Nationally, the first week in February has been “White Cane Week” through the initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CBB).
This year, Feb. 2-8 is officially proclaimed as White Cane Week in the province of British Columbia. This is the 29th year for the White Cane Club in the South Cariboo.
According to club member, Lori Fry, the local chapter hosts a White Cane event during the week, but for the last couple of years, the event has been postponed until Spring.
“This particular week, we are just sharing the word with the community,” said Fry. “We will be doing an internal birthday celebration for the chapter, but our main open house is set to take place during the upcoming seniors fair.”
White Cane Week provides education and awareness of the equal capabilities of people who are blind and visually impaired.
“It’s a time to talk about blindness or vision impairments,” said Fry. “It’s a time to talk about overcoming adversities, sharing the information, having open houses and workshops. Regardless of how many times you tell your story or explain the circumstances related to vision loss, the general population often doesn’t get it. That is understood and respected.”
Fry said it’s about keeping the conversation going.
“It comes down to helping educate the general population,” said Fry. “We are all apart of society and we don’t know about each other’s troubles or adversities unless we explain them.”
The 100 Mile White Cane Club is among the 24 chapters in British Columbia. Events may vary from chapter to chapter but all focus on raising awareness about the abilities – not disabilities – of people living with vision loss. Fry said she was fortunate to be in a rural location, explaining the message can sometimes be harder to get across in larger urban areas.
“The club can’t thank the community enough for their support, not only financially but an overall community spirit support,” said Fry.
“This sort of support has helped us bring these topics to the forefront.”