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

Violent sex offender found not guilty of breach for smoking marijuana

Once designated a dangerous offender, Kevin Miller reportedly back at Chilliwack halfway house

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Driver of vehicle down 90-foot embankment rescued on Highway 5 near Hope

Rope rescue conducted on mutual-aid call with Chilliwack SAR, Hope SAR and Agassiz fire department

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Most Read