Ben Underwood was a remarkable young man who amazed the world with his ability to see with sound. He was able to navigate his surroundings by making clicking noises with his tongue and listening to the echoes. He lost his eyesight to cancer when he was three years old, but he never let that stop him from living a full and happy life. Sadly, he also lost his life to the same disease when he was 16 years old. This is his inspiring story.
How Ben Underwood Learned to Echolocate
Ben Underwood was born on January 26, 1992, in Sacramento, California. He was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, when he was two years old. He had to undergo surgery to remove both of his eyes when he was three years old. He was fitted with prosthetic eyes, but he soon realized that he could see without them. He started to make clicking noises with his tongue and use the sound waves to detect the objects around him. He taught himself how to echolocate, a skill that is usually found in animals like bats and dolphins.
Ben Underwood was able to do almost everything that a sighted person could do, such as playing video games, riding a bike, rollerblading, climbing trees, and taking karate classes. He did not use a cane or a guide dog, and he attended regular school. He was also a talented musician and singer, and he loved to rap. He was a cheerful and confident boy who enjoyed life and made friends easily.
How Ben Underwood Became Famous
Ben Underwood’s extraordinary ability caught the attention of the media and the public. He was featured on several TV shows, such as CBS News, Oprah, and Ellen. He also traveled to Europe and Japan, where he participated in documentaries and met other echolocators. He was invited to speak at various events and inspire others with his story. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, as he was a fan of the Tennessee Titans.
Ben Underwood’s mother, Aquanetta Gordon, was his biggest supporter and advocate. She encouraged him to pursue his dreams and to share his gift with the world. She also raised him with a strong faith in God and taught him to be grateful for what he had. She was very proud of her son and his achievements.
How Ben Underwood Died of Cancer
Unfortunately, Ben Underwood’s cancer returned when he was 15 years old. It had spread to his brain and spinal cord, and it was incurable. He underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, but they did not work. He decided to stop the treatments and spend his last days at home with his family. He passed away on January 19, 2009, just a week before his 17th birthday. His funeral was attended by thousands of people who were touched by his life and his spirit. His friend, Stevie Wonder, sang “Happy Birthday” to him at his funeral.
Ben Underwood’s cause of death was cancer, but his legacy lives on. His story has been included in textbooks and curriculum in schools around the world. His mother wrote a book about his life titled “Echoes of an Angel”. His videos are still going viral on social media, with millions of views and comments. He is remembered as a hero, a legend, and an angel. He showed the world that nothing is impossible, and that blindness is not a disability, but a different way of seeing.