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."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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