Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club to hold White Cane Days

Submitted Photo Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Vice-President Virginia Harper working a shift.

The Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club will be holding their spring White Cane days this Friday through Sunday. They will be located at Wal-Mart in Fredonia and the Tops store in Dunkirk. The club will be accepting donations and one hundred percent of donations will be used for the club’s community service projects.

The purpose of White Cane Days is to raise awareness of the white cane and sight conservation and to raise monies for the work the Lions Club does within our community.

In 1925, noted author, lecturer and political activist Helen Keller spoke to the International Convention of Lions Clubs and asked the club to take up the cause of sight conservation. She asked that they be her “…Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness.” The Lions Club International accepted her challenge. White Cane Days are a response to that as Lions set out to do what they could to help.

The White Cane Days are held by Lions Clubs around the world as a way to increase awareness about the white cane. In 1921, James Biggs from Bristol, England, who was blind, painted his cane white in order that he might be more visible to the traffic around his residence. In 1930, Lion George A. Bonham of the Peoria Lions Club (Illinois) introduced the idea of a white cane with a red band as a means of assisting the blind in independent mobility. The Peoria Lions approved the idea and made and distributed the canes in their city. The Peoria City Council adopted an ordinance that gave the bearers of those canes the right of way to cross city streets. The idea quickly spread to Lions Clubs around the United States and the white cane became a way for the visually impaired to signal their need for consideration and for the sighted community to recognize the need to give right of way to the individual using the cane.

Today there are white cane laws in every U.S. state and in other countries around the world. The white cane has become a universally recognized symbol that the user is visually impaired. The white cane alerts motorists that the user has right of way and symbolizes the independence of the user.

Submitted Photo Members of Delta Chi fraternity from Fredonia State help with collections in 2018.

Lions Club International continues to strive to help those who are visually impaired and works toward the prevention of blindness around the world.

The Dunkirk Fredonia Lions Club meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6 p.m. at The Clarion in Dunkirk. We are always looking for new members who want to be a part of improving our community. If you would like more information, please find us on Facebook or call 672-8509.