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Free LASIK Contest

Last Year’s Free LASIK Giveaway Winners – Campus Eye Group

Each year Campus Eye Group gives away free LASIK to deserving individuals who enter to win our LASIK contest. Please meet our former LASIK contestants below.


Winner #1 Gail S.

jennaMy story is about my niece, Jenna Keen. Jenna's a 19 year old freshman in college, living away from home for the first time in her life. Her journey to this point has been filled with challenges. At the age of four, Jenna was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her leg, called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Prior to finding the lump on Jenna's leg, she was a sweet little four year old girl, very outgoing and full of energy. Looking back, she's always been full of will and determination, which seemed to begin at birth. Shortly after Jenna was diagnosed, she was admitted into the hospital and life as she knew it would be changed forever. Her mother, Dawn, is a single mom, recently divorce with two young children. It is amazing that she herself has remained so strong throughout this ordeal. It was determined that Jenna would have to loose her left leg in order to control the cancer. The battle begins with the removal of Jenna's leg and the procedure for which the bottom half of her leg was saved from below her knee. As you can imagine, it's hard to believe what the surgeons were able to accomplish. Jenna's bottom portion of her leg was eventually reattached near her hip, and reversed in order for her ankle to serve as her new knee. Her foot was used to mobilize the prosthetic, as it was placed over top and secured to the calf, which was now in the position of her thigh. It is hard to visualize, but trust me, it is amazing what was done. Unfortunately, as chemo often does, it caused other issues with parts of Jenna's body, including her eye-site. Jenna's had several surgeries over the past 15 years, and continues to deal with the issues from her prosthetic. She handles all of it with such grace and truly is an inspiration to all who know her. She has accomplished so much and is committed to earning a degree in Nursing. If anyone has ever deserved a break in life, it's Jenna and she never complains. She appreciates her life and works hard to be a good person. I've seen her grow from a child to a beautiful woman. She's truly is a miracle herself and wants to learn to be a part of creating miracles in the medical field. If Jenna was chosen to get Lasik Eye Surgery, I'm sure that having good eye-site would be an asset to who she wants to be. You would be contributing to her success. I hope that you will find Jenna to be worthy of this wonderful gift that you're offering. Thank you for considering her as well as all of the others worthy people that will be writing as well. You'll make someone a very happy recipient. I pray that it's Jenna.


Winner #2 Tom D.

thomas contestWinnerMy name is Thomas and I am a 23 year old man. I am a recent college grad and am just getting out on my own. I am learning a lot about being an adult; paying bills, feeding and clothing myself, getting to work, and trying to find someone to love (as Freddy Mercury would say). What I am learning is that there is a lot that goes into being a responsible adult and I have been pushed over the bow to sink or swim. I have never been more excited or felt more fulfilled. I am lucky that I feel prepared to handle at least most of it, and learn to handle the rest as I discover more about being truly independent. What does this have to do with Lasik? On the surface admittedly not very much, but vision has had a lot to do with how I view the world.

When I was eight years old, I remember sitting down to watch one of those good old Christmas flicks with my family. It was just like any other pre-christmas winter night; the kids too excited for the holiday to sleep and the parents winding us up to a fever pitch to enjoy the special awe and magic of the season that only children can express. I remember thinking that Santa was real and full of magic that could and would make anything possible. I can’t recall the name of the movie or who I was sitting next to on the couch but I can remember squinting at the television trying to follow the man playing Santa Claus ride by in his sled. I was not able to see him and I thought maybe I was sitting too far from the TV, but everyone else saw him except me. My parents noticed this and it led to a discussion about what I could or could not see and a decision to go see an eye doctor. It was after this visit that part of my childhood ended. I left that appointment with a prescription and a trip to a shop that sold eye glasses and cried quite a bit that afternoon. I was not worried about school and what my classmates would think (I never really cared much about that and was not picked on often enough for it to cause my anxiety) and I was glad to be able to see. What drove me to tears was that I thought that my eyes were broken. The glasses only confirmed this in my young mind because I could see with them in a way that I did not realize was possible. Lines were crisp and sharp, people’s faces were visible at a greater distance, and I could read signs and billboards for the first time. I learned these things and cried all the harder. I did this for two reasons; one, because my eyes were broken and two, because the world was a more familiar blur through a screen of tears.

I asked the eye doctor if there was anything I could do to make my eyes better. I had reasoned to myself that cuts healed and bones knitted so why would I not be able to sharpen my vision on my own? He smiled at me in a tired way and with sad eyes. He told me essentially the same thing: it was only going to get worse as the years wore on. This upset me further and for that Christmas season I was decidedly Grinch like. While I believed these learned people of authority, I knew that I had a trump card. I had something that was going to prove all of them wrong. I had the faith and belief of a child that Santa Claus could help me. That Christmas I learned how wrong I was.

I did not want to tell any adults about my plan for fear that they would not believe me. I made out my Christmas list that year same as before with all things that little boy’s desire and gave it over to my parents, but I did not put my special request to Santa in the letter that I gave my mother. I wrote a secret second list that was just between Mr. Claus and myself. I stole a stamp, addressed the envelope to an address I cannot recall and mailed it. I was not too worried about the address as I knew Santa was magic and would get my correspondence. The letter read something like this:

Dear Santa,

I don’t really want the stuff on the list that my mom is sending. Please fix my eyes.

Love Thomas.

We went to Christmas Eve mass, and then to bed. I went to sleep full of excitement and good cheer because I knew that in the morning I would be able to see as well as my daddy. I suppose it was time for me to figure it out anyway. The previous year I had wondered why I did not get the exact things that I wanted for Christmas but didn’t have courage to explore the issue further. When I woke up for that Christmas that morning I knew for sure that there was no Santa Claus! I experimentally raised the spectacles to my eyes on Christmas morning and instantly felt my vision sharpen. I removed them and the world fell back into blurs and runs. I was devastated that my eyes were still broken and that Santa had not answered my wish. I knew the only reason he could be that cruel was because he was not real. I did not spoil it for my siblings, but the gifts held no cheer that year.

While I was greatly saddened by this, it gave me motivation to try and see if there were things that I could do to try and help myself. I started eating carrots very regularly for their beta carotene and doing eye exercises that I saw in magazines. None of it helped and my eyes are only now leveled out at a miserable -4.75 near sighted contact prescription. Sure I was miserable for a while, but it is the nature of kids to bounce back. I took that pain and disappointment and used it to start acting for myself. It was my first step toward independence.

Now that I am grown, I have learned what I can from being near-sighted and am constrained. I am a prisoner to my glasses and contacts. Without these aids I cannot safely drive a car, I cannot read a book; I cannot look a person in the eye and know that I am doing it. Without these aids I am bound, handcuffed. It is an interesting paradox that what initially generated my bid for freedom is now one of my chief constraints. I am entering a new stage in my life where I am my own man. I define me. I do not want vision impairment to be part of that definition.

Dear Santa,

Thank you for helping me discover independence. My wish remains the same: please help me fix my eyes.

Love Tom.


Winner #3 David L.

davidIn April of 2008, my wife was diagnosed with a very rare cancer two months after the birth of our third child, Lana. Three days after entering the hospital to begin chemo she would be medically induced into a coma because her lungs were so riddled with cancer she was close to cardiac arrest. She would spend fifty-four days on life support and would battle three separate life threatening blood diseases and suffer prolonged fevers spiking at 105 degrees. She would endure a month of rehab before she was allowed to go home. She continued chemo as an outpatient and would sit for twelve hours a day five days a week at her oncologists. A month after being sent home (after 90 days in hospital) and enduring a twelve hour day of chemo she had a stroke and would spend another two weeks in the hospital. During this time, I had to take care of our three kids, run the house and manage my wife's care all while not working or getting paid. The loss of income and escalating medical bills was very detrimental to our fiscal well being that we almost lost everything.

Flash forward to March 2010. My wife and I were remarking to each other how we finally felt like we were getting back on our feet, both financially and as a family. I arrived home on March 15th to find a large mound on my two year old daughter's (Lana's) back. A trip to her pediatrician led to a trip to Monmouth Medical Center. Lana would endure CT scans, MRIs, bone aspirations and a biopsy to find out that she has a cancer that only 350 kids in the US will get this year called Embroynal Rhabdomyosarcoma. Amazingly, this has no relation or tie to my wife’s cancer.

After 10 weeks of chemo Lana's orthopedic surgeon at CHOP advised us that the treatment was not working and in his opinion, in order to save Lana's life, he would need to amputate her arm. We were flabergasted to say the least, that diagnosis came out of left field. After a multi-disciplinary consultation, Lana's treatment changed course and she began being treated as a high risk Rhabdo patient. This seemed to do the trick and in August the surgeon successfully removed (with significant margins) the tumor. This allowed Lana to avoid having to have radiation. She spent three weeks in the hospital recovering and came home the last week of August. A week later, she got a life threatening infection at the surgical site and was flown from Monmouth MC to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She had three more surgeries to clean out the infection and would have her clavicle removed (in addition to the shoulder bone (scapula) that was removed during the first surgery). After three more weeks we were allowed to leave the hospital. She will continue to receive chemo until May of 2011 and some of the regiment requires her to stay five days in the hospital. My wife and I trade off who stays with her and who watches the kids during these weeks. I have been forced to take a leave of absence to take care of her and it has been about four months of unpaid leave. As you can see, I would love to ditch my glasses and get lasik, but the financial burden of this "new" challenge preclude that. The helicopter alone for my daughter is going to cost me $21,000. When I heard your advertisement, I thought this would be perfect for me. I hope I fit your criteria as a deserving person and look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you and have a nice day.

Honorable Mentions

Brent N.

bretI really need Lasik surgery!!! Please let me win!!! Other than asking really nicely, here is why I should be selected for free Lasik. I will promote Lasik to everyone I know and come into contact with. I can be a walking and talking marketing machine for your company. Free Lasik for me means that I will lead others to you. I work as a Project Manger for an extremely large company and have a lot of influence among clients, colleagues, and subcontractors and will definitely get you more business.

I am photogenic and have acting ability (I have been in several plays), which means I can represent you in commercials on TV or the radio and am willing to lend my services to you. I realize nothing is free and I know if you select me for free Lasik I will benefit your organization.

Now that you understand that free Lasik will benefit you, here is how it will benefit me.

I can't see very well. I have been wearing glasses or contacts for years. Glasses hurt my face and make me look bad. Contacts hurt me eyes and make them dry and red which also makes me look bad. I have been to the optometrist three times this year and yet there seems to be no cure for my red eyes. I drive 86 miles one way to work each day and when I wear glasses I can't wear my sunglasses. When I wear contacts my eyes get dry and irritated by the time I am done driving. I need some help! I would go ahead and pay for Lasik but it is too expensive for my budget right now. I am 31 years old and my third child was just born, my mortgage payment is huge, my commuting costs are adding up, the bills are eating me alive, my oldest son has type 1 diabetes and the medical costs are atrocious. I am struggling, barely being able to afford preschool. My credit cards are a nightmare, so quite frankly I can't make this investment in myself even though I know its the right thing to do. I beg of you, pretty please with sugar on top select me for the Lasik.

Cindi W.

My story is probably not unique. I am a mother who puts her family, pets, home and workplace before her own needs. I have been wearing glasses since third grade and my eye sight is pretty bad. It is gotten to the point now where things start getting blurry about six inches from my face. I am wearing glasses with a prescription that is two years old, on frames that have the finish flaking away, showing the silver metal underneath. It is embarrassing to me, but I cannot afford to purchase new glasses and I have wanted and needed Lasik surgery for quite a while now.

Due to the severity of my eyesight I cannot function without having my glasses on. Even trips to the bathroom at night are difficult for me without my glasses. Additionally, I've tried contacts numerous times throughout my life, but my eyes do not tear enough and my contacts always dry out within an hour. The wetting/lubricating contact eye drops do not work. As a baby my tear ducts had to be lanced and I imagine that may have something to do with it. As a senior in high school a contact cut my eye. I had to see a specialist and wear a patch for a week. It took my eye about six months to stop being sensitive to light and return back to normal. I never want that to happen again. Due to these multiple problems contacts are not an option for me.

I do have a job and medical benefits, but my company continues to decrease coverage while significantly raising deductibles and co-pays. It has gotten to the point of barely being able to afford our prescriptions. I have a husband with a number of health issues and a twelve year old son who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year. My son's diagnosis nearly broke my heart. It has been a difficult year for us and my son has lost some of his carefree ways due to his disease. Things will never be the same and we went through a "mourning period" missing how things use to be. Life is better now. My son is wonderful and has adjusted to his new life which now consists of checking blood sugars about eight times a day and injecting himself 5-6 times a day with insulin.

Additionally, my husband and I have taken on the care of my husband's brother, who is mentally impaired. He has lived with us for over seven years now. It is difficult and challenging at times, but definitely worth it knowing that he is much happier and with family as opposed to moving him into a facility.

Our family monthly prescription co-pays are significant -- hundreds of dollars each month. My family member's frequent office appointments, including various specialty doctor visits are not included in that total.
This is why I have shared my story with you.

I have dreamed of having Lasik surgery and realize that it is very unlikely that my dream will ever come true, but there is a small part of me still hoping and holding onto that dream. Thank you for reading my story.

Giavanna T.

giavannaWell, I can start off by saying that my mother taught me the word can’t should never be part of my vocabulary. My vision is so terrible that without the aid of glasses or contacts, I can not see beyond my own outstretched hands. I have been wearing glasses since second grade, and I am now a senior in college. My eyesight depresses me. No matter how often I go to the eye doctor, how many different doctors I try, or how accurate the lenses look during the eye exam, I always seem to be squinting.

I can’t read a street sign on my side of the road till I am at least a good twenty feet away, which makes for very unsafe driving.

I can’t enjoy a 3-D movie. I can’t get to class less than twenty minutes before it starts because I can not sit any further back than the first three rows.

I can’t enjoy the beach or the ocean during the summer. I can’t engage in outdoor activities as robustly as I would like for fear of breaking my glasses or having them slip off my face.

I can’t read text for too long without my eyes aching. Now, I understand that most individuals who wear glasses encounter these issues; however, I personally have so many other disheartening issues on my plate that I cannot afford the misery that my horrible eyesight brings.

I have a stigmatism in one eye. Upon a visit to the Optometrist when I was around the age of twelve, I was informed that the only type of contacts available for me were hard glass permeable lenses. What seemed like an instant relief turned out to be a nightmare several years down the road. My mother was the one who managed all the health priorities of my siblings and I so upset when she passed away in 2005 after a four year battle with breast cancer. I did not know how to go about getting myself taken care of. (Michele Recine-Thomore 9/22/05) I was not aware of the time frame for checkups and I was not covered under any insurance. I did not see an Optometrist for two years until my mother’s parents made arrangements for me. Upon this long overdue visit, I was informed that my contact lenses had flattened my corneas. I was entirely thrown back. No Optometrist had ever informed me that this was a risk of prolonged wear of these lenses. Can you imagine having someone tell you your eyes are flat? Going to the doctor for the first time on your own and not having anyone to consult with? I got scared. Then when my eyes finally rounded back out, I was put through trial pair after trial pair of soft contact lenses. I would leave the office being able to see, then an hour or two later the contacts would shift and it was as if I didn’t have them in my eyes at all. I gave up on soft lenses for a while but finally found a weighted pair that worked out decent this past March, however I cannot afford them. They aren’t good for wearing to school because I stare too long without blinking. My eyes also give me headaches and I see floaters. In summary, my eyes are a living nightmare. I can’t take any more of the complications and panic that my eyesight bring. I have long inquired about Lasik but have never had the courage nor the finances to go through with the procedure. My Grandparents were going to assist me in undergoing the treatment during winter break of last year but then they both fell ill to cancer and passed away back to back. (Chester Recine 10/26/09 and Marie Recine 12/17/09) The three people who looked out for me are now gone. I am only 22 and these eyes have seen enough death and misery to last another ten lifetimes. New eyes would be life changing! At the age of 15, I became the parent and my mother the child. At 18 I put aside going to college and left my friends to move in with my grandparents over an hour away to take care of them. It would be beyond a blessing to be taken care of. They say good things come to those who wait and it feels like it has been an eternity. I currently am working two jobs and taking six classes. I have been supporting myself for a long time now and have not been able to save any money in the process. I live paycheck to paycheck. I do not qualify for state aid or any other type of government assistance. I do not have long enough credit history established to qualify for loans. There honestly is no other means for me to receive a Lasik procedure. Undoubtedly there are other individuals who are equally deserving of winning this contest, but I truly believe that this opportunity is made for me and will have the biggest impact on my life. Being glasses free and being able to see the world without squinting would benefit every aspect of my life from school to my mental well being. No more getting discouraged by my eyes. I would appreciate being able to look up to the sky and tell my mom yes I can, no more I can’t!!