OKLAHOMA CITY - As 18-year-old Allen Sioux embarks on a new journey into adulthood, he's ready to see life differently.
“Probably the best money I ever spent, and then I talked to AJ about it when he was turning 18, and just offered him advice and told him to do it,” said Reggie Island.
Island is Sioux's long-time basketball coach turned foster dad. Sioux went into DHS custody two years ago.
“Me and my sister would be split up; I was scared then. I didn't know where they were going to go or where I was going to go,” Sioux said.
But, for his coach, taking Sioux into his home wasn't a tough choice at all.
“The beginning of his 11th grade year, they asked me if I would be his foster parent. And, we already had that relationship and that bond, and so it was a very easy transition for me and my two boys,” Island said.
But, from day one, Island noticed Sioux always had an issue with his glasses.
"Glasses were always a hassle and, even the sports goggles they recommend for sports, those tend to fog up,” Sioux said.
Sioux and his foster dad had talked about LASIK surgery. And, before heading off to college, the teen decided he wanted to spend some of his inheritance from his grandfather to get the procedure - if he turned out to be a good candidate for it.
"For him, he has a fairly high prescription. He's got a moderate or above. His cornea is thick enough for the procedure. He's reached ocular maturity. Everything else about his eyes are very healthy,” said Dr. Luke Rebenitsch, owner and surgeon at ClearSight Center.
Sioux considered canceling the appointment - just not sure about spending the money - and also considered whether he should sell a car he'd just gotten for graduation to cover the between $4,000 to $5,000 cost. However, little did he know ClearSight Center was already planning a surprise.
"Allen, I've read about you and I can say I'm impressed. You've been through a lot. You're a 3.9 student. You're going to be an engineer,” Rebenitsch said. “We were moved by this, and we don't want you to pay for it. We want to do this for free for you if that's okay.”
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” Sioux said.
News 4 went back for Sioux's surgery and, then, the next day to see how things were going.
“I didn't really feel anything. You could just feel a little pressure,” Sioux said.
But, the pressure also lifted in other ways. Sioux will now go to school in Colorado with better eyesight.
And, he's also headed off with his grandfather's financial gift - still intact - to help him with college costs.
"Thank you. It's just so much relief, like an 80-pound boulder just lifted off my back,” Sioux said.
He will move on August 23 to Colorado.