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When Ben Underwood was born, his mother, Aqua, says he was a healthy, happy baby; but when Ben was two years old, Aqua noticed something alarming. "I noticed he couldn't see out of the left eye. It had a glow, a marble look. Like a cat's eye," she says.

Ben was diagnosed with retinal blastoma—cancer in both eyes. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation. When treatments failed, it was clear that Ben had to have his eyes removed or lose his life.

Just before his third birthday, doctors removed both of Ben's eyes. His eyes were replaced with prosthetics. "When he woke up from his surgery, Ben said, 'Mom, I can't see anymore,'" Aqua says. "I never told him he couldn't see. I've always told him, 'Your name is Benjamin. You can do anything.'"
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FROM: The Secret Language of Babies
Published on September 23, 2008

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