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

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

Pool opening further delayed

A deficiency in the tile works has setback its completion, city says

Terrace fire ban now includes Ferry Island

The ban will be in place until further notice

Four Rivers Co-op collecting donations for wildfire relief

The co-op is matching all donations they receive for the Red Cross

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Most Read