparkling water of swimming pools ...

Cailee floats in a pool.

... crashing blue waves ...

Cailee hugs her Minnie Mouse doll on the beach.

... her first beach sunset ...

Cailee soaks in the sunset.

... and that's really just the beginning.

You don't need a visual memory to be able to perceive and interact with the world. But for Catrina, Cailee, and her three brothers (who are also along for the ride), the memories they make on these adventures will bring the family a lot of joy over the coming years.

"We're still putting the listtogether," Catrina said. "I've asked Cailee what she wants to do. She really wants to try horseback riding [again]. She wants to go to a ballet,so "The Nutcracker" is something I'm thinking about taking her to. Ithink she'd really enjoy that."

Some day soon, Catrina will take the kids to see the giant California redwoods. Then, a fashion show. Then art class, rock-climbing class, cooking class.

And so many other things.

In the meantime, Catrina says they are preparing Cailee to go blind.

Cailee practices walking with a cane.

She has been practicing her cane skills and reading braille in school for years. So when the time comes, she'll be ready.

"She came out of her third laser surgery whenshe was just this little, itty-bitty thing and said 'Momma, girlsare tough.'" Catrina recalled. "And I said 'Yeah, baby, girls are tough.' And that has beenher motto."

Catrina urges other parents to make sure their kids get their eyes checked early and often, but also that blindness, and conditions that can cause it, are not necessarily something to fear.

"Whether she's sighted or not, I haveno doubt this girl has amazing, amazing things coming in her future," Catrina said. "I have no doubt."

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

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1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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