Pat Chicquen (right) and Rose Pokeda, of the Canadian Council of the Blind White Cane Club Comox Valley Chapter, hold the official proclamation from the Province of British Columbia, declaring Feb. 4-10 as White Cane Week in B.C. Photo by Terry Farrell

Province recognizes Feb. 4-10 as White Cane Week in B.C.

First full week of February has been National White Cane Week since 1946

For 72 years, the first week in February has been “White Cane Week” in Canada.

This year, thanks in large part to the work of Comox resident Pat Chicquen, Feb. 4-10 will also be White Cane Week in the province of British Columbia.

Chicquen, the 2nd vice-president of the Canadian Council of the Blind, BC-Yukon Division, spearheaded the campaign to have the nationally-celebrated week recognized at the provincial level. She received word of the provincial decision by way of email earlier this year, along with the official proclamation.

The document, signed by BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and Attorney General David Eby, reads in part:

WHEREAS since 1946, the first full week of February has traditionally been ‘White Cane Week’ in Canada due to the initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind, and

WHEREAS the objective of White Cane Week is to provide education and awareness of vision loss to British Columbians through a network of special events and hands-on demonstrations throughout the province, and

WHEREAS White Cane Week has evolved to reflect the changing situations of the blind community and has begun to emphasize equal capabilities and talents of people who are blind and partially sighted, and

WHEREAS with the province’s aging population, all British Columbians need to be better informed about the effects of vision loss and to work towards creating more supportive, inclusive communities;

NOW KNOW YE THAT, We do by these presents proclaim and declare February 4 to 10, 2018 shall be known as ‘White Cane Week’ in the Province of British Columbia.”

“We have never thought about pursuing this before,” said Chicquen, of her motivation to push for the provincial designation of White Cane Week. “So I had this idea do it and I started it… I just feel that people need to be better educated about the blind, and about sight loss in our country.

“Every day in our country, 135 people are pronounced legally blind, or blind.”

It is a steadily growing community, but Chicquen said there are steps that could be taken to prevent, or at least slow its growth.

“Optometrist visits are so important,” she said. “At least once a year, or once every two years. So many people say ‘why would I go to the optometrist; I can’t afford glasses.’ But can you afford glaucoma, or all those other things that are basically now arrestable? So many people say they can’t afford it, but they can afford 20 cups of coffee, or the other things that they do. Things like teeth can be replaced. Eyes can’t.”

Community chapters of the Canadian Council of the Blind are known as White Cane Clubs, of which there are 29 in the province.

Just Posted

Parksville council disagrees over parkland, payment

Developer planned to provide 0.5 ha. of land

Rodeo returns to Coombs for fourth year

Events include saddle, bareback riding and barrel racing

Model trains, historical exhibits offered at Parksville museum’s Railway Days

The family-friendly event takes place on Aug. 17 and 18 and is by donation

Coombs, Errington area director won’t run again

Julian Fell endorses Leanne Salter for role

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

UPDATED: Vancouver Island community under evacuation alert due to wildfire

BC Wildfire Service says steep terrain near Zeballos poses challenge as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

Most Read