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White Cane luncheon to raise awareness

White Cane 2022
Joyce Donghi with Lions HB Award.

The annual White Cane Safety Day Luncheon aimed at raising awareness for those who are visually impaired will be held at the Young Australian Hotel on Saturday 14 October.

The event will commence at 11.30 am and is open to community orientated people and those who are visually impaired, including carers and their families.

Bundaberg North Lions Club President Michael Brown said the club had been running a White Cane Safety Day Luncheon, with support from the Bundaberg Talking Newspaper Association, since 1989.

“15 October is the internationally-recognised White Cane Safety Day, that recognises blind and visually impaired people's achievements and the importance of the white cane,” he said.

“The white cane is an important symbol of blindness, the user’s skills and talents and a tool of independence. 

“It also allows a sighted person to recognise that the user is visually impaired.”

Michael said White Cane luncheon and Safety Day gave Lions International the opportunity to increase awareness within the community of white canes and associated traffic safety laws.

“It is important to recognise the movement of our visually impaired citizens from dependency to full participation in society and to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired,” he said.

“Each year one person is chosen by the Visually Impaired Support Group to receive the Lions Harry Buchbach Memorial Award that is presented on the day.”

History of the white cane

Michael said since 1930, Lions Clubs from around the world had been undertaking projects on 15 October for the visually impaired.

“The white cane was initially developed and put into use as a measure of safety, especially in traffic situations,” he said.

“It signifies that the pedestrian using it is blind or visually impaired, alerts motorists of the need to exercise special caution and provide the user the right of way, alongside symbolising independence.

“Bundaberg Talking Newspaper Association work closely with our local Visually Impaired Support group and run support programs.”