Homeless blind man gets gift of sight

SAN ANTONIO – Your sight is one of those things you take for granted until it starts to go. Imagine being homeless and blind with no money to find out what's wrong and no idea where to go for help. One homeless blind San Antonio man’s life changed when he got help from a place where he never wanted to end up.

"I am looking so forward to independence again," William Stancik said.

For Stancik, trust meant a hand on the shoulder of a man he had never seen, named Jason Gerstner. It’s trusting the people around him that will help him get his sight back.

"He has the opportunity on Friday to see that, one, I'm not 6 foot 3, and that I'm not wearing a suit," Gerstner said.

Related: Reporter Debrief: Journey out of darkness

Gerstner is Stancik’s guide through a place he always swore he would never go: San Antonio’s Haven for Hope.

"I didn't think very highly of the place, but from the day I walked in here, they have been nothing but help to me. And it means I'm going to get my eyesight back. They're not charging me a thing. I don't know that you have words unless you haven't had eyesight," Stancik said.

A failed romance left Stancik homeless and fiercely independent until his world descended into darkness.

"I can see somewhat of a shadow. I can see the light. And mostly, it's, like, as if you were walking in the densest fog you've ever walked in," Stancik said.

Asking for help and traveling to Haven for Hope are two things Stancik is glad he did. Blindness led him to a bond with Gerstner.

Gerstner was once on the streets himself. Now, he works at the Haven for Hope and led Stancik to the I Care San Antonio Clinic on the Haven Campus and to Dr. Robert Rice, whose hands will give Stancik his sight back.

"The simple job is such a chore for me," Stancik said.

"With a 15-minute operation, we can restore his eyesight and his life again," Rice said.

William will get that surgery on Wednesday. Until then, another guided walk for two men who are connected by more than just a hand on the shoulder.

"He's just a remarkable individual, and I saw something there that was a willingness to do more and to overcome something that he didn't have any idea how he was going to overcome," Gerstner said.

"When I met Jason, I could tell right in his voice, maybe from talking to him for five minutes, that this was the man who was going to help me. For real, I could tell," Stancik said.

On Wednesday night on the NightBeat, KSAT 12 will go into the operating room and will capture the first moments after Stancik gets his sight back — the end of his journey out of darkness.


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About the Author:

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.