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New Zealand Boy Losing Vision Meets Celtics

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Lauren Leamanczyk Lauren Leamanczyk
Lauren Leamanczyk is an I-Team Correspondent for WBZ-TV News and is...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Louis Corbett is filling up a bank of visual memories, enough to last a lifetime. The 12-year-old from New Zealand has a degenerative eye disease. He is losing his sight and recently his vision has been rapidly deteriorating.

Louis’ parents decided they would allow Louis to make a visual bucket list before he goes blind. Number one on that list, Louis wanted to see a Boston Celtics game.

“I just want to absorb the game and see what it’s really like and feel the atmosphere of the stadium,” Louis said.

It may seem a strange wish for a 12-year-old from New Zealand. But Louis says he saw old clips of Larry Bird and then did research on the team. Ever since, he’s been a die hard fan.

When the Celtics learned about Louis’ wish, they made it happen. Louis flew to the United States. He was the guest of honor at Wednesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

Louis got to sit court-side right next to the Celtics bench. He warmed up with the team, even taking a pass and shooting a jump shot. Before the game, he hung out with his heroes in the locker room, including his favorite players Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green.

“It’s quite incredible,” he said. “Not every 12-year-old my age from New Zealand gets to see this.”

During the first quarter, Louis, his father and his brother walked to center court. An entire arena rose to their feet when he was announced as the special guest.

His father, Tim Corbett’s eyes welled up with tears. It’s his hope that as Louis gets older, he will remember these experiences and be able to talk to his friends as they see the world. “He can say oh yeah, I’ve been there. I met people like that. I went to a stadium. I went to a basketball game and he can talk on the same level and share the same experience,” Corbett said.

The Celtics game may have been the highlight of Louis’ dream trip, but it wasn’t the only thing on his list. Louis visited Google headquarters in California and got an early test run of their new products. He went to Disneyland. Next up is New York and Las Vegas.

“I probably checked a lot of things off lots of people’s wish lists. So yeah, it’s pretty good,” he said.

While in Boston, he and his family also met with specialists at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. They learned about new advances to treat the condition that plagues Louis and two of his siblings.

It all gives Tim so much hope and so much joy to see the excitement in his son. Even though Louis’ vision is fading, it’s seeing the world through his eyes that gives the father strength.

“Whereas mom and dad we tend to think of two years down the track five years down the track, he doesn’t. He just thinks right now. What’s fantastic and what can i get out of it,” Tim said.

Louis is grateful to all those who have been so kind, sending him back to New Zealand with experiences more amazing than someone twice his age.

And as he stood on the parquet floor at the TD Garden, the cheers filled the arena. It was clear that even if there does come a day where he can no longer see the game, he will never forget it.

MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON

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