White Cane Awareness

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White Cane Awareness

Cortnie Cottrell, Staff Writer

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North Dakota Association of the Blind held its annual Walk for Vision event late October in celebration of National White Cane Safety Day which is nationally recognized on October 15 each year. 

According to visionaware.org, White Cane Day began in 1964 when a joint resolution of Congress was passed which read, “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives that the President is hereby authorized to issue annually a proclamation designating October 15th as White Cane Safety Day and calling upon the people of the United States of America to observe such a day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

Since then, the nation has recognized the importance and deep significance that this day holds in many lives. White Cane Safety Day is not merely the awareness of those with vision loss using white canes. White Cane Safety Day is a celebration of the importance of the blind learning to use a white cane and gaining an immense amount of independence that comes with learning to use one. This day is also a time to celebrate the abilities and successes achieved by people with visual impairments in a sighted world.

“This date celebrates all that individuals who experience low vision or blindness contribute to the world,” Emily Stenberg, North Dakota School for the Blind staff member said. “It is no exaggeration to say that without the white cane, many who are

blind would not be able to travel independently, and it truly amazing what a simple cane can do!”

In contribution of spreading awareness for White Cane Safety Day, the Walk for Vision event put on by NDAB was held at Columbia Mall. At the fundraiser event there were about 35 generously giving participants. This event raised over $400 for the North Dakota Association of the Blind. Because this event was a fundraiser, the walking fee was $5 and $15 with a t-shirt. With another great turnout this year, all staff members and students are already excited for next year’s walk. 

 The on-campus sorority house, Delta Gamma, whose philanthropy is ‘service for sight,’ has been helping and supporting the NDAB for many years now. For this event specifically, members from the Delta Gamma sorority house attended the walk-being the sideline cheerleaders with posters in hopes of spreading awareness. 

The North Dakota School for the Blind was sincerely grateful for the generous participants and for the overall turnout. They believe they met their purpose of holding the walk, of celebrating with those who experience low vision and to spread awareness of the importance of the use of white canes. 

Outside of this event, Delta Gamma sorority members play a big role at the North Dakota School for the Blind. One evening every week, a group of members participates in an activity with the in-house students. Beyond that, Delta Gamma girls have helped the school in other ways, from coordinating talent shows, baking desserts and playing board games with the students. “It means so much to our students to have these positive role models in their lives,” Stenberg said. “Delta Gamma girls are fantastic friends to us, and we are so grateful for them.”

If you have any questions regarding White Cane Safety Day, or are looking for resources about visual impairment, Emily Stenberg would love to answer any questions. She can be reached at [email protected]

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