What would you like to see if you knew you were going blind? For 12-year-old Louis Corbett the decision was quite easy: He wanted to see his beloved Boston Celtics play a game live.
It's rather easy to take eyesight for granted. But the above hypothetical was a stark reality for a young basketball fan from New Zealand who is slowly going blind. (h/t Yahoo! Sports' Dan Devine)
Fortunately, Corbett and his family were able to make their way to TD Garden and see the Celtics play, a moment this young fan can cherish for a lifetime.
CNN's Kevin Conlon reports Corbett suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that Foundation Fighting Blindness states is a "group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration." Patients with the disease "experience a gradual decline in their vision because photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) die."
In time, Corbett will lose more and more of his eyesight. Before that happens, his family wanted to shower his brain with as many vivid memories as possible, giving a lifetime of visual experiences to cherish when the ability to see was gone.
MassLive.com's Jay King reports on how this all came about for Corbett and his family.
A Red’s Army blogger, Jay Ouellette, reads about your story. Another Red's Army blogger, John Karalis, tweets an article about you to Corrine Grousbeck, the wife of a Celtics co-owner. She wants to help, and soon a plan gets set into motion.
The Daily Mail's Simon Wheeler reports a sizable chunk of the rest was given by Warren Casey:
Warren Casey, CEO of a US-based software firm, made a large donation and vowed to raise even more so Louis and his family could be in Boston for the Celtic’s game against the Golden State Warriors on March 5.
'I did it because the Corbetts are my next door neighbours,' said Mr Casey, who splits his time between Boston and his home in Auckland.
He persuaded Air New Zealand to pay for the airfare and donated his own points. Thanks to the generosity of Mr Casey and his partners at Ceiba Solutions, who agreed to pay for the trip no matter how much was raised, and the generosity of people around the world, more than $25,000 was raised in just four weeks.
Conlon states that the family's trip included more than just basketball: "He picked places such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building and, in a sign of the times, Google headquarters in California."
As for his night with the Celtics, Corbett shot around with the team, basked in the applause of the arena and met some of his favorite players, including Rajon Rondo.
Here is a delightful image via The Boston Celtics Twitter feed:
And, as you can see in the video, Corbett enjoyed every wonderful moment. Even Celtics President of Basketball Operations and former player Danny Ainge noticed: "Are you excited? I can feel you're shaking a little bit."
Corbett's father explains to WCVB-Boston how things are progressing, explaining that his son's vision is slowly narrowing. However, this trip has afforded the young Corbett something amazing: "The chance to see all this while it's still wide is gold."
Unfortunately, the Celtics dropped the game to the visiting Warriors, 108-88. But the final score was second to what was a truly magical experience.
While the game was a loss, it will serve as far more than a bunch of numbers on the team's record for Corbett and some of the players.
Rondo (h/t Yahoo! Sports) spoke with MassLive.com's Jay King: "What he’s going through, he still has a smile on his face. He’s very humble. Because we all get to do what we love to do for a living and you never know, at any moment, it could be taken from you. You just try not to take anything for granted."
It's a moment neither the organization nor the Corbett family will soon forget. Most importantly, it's a night a 12-year-old Celtics fan got to witness with his own eyes.
Even in defeat, sports can be pretty darn amazing.
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