Although Lizzy Myers father Steve was nervous ahead of Wednesday's meeting, he felt a sense of ease as Pope Francis approached the family, according to the Associated Press

By Caitlin Keating
Updated April 06, 2016 01:00 PM
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Credit: ANSA/AP

A 5-year-old girl from Ohio who has a rare genetic disease and is losing her eyesight had one of her top wishes granted – meeting Pope Francis.

On Wednesday, Lizzy Myers, her 3-year-old sister Michaela and her parents Steven and Christine spent time with Francis at the end of his general audience.

“The meeting with the pope was absolutely amazing. I’d never expected in a million years that we would come that close to the Pope,” Steve told the Associated Press.

According to Christine, Lizzy was left “awe-struck” after Francis caressed her, hugged her, and placed his hands over her eyes.

Lizzy suffers from Usher Syndrome Type 2, a inherited disorder that has already damaged her hearing and is expected to cause her to begin losing her vision around 10.

After her diagnosis, her parents created a “visual bucket list” to make sure Lizzy sees as much as she can before she goes blind.

Before they left their Mansfield, Ohio, home to head to Rome, Steve told PEOPLE that he talked to Lizzy about what they would be doing there.

“I talked to Lizzy a little bit about the meeting and she goes to a Catholic pre-school so she has heard of the Pope but she still refers to him as, ‘the tall man with the white hair and the tall white hat,’ ” he said. “She said she’s going to give him a hug so that should be interesting.”

He adds: “Lizzy loves art and big things so we thought Rome would be perfect with all the statues and art and historic buildings,” he said. “It seemed like it was kind of a perfect place for her.”

Soon after her parents were told about their daughters fate, The Mainsfield News Journal wrote about a private tour she was given of Ohio’s Warren Rupp Observatory in 2015.

Before they knew it, strangers came forward to help her complete the visual bucket list.

When Turkish Airlines got word of her story, their general manager offered the family plane tickets to anywhere in the world.

According to the Associated Press, the family chose Rome because of its history and beauty.

“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,” Steven told the news outlet. “He asked that we pray for him and said that he would be praying for us.”