Meet visually impaired blogger Luke Sam Sowden. Luke blogs about his Cane, why he loves it, and some of his experiences. #LoveMyCane
I’m Luke, and I suffer from a hereditary Eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which means that I suffer from Tunnel Vision, Night Blindness and Floaters which are like little pieces of Tissue that float around my Vision whenever the lighting changes. I’ve been using a White Cane for just over seven years now, well that’s not entirely true, as I now use a bright Red Coloured Cane rather than a White one.
1. Why do you think a White Cane is a useful tool?
I think that it’s a useful Tool because as well as notifying the people who are around you that you have a Visual Impairment, it also helps you to navigate the world around you and hopefully not walk into anyone or anything whilst you’re out and about living your life.
2. Have you always been comfortable using a White Cane, if not, why?
I’ve always been fairly comfortable using a White Cane, but for about five years before finally deciding to start my Mobility Training, I did worry about what people would think about seeing me using one as I didn’t really want to give off the impression that I couldn’t see, which was ridiculous given the amount of bumps, scrapes and general accidents that I got myself into. Luckily though, I did finally decide to take the plunge and do my Mobility Training and I haven’t looked back since. Yes it hasn’t always been easy as i’ve still gotten into a few accidents whilst using my Cane, but it’s a lot better than it used to be.
3. How did you come to accept your White Cane?
I basically just told myself that it’s something that you need and if people thought any less of you for using it then it was there problem and not yours. I actually love using my Cane now and love that people recognise me because I use one, although I think that also has something to do with my very loud personality and the fact that I also use a Red Cane now instead of the generic White Cane that I started out with.
4. What would you say to young people who have doubts about using a White Cane?
I would probably say, don’t worry about using one as it’s great and gives you a lot more freedom. Yes you will get the odd stare or question about your White Cane but that’s mainly because people are just curious as to why someone is swishing a massive White Stick around. I would also say to just use a Cane in public once, as once you have you’ll realise how much it helps you and wont care about what other people think.,
5. Why do you love your White Cane?
I love my Cane because it’s given me back a lot of the freedom that I used to have before I started losing my Sight and has enabled me to do things and explore places that I wouldn’t have been able to visit otherwise. I also love it because it gives me a little bit of security when i’m in a new environment and am feeling a little anxious, has helped me to make more friends, both online and in real life, and has made me a lot more confident as I now see my Cane as a part of me rather than just some boring old Mobility Aid. If you were wondering why I choose to use a Red Cane instead of a White one, it’s because I love showing off a little bit of my personality, as a White Cane can look a little bit boring. I also really like that I can pair it with whatever i’m wearing and that it’s a little bit of a talking point. Just because it’s a Mobility Aid doesn’t mean that it can’t look cool too!
This post was written by Luke Sam Sowden, for our Love My Cane Campaign, which is all about encouraging visually impaired young people to think more positively about their canes. Visit our Love My Cane campaign page to find out more.