My name is Chris Styles. I’m 21-years-old, I have retinitis pigmentosa and I’m on a mission to get us all loving the cane a little bit more. Many visually impaired people see the cane as an undeniable symbol of blindness, leading to an aversion to using the cane in public and negative attitudes towards this tool.
As a partially sighted person myself, I felt the same way too, and really struggled to come to terms with using my cane. I was ashamed and embarrassed about using it and worried about standing out and looking different. As I used the cane more however, I realised how empowering the cane could be in my everyday life. I therefore challenged myself to push through the insecurity and distress, because the long-term positive outcomes were worth the discomfort. I want to encourage everyone who is going through these struggles to love their cane a little bit more and view the cane as a useful and life-saving tool.
Share your cane stories
Using the hashtag #LoveMyCane, get involved, by sharing short videos, quotes or blogs of your own journeys of coming to terms with using your cane. Have you ever struggled with using your cane? If you now love using your cane, let us know why. What advice would you have for a young person struggling to use their cane? Send in your videos, blogs, and quotes with the hashtag #LoveMyCane. If you just want to post a picture of you using your cane that’s also brilliant!
Oh, almost forgot to say, everyone who takes part, will be entered into a draw to win a delicious box of chocolates. So, what have you got to lose? Get involved, #LoveMyCane.
Want some inspiration?
Check out the stories of LOOK mentors and visually impaired bloggers who have gone through this struggle and learned how to love their canes.
To find out more about learning to use your cane, visit the Guide Dogs Movement Matters Training page, which has information about arranging mobility training.
At LOOK we run a free mentoring scheme that matches young blind people with a visually impaired mentor, who can give advice and support on a range of issues including coming to terms with your cane. To find out more visit our mentoring page.