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."

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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