A five-year-old American girl who does not know she is gradually going blind met Pope Francis on 6 April as part of her parents visual bucket list to show her people and things while she can still see. Lizzy Myers and her parents, from Lexington, Ohio, were given special seats at Franciss general audience in St Peters Square, where the pontiff spoke briefly to them.
He is heard saying Lizzy, what are you doing here? before bending down and softly touching the girls eyes with his hand to bless her. Lizzy, whose case has received widespread media coverage in the United States, is not aware she is suffering from Usher Syndrome, which will eventually leave her deaf and blind.
Her parents said they intended to tell Lizzy, who already wears a hearing aid, about her condition gradually as she asks questions. She could be blind in about seven years so they have started what they call a visual bucket list of sites and people they think she should see before loses her vision.
Seeing the Pope was one of the experiences at the top of the list. She also saw the Colosseum and other monuments in Rome. After reading about her case, an airline offered them round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world and the family chose Rome.
Lizzy gave the Pope a piece of a meteorite she was given when she was a special guest at the Warren Rupp Observatory in Mansfield, Ohio, one of the first places on her parents list. Her mother said she and her husband wanted to make sure that she also saw simple things while she could, like bonfires and fireflies.