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Take the White Cane Awareness Day challenge
October 9, 2019

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Crossing any busy intersection is always a harrowing ordeal. Try doing it with little or no sight.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 9:30 a.m., Lighthouse of Southwest Florida, a vision rehabilitation center, is inviting the public to come join them and their vision impaired clients for a White Cane Walk at one of the busiest intersections in North Fort Myers.

Dotty St. Amand, CEO for Lighthouse, said one of their objectives is orientation and mobility, and White Cane training helps those with sight issues navigate the community.

"This is how we highlight the importance of safe mobility for independence for those who are blind and visually impaired. It's an opportunity to include the public in awareness of what it is like," St. Amand said. "This walk will demonstrate the importance of helping them achieve their goals to be independent."

People will meet on the northwest corner of the intersection (where Advance Auto is). Those with sight will be blindfolded, handed a white cane and tasked with having to cross all four sides of the intersection of Old 41 and Pine Island/Bayshore Road.

Certified instructors will be there to guide participants safely through the exercise, with Lee County Sheriff's Office deputies helping to clear the way for walkers to keep them safe.

The blindfolded volunteers will be joined by those who are visually impaired and get by either using their white canes, guides or even guide dogs.

St. Amand, who did the walk last year on her first day on the job, said it is an interesting experience. Not just for her, but also the dozens of people who also participate.

"This is a good way to stop and recognize this day, to see what the Lighthouse does to help people gain or maintain their independence," St. Amand said.

White Cane Day celebrates the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired. The white cane is an important mobility tool and a symbol of their independence.

The mission of Lighthouse of SWFL is to enable people of all ages, living with a visual impairment or blindness, to remain independent, active, and productive in society.

For more information, call 239-997-7797 or go to lighthouseswfl.org.

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