Lions Club promotes awareness of sight problems with ‘White Cane’ Day Oct. 3 | TheUnion.com
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Lions Club promotes awareness of sight problems with ‘White Cane’ Day Oct. 3

In keeping with the Lions’ established tradition of assisting the blind, Lions of District 4-C5 will be out and about this weekend to promote community awareness of the various sight programs the clubs support.

The History of the “white cane” goes back to 1921, when James Biggs, a photographer from Bristol, England, became blind following an accident. Because he was feeling uncomfortable with the amount of traffic around his home, he painted his walking stick white to be more easily visible.

In 1930, the late George A. Bonham, President of the Peoria Lions Club (Illinois) introduced the idea of using the white cane with a red band as a means of assisting the blind in independent mobility. The Peoria Lions approved the idea, white canes were made and distributed, and the Peoria City Council adopted an ordinance giving the bearers the right-of-way to cross the street. News of the club’s activity spread quickly to other Lions clubs throughout the United States, and their visually handicapped friends experimented with the white canes. Overwhelming acceptance of the white cane idea by the blind and sighted alike quickly gave cane users a unique method of identifying their special need for travel consideration among their sighted counterparts.



One hundred percent of the funds collected on White Cane Day will go back to members of the community. The club funds eye exams and glasses for those who could otherwise not afford them and supports other sight related programs and organizations.


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