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Happy White Cane Safety Day!

White Cane Safety Day text and image desription are in the body of the post.

White Cane Safety Day celebrates the achievements of blind and visually impaired (B&VI) people in the United States on October 15 every year. It also reminds people of how the white cane is an important tool in helping the B&VI live with greater independence.

This year Bold Blind Beauty participated in White Cane Safety Day festivities in Pittsburgh, PA, and Milwaukee, WI.

Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh celebrated its White Cane Safety Day on Friday the 13th. The celebration kicked-off with Jimmy Sapienza’s Five Guys Named Moe, a fabulous jazz combo comprised partly of musicians who are blind.

We joined Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, Golden Triangle Council of the Blind, and the Bureau of Blindness and Vision Services to debut our White Cane Rules of the Road initiative. I was so grateful to hear people’s stories of loved ones living with blindness or sight loss. An added bonus was their excitement of Bold Blind Beauty’s message of changing the way we perceive one another.

Steph McCoy stands with her with cane in front of Bold Blind Beauty's display at White Cane Safety Day celebration in Pittsburgh's Market Square.
Steph McCoy stands in front of Bold Blind Beauty’s display at White Cane Safety Day celebration in Pittsburgh’s Market Square.

A personal highlight of the event was when one of my good friends came by to help man our exhibit. She was ecstatic when she found out all of our materials were also in accessible formats. So ecstatic, she began reading her braille packet almost as soon as she sat down.

Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh table, banners and awareness materials.
Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh table, banners and awareness materials.

Milwaukee County Courthouse, Milwaukee, WI

In Milwaukee, on October 17, Bold Blind Beauty joined Industries for the Blind (IB) to celebrate White Cane Safety Day. At our exhibit table, we shared our materials with more than 80 blind young people and their parents. In addition to White Cane Rules of the Road WI, we shared information on empowerment for B&VI women.

2017 Milwaukee White Cane Day Celebration at Milwaukee County Courthouse
2017 Milwaukee White Cane Day Celebration at Milwaukee County Courthouse

Summary

As White Cane Safety Day recognizes the contributions of B&VI people within our society, Bold Blind Beauty will continue its mission of changing the way we perceive one another. Empowering B&VI women as well as connecting sighted and nonsighted communities to end misconceptions about blindness is the path to our mission. 

Description: www.boldblindbeauty.com template with Abigale (Abby) to the left of the quote. The Abby icon is shown walking with her white cane in one hand and handbag in the other. The image is black and white and she wears a stylish black dress and black heels. Her signature hairstyle is best described as explosive.

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Bold Blind Beauty Offers “Rules of The Road”

For Proper Cane Use at White Cane Day

Several White Cane Rules of the Road cards spread out on a tableToday, Bold Blind Beauty is pleased to announce its “White Cane Rules of the Road” initiative. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, the initiative conveys tips for both blind and visually impaired (B&VI) persons and sighted persons—particularly motorists—to help keep B&VI persons safe whenever they are using their white mobility cane to navigate.

The White Cane Rules of the Road initiative kicks off with a card—printed in large type for low-vision persons, and in braille for blind persons—as part of an information packet about boldblindbeauty.com. It will début at White Cane Day celebrations in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee Wisconsin.

“With increasing dangers such as quiet, hybrid cars, more complex traffic patterns, and multi-media distractions, it’s imperative that drivers are constantly on the lookout for pedestrians using white canes and dog guides.” ~Susan Lichtenfels, President, Pennsylvania Council of the Blind

Teal and white braille Bold Blind Beauty silicon bracelets, each in its own mesh drawstring gift bag and Bold Blind Beauty business cards.

The card provides tips on how to be safe when using a white cane, and inscribed on the back, are state statutes outlining the proper protocol for motorists when around B&VI cane users. The Bold Blind Beauty tables at each event will have Bold Blind Beauty braille-labeled wristbands, informational packets, and sample promotional items such as mugs and T-shirts from the website. 

In addition to indicating that a person is blind or visually impaired, the long thin white cane, is more than just a mobility tool for blind and vision impaired users. It is also a badge of strength and boldness. It provides the means for us to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum.” ~Stephanae McCoy

Collage of Bold Blind Beauty informational packets in print, large print and braille. The bottom photo is my Ambutech custom white cane. The grip is neon green, the last section is neon yellow and the rest of the cane is white.

White Cane Safety Day celebrates B&VI people’s achievements in the United States on October 15 every year. It also increases awareness of the white cane traffic safety laws. Following are details for the White Cane Safety Day celebrations in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

  • Friday, October 13th 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Tuesday, October 17th 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM CT Milwaukee County Courthouse, Milwaukee County Courthouse – South Entrance, Milwaukee, WI

If you happen to be in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee on the above dates please stop by the Bold Blind Beauty table to say hello, pick up your White Cane Rules of the Road, and a little swag. For more information about White Cane Rules of the Road visit us online at boldblindbeauty.com.

 

 

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From Passing To Passion—Finding Strength In The White Cane

Tri collage of me posing in front of my counter with my white cane wearing a black off the shoulder choker top, white jeans, black suede chunky high heels and silver jewelry..

“The white cane is more than just a mobility tool for blind and vision impaired users. It is also a badge of strength and boldness. It allows us to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum.”

Ambutech White Cane with a neon green grip and neon yellow section nearest the tip.
Ambutech White Cane

What bothered me most about my sight loss was my fear of people knowing I couldn’t see. Everywhere I went I felt so vulnerable and isolated not to mention, my anxiety levels rocketed off into the stratosphere.

Each step I took was a step closer to breaking my neck. So what was my solution as my sight kept deteriorating? I faked it of course.

Adjusting to sight loss is a process and everyone who goes through it does so in a different way. I was so used to putting on my professional mask each day. It was important to me for people saw what I wanted them to see—a composed person. Yet after work, and sometimes throughout the day while hiding in a restroom stall, I was a blubbering mess. My life was unraveling.

When I met with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) to discuss the assistive technology I would need to keep my job, I was stunned when he mentioned the white cane. To determine my needs, I had to answer questions but I never thought the white cane would enter the discussion. For Pete’s sake, I mean I couldn’t see but I wasn’t blind. I had a lot to learn.

“The only person you are fooling is yourself when you pretend you CAN see when you clearly CAN’T.” This comment from the VRC didn’t go over well with me. Even so, I grudgingly took Orientation and Mobility training to learn how to use the white cane. Once my lessons were over the cane went to my closet where it stayed for months.

My eventual acceptance of the white cane came about as I began to accept my sight loss. Meeting and befriending blind people who strongly advocate for the rights of blind persons led me to volunteer for several blind organizations. Becoming a part of the blind community and refocusing my efforts on helping others was the most important piece that ultimately gave me a sense of peace.

I still have days where I don’t feel as secure as I’d like, we all do, but when I come back to my ‘why,’ I can recharge, readjust, and refocus to stoke the fire of my passion. Improving humanity by changing the way we perceive one another is my mission and to achieve it I must continue moving forward and doing so with my white cane. I’ve found that being Bold Blind and Beautiful comes from living life to the best of my ability.

If you’re facing a similar white cane struggle, it’s okay. You got this! ~Steph

 

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Spotlight on White Cane Safety Day

More Than Just A Cane

Today, in recognition of the upcoming White Cane Safety Day, Bold Blind Beauty is featured on Friday Friends Spotlight at Amy’s Adventures. Following is an excerpt from the post:

“White Cane Rules of the Road kicks off with a card (printed in large type for low-vision persons—and in braille for blind persons) as part of an information packet about boldblindbeauty.com. The card was designed as a high-level overview to inform the public on the variations of the White Cane Law throughout the United States.” Continue reading

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Cane EnAbled – Puttin’ on the Glitz

The white mobility cane—a badge of strength and boldness. It enables us to do most anything. What would we do without it?

Standard White Cane W/Rolling Ball Tip
Standard White Cane W/Rolling Ball Tip

Indicating that a person is blind or visually impaired, the long thin white cane is more than just a tool for blind and vision impaired (B&VI) users. It’s a way to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum. But a white cane can also mean different things to different people.

For the B&VI, a cane can be an incredibly useful tool, granting us a significant amount of freedom and mobility depending upon our ability and level of vision loss. But it also can have much stigma as we deal with acceptance of blindness, particularly by someone who is recently blinded.

When I was given my first cane, I admit I was devastated as I realized that I had transformed from being a woman who had sight to a woman who became blind. That was tough. Suddenly, I was viewed by society as a person with a disability, not a whole person. But now I love my cane—and beyond just its functionality.

My cane represents more than just my blindness—it has become a part of me, part of who I now am, a part that is loved and accepted by anyone who truly loves and accepts me. Even my sighted friends love it, as they see my ability to accept and adjust to my situation without judgment or marginalization, and they appreciate how I can function just like anyone else.

Blinging it Up

Sample rhinestone adorned strap purchased from a craft store.
Sample Rhinestone Adorned Strap

But wait, there’s more! I’ve always loved fashion and style, so I asked, why can’t I use my cane beyond its role as a mobility device? Why can’t it help express my inner sense of being, much like my hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, and jewelry to personalize it to make a fashion statement as to who I am as a woman?

As a mobility tool, a cane, of course, needs to be reflective and visible, particularly to drivers. But there’s a lot you can do to “bling out” a cane, without jeopardizing its functionality and safety features. For example, there are canes with handles and tips in a variety of colors such as neon blue, green, pink and orange.

Rhinestone covered handle
Rhinestone covered handle

There also are canes where the shaft is a matching color instead of white and red. But you need to go with an overall color and style you are comfortable and feel safe with. Our recommendation would be to bedazzle portions of the cane such as the handgrip, the section just below the grip, and the strap—an easy solution to creating a personalized fashion statement.

 

To express my inner self, I decided to decorate mine. Here are some tips and ideas for those who are still new to having a cane, since it really helps with the self-confidence—at least for me.

Decorating Tips

  • Don’t add too many decorations (to prevent them from being a distraction)
  • Use materials that are reflective and will adhere to the cane
  • Use removable décor in case they become a hindrance
  • Decorate for holidays, events, parties, and just for fun!

Decorating Ideas

Here are a few ideas to add some swag to your staff of independence:

  • Braille cane charms
  • Bling hung on the strap
  • Colorful reflective duct tape
  • Rhinestone ribbon 
  • Holiday décor – ribbons & banners for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s, Easter, St. Patrick’s, July 4th
  • Sports, e.g. Super Bowl Sunday, World Series, Olympics
  • Music – instruments & clef signs

Now with a little bling and glitz, my cane tells a story about me—a whole person beyond just my blindness. And since we’ll be together for a long time, I plan on having lots more fun with my cane. So, bling out your cane and enable your inner fashion sensibilities—and be a bold, blind and beautiful woman!

 

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A Lil’ Inspiration #33: The White Cane

“Failure to understand why I use a white cane on your part, does not constitute an explanation on my part.” ~Stephanae McCoy

Tri panel collage of me posed standing and sitting with my white cane.If you fear using a mobility tool because of what other people think, fear no more. Do this for you and no one else!

I’m 56 years old, I don’t ‘look’ like I’m blind but because I don’t ‘look’ it doesn’t change that I am. Nowadays when I fall it’s no longer a joke, it actually hurts. So if using the white cane keeps me from stumbling, I’m ALL IN!

There is no shame in having a disability. SHINE ON!! Get out there and LIVE life💖 You got this!

#nofear #noshame #noexplanation #yougotthis

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Style & The White Cane Can Coexist

Beauty, Blindness & The White Cane

"Real Beauty Transcends Barriers" with a sexy midi dress, black shoes, handbag and the most important accessory - the white cane.“But you don’t look blind” Many of us blind/VI ladies hear this quite often, especially if we are stylish and walk confidently with our white canes or guide dogs. But here’s the thing, if someone told you they had cancer to say “you don’t look like you have cancer” would be considered rude. The same holds true for blindness and many other disabilities. Fact is there are many fashionable and attractive women who happen to be blind. The thing that sets us apart is we refuse to let our lack of eyesight prevent us from living life on our terms.

I think it’s important for all of us to remember things aren’t always as they might appear.

“Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions. Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.” ~Libby Thaw

Image: The quote “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” is on an image of a floor length oval mirror. Overlapping a small portion of the mirror is a sexy red midi dress, black heels, handbag and the most important accessory – the white cane.

Have a great day!!

 

 

 

*Image is the property of www.boldblindbeauty.com and www.abigailstyle.com