Lizzy Myers is a 5-year-old who has been diagnosed with Usher's Syndrome, which will eventually rob her of her hearing and eyesight. Lizzy's parents decided to embark on an epic "visual bucket list" to ensure that their daughter is able to see some of the wonders of the world before she loses her vision. One of the things they hoped she would get to see was Pope Francis. On Wednesday, the Myers got their wish: Lizzy and Pope Francis met, and he said a blessing over her eyes.
According to her parents, Lizzy is unaware that she will eventually go blind. She has worn hearing aids since she was born.
Her mother, Christine Myers, said afterward that Lizzy was "awe-struck. She was totally big-eyed and it was a very powerful moment for her."
The family is in Rome courtesy of Turkish Airlines; its general manager heard her story and offered free plane tickets to anywhere in the world. The family chose Rome because of its history and beauty. A local hotel offered them lodging.
Lizzy's father, Steve Myers, said he had been nervous ahead of Wednesday's audience but that as the pope approached his family, he felt an incredible sense of calm.
"You know, I believe myself, and I think that what Pope Francis has done for her, if there is any chance for a miracle, it would be there," he said. "He asked that we pray for him and said that he would be praying for us."
What a beautiful story and a loving family.