Ben Underwood


We see with our eyes and we hear with our ears. That is a basic thing we have learnt since young. However, Ben Underwood is a totally different case. Blind since the age of two, Ben has been seeing with his ears ever since.
Ben developed a tumour in his eyes when he was young, and the doctors took out his eyes to prevent the cancer cells from spreading to the brain. He had tried chemotherapy earlier, but unfortunately, the cancer cells refused to give up in the battle.
Ben’s mother supported Ben a lot during his sightless journey. One day, when they were on the road driving, Ben suddenly raised a question and asked his mother if she could see the huge building by the roadside. To Ben’s mother’s surprise, Ben could actually see.
Of course, without a doubt, many of you might suspectthe truth of Ben’s story, but Ben is definitely not a person with stored magic or superpowers. The method Ben uses to see is called echolocation. Ben would make clicking sounds when he is moving about. The clicking sounds will bounce back from objects and into Ben’s ears. His brain will then translate that sound into some sort of an image. Since the start of the usage of this method, Ben is able to cycle, rollerblade and avoid any potential obstacles.
Ben’s mother gets Ben to join an association where the blind leads the blind. The teacher of the group, who is also blind, tries to encourage Ben to use a cane as echolocation may not be able to locate some danger such as holes. However, Ben’s stubborn attitude gets the better of him. He refuses to use the cane as he feels that the cane equates to a disability device and he strongly believes that he is not disabled.
We should definitely learn from Ben’s optimism and dignity, but sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry. When danger is involved, we should conform to what is best for us and not be insistent about what we think is better.
Sadly, Ben did not live long to tell his tale. The monster of cancer got the better of him and crept to his brain and spine. At the age of 16,in 2009, he passed away, having seen the world with his heart.

Nicolette Kum (1U)


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