Why do people with vision impairments use white canes? It’s a simple question with a surprisingly complex answer.
Did you know there are actually three different types of white canes, all serving different purposes?
First, there’s the ID cane. It’s a small, foldable cane used by those who are legally blind but have partial sight. It is used to inform the public a person has vision impairment.
Then there’s the mobility cane. It’s used by those with no vision or limited vision and it helps those people navigate their surroundings.
Finally, there’s the support cane, which is for those with other mobility issues who also have vision impairment.
It’s information like this that Les Nolin, vice-president of the White Cane Club and an employee with the Kamloops branch of the CNIB, is hoping to draw awareness to during the 68th White Cane Week.
Running from Sunday, Feb. 2, to Saturday, Feb. 8, White Cane Week is a blind-awareness campaign that promotes public education and increases awareness of different facets of blindness and vision impairment.
“It’s like any kind of disability,” Nolin said of vision impairment.
He hopes the week will help people learn the purpose of the white cane and how they can help individuals with vision impairment with their day-to-day activities.
“I know that people aren’t aware of the different visual technologies that are out there,” Nolin said.
The former firefighter noted those technologies help people accomplish the same work as those without vision impairments.
“Often times, people are reluctant even to hire people who are vision impaired or blind, thinking they might not be able to do the job.”
As part of White Cane Week, there will be bowling at Bowlertime in North Kamloops on Monday, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m.
The alley is open to anyone who would like to come out and bowl a game while wearing special glasses that simulate different vision impairments.
“A couple people said they actually improved their bowling last year,” Nolin joked.
On Thursday, Feb. 6, there will be a luncheon at Desert Gardens Community Centre at Seymour Street and Fifth Avenue downtown.
Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., with lunch beginning at noon.
Instead of the usual guest speaker at the luncheon, this year’s meal will feature a band from Kamloops Christian School. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $6 for White Cane Club members and are available at the Kamloops CNIB office at 546 St. Paul St. downtown.