Ben Underwood was born in Riverside California on January 26th, 1992 a perfectly normal/healthy baby boy. After a few years at the young age of three, his mother noticed abnormal changes in the color of his eyes. It led to a doctors visit that would forever be any mother’s worse nightmare. Ben was diagnosed with Bilateral Retnoblstoma. Basically meaning, Ben had developed cancer in both of his eyes resulting him to be permanently blind. His family was devastated, however refused to let this define Ben.
He now has two artificial eyes, made of plastic. But his disability hasn’t stopped him from living a very normal life. At the age of five he learned himself to “see” his surrounding, with the use of echolocation. He was able to produce a clicking sound with his tongue which would bounce off object, allowing him to visualize his surroundings. Ben was the only known person to ever use echolocation and could do some truly amazing things like: play video games, ride a bike, skating, climbing trees, and basically everything he always did before he lost his sight.
Ben Underwood (16) died after a long battle with cancer.In his final days, Ben enjoyed listening to gospel music and getting neck and back massages. He seemed more concerned about his mother’s emotional state than his own pain, forgoing medications and assuring her that he was fine. Ben built an enduring legacy after his story became public in The Bee in May 2006. He became a worldwide celebrity, an Internet sensation and an inspirational speaker.
“He motivated people who wanted to see again, wanted to live again,” Aquanetta Gordon said. “Ben was blind, but he saw more than most.”