For 6-year-old Cailee Herrell, every day with sight is a gift.
It’s been a struggle for Cailee to see nearly all her life. The Peoria girl has dealt with many vision issues, from hemorrhaging to floaters in her eyes.
“If you picture a snow globe and you shake up the snow globe and see all those white flakes, that’s what Cailee’s trying to look through,” said her mom, Catrina Frost.
She is also severely farsighted and had multiple laser surgeries. Cailee suffers from a rare genetic retinal disease called familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR). According to a San Diego eye specialist, Cailee could lose her sight for good within the next four years. That is why Frost wants her daughter to have as many visual memories as possible before blindness sets in. It’s Cailee’s sightseeing bucket list. Frost has taken her daughter to Sea World and the Pacific Ocean. She also had a magical day at Disneyland.
“Cailee got to go to Ariel’s Grotto to have lunch with the princesses,” Frost said. “The girl was twirling in her dress from 8:30 in the morning until midnight.”
The bucket list is not complete, however. Frost has many more plans for Cailee, including camping, a visit to the symphony to meet some musicians and maybe a trip to fashion week in Phoenix or the Big Apple.
“New York’s kind of a big stretch, but there is [a fashion week] coming up in Phoenix,” Frost said.
Frost really wants Cailee to have memories and moments with her brothers in case blindness does set in for good. Cailee has learned how to use a cane and has been introduced to braille, but her mom is not giving up hope yet.
“I really believe in miracles,” Frost said. “This little girl has proven to be the strongest warrior I’ve ever met.”
Frost started a Facebook page, called Cailee’s Corner, to share her daughter’s story. It’s also a place where others can share their stories and experiences. There is also a GoFundMe page to raise money for Cailee’s sightseeing bucket list.
“No one knows that she’s the visually impaired girl,” Frost said. “She’s just this happy bundle of joy, typically running around being a six-year-old. [She’s] singing her songs, playing with her Barbies, pretending to be a princess.”