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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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My Buddy Slim and I are Celebrating White Cane Safety Day!

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White cane with caution stripe used by people who are blind to help navigate their surroundings. Also a pair of blackout glasses.

October 15th is White Cane Safety Day, and my white cane, Slim, and I are celebrating out in the community. Yes, I have a nickname for my long white cane, and yes, it is Slim. I am a white cane man, and I don't leave home without him. In all seriousness, I am psyched to be trained to use my long white cane, as it allows me a feeling of comfort, safety, and confidence when I am traveling through the community or even around the country. No, I don't fly on my white cane like a witch flies on a broom, and no, my white cane doesn't have magical powers. I was trained on how to use my white cane as a tool, a tool that allows me to find information in my environment while staying safe.

There are canes out there with hi-tech elements, including GPS, but I don't use them. They call them "smart white canes" but my Slim is smart enough, thank you. I have found that I am better off relying on my skills, senses, and trained cane technique to get me through my environment. My white cane creates no shame in my game—I am quite proud to use it.

According to our friends at Lions Club International, White Cane Safety Day was initiated in October 1964 with the intention of making Americans more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind person who carries it. In my opinion, the initiative worked: the white cane now universally acknowledges that its user is blind.

How can you take part in White Cane safety Day? Find events through your local community rehabilitation providers and consumer groups for persons who are blind or visually impaired (again, the Lions is a good group for this).

And, as I said last year, if you're a white cane user, raise it high!

White cane photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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