White Cane Week takes takes place Feb.3 through Feb. 9 in the Comox Valley. Dreamstime photo

Raising awareness of vision loss through White Cane Week

Pat Chiquen knows how isolating losing sight can be.

The president of the Comox Valley Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind lives by the rule of “a lack of sight is not a lack of vision.”

She understands that when people lose their sight, “a lot … go into their house and shut the door.”

That’s why she hopes more people in the Comox Valley – and across the country – will understand what it is like to lost sight or be blind through White Cane Week, which takes place Feb.3 through Feb. 9.

The idea behind the week is to raise awareness and funds for the local chapter, which has around 42 members.

Events vary from chapter to chapter but all focus on demonstrating the abilities – not disabilities – of people living with vision loss.

For the local chapter, Chiquen explained the organization will have displays at Superstore in Courtenay and the Courtenay Country Market at 5352 Island Highway throughout the week.

In conjunction with the week, the 1st Tuesday Fundraiser sponsored by the Mex Pub on Feb. 5 will raise funds for the group. The funds raised will assist the club in subsidizing outings, conferences and dinners, as there is no charge for membership.

Chiquen, who has macular degeneration, noted the local chapter (named the White Cane Club) has members who could be totally blind, legally blind and some members who are sighted who help out in a volunteer role.

The White Cane Club has been in existence in the Valley for more than 30 years, and the group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at Berwick Comox Valley.

The club is hosting an open house on March 19 at the Berwick Comox Valley (1700 Comox Ave.) which will feature speakers, songs and armchair yoga. Chiquen said everyone is invited between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

All those with vision loss, as well as those wishing to volunteer with the club, are welcome to monthly meetings. For more information, contact Chiquen at 250-339-3904.

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