Cordell & Cordell Senior Attorney Dan Cuneo makes a point each year around the holidays to do something to give back to those less fortunate.
Usually, Mr. Cuneo hosts a holiday toy drive for Toys For Tots at his home. This year, he wanted to do something more, but wasn’t sure what exactly.
Then he ran across the story of a 9-year-old boy from Texas named Ben Pierce. Ben, who was born 17 weeks premature, suffers from a condition that is slowly stealing his sight. He has already lost his peripheral vision and the rest will eventually follow.
But Ben and his family are making the most of the time with sight that he has left. Ben created a “before-I-go-blind” bucket list and for the last year, the Pierces have been checking off items one by one. They’ve made trips to see the Grand Canyon, the Northern Lights in Alaska, art museums, and more.
Ben’s story has gone viral. It’s been featured on the Today Show, CBS News, the Huffington Post, and hundreds of other media outlets.
Some of Ben’s wishes didn’t seem realistic, for financial reasons. But people around the country have stepped up to help the 9-year-old who loves to read and is fascinated by “seeing how things are made” visit as many places on his bucket list as possible before he loses his vision.
After viewing the story online, Mr. Cuneo knew he wanted to do whatever he could to help. He emailed Ben’s mother, Heidi Thaden-Pierce, and he quickly realized he could help grant one of Ben’s wishes by donating some of his unused airline miles and hotel points he receives from his work with Cordell & Cordell.
“I’ve always been brought up to donate what you can,” Mr. Cuneo said. “Honestly, I just feel with my involvement with the firm, and as fortunate as I am and where I’m at, I wanted to give back. That’s why I took the extra step with it.”
One of the items left on Ben’s list was to go skiing and see the mountains in Colorado. So after exchanging a few more emails, Mr. Cuneo began working out the logistics.
The date isn’t finalized, but at some point in January or February Ben and his family will fly from Dallas to Denver, spend a few nights in Vail, Colorado. He’ll learn how to ski and take in the sights and sounds of the Rocky Mountains. (The director of the resort in Vail where the Pierces will be staying is also assisting with coordinating the trip.)
Nothing can prevent Ben from eventually losing his sight. But thanks to the extraordinary efforts of his parents, and the kindness and generosity of people like Mr. Cuneo, he will have visions of memories that will last him the rest of his life.
“When I read the story, it was very touching,” Mr. Cuneo said. “Not everybody has the ability, whether its miles or finances, to do this. I have both and this is something I wanted to do to give back.”