ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- When most people see a person with a white cane it usually doesn't dawn on them they are visually impaired or blind.
That's why the Association for the Visually Impaired will celebrate White Cane Awareness Day on Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Helen Hayes Hospital Noyes Conference Center, in West Haverstraw.
The event will feature Jeremiah Taylor, founder and chief executive officer, of ProActive Sales Inc., who lost his sight in April 2000.
Although totally blind, Taylor used his outgoing personality and drive to motivate himself to continue his successful business career.
Taylor who said he worked in Manhattan and never took notice of someone with a white cane before losing his own vision suddenly during an operation.
"Using a cane is so important and provides you the independence and freedom you need to keep working and being a part of society after becoming blind," he said. "I'm going to encourage people who may be hesitant to use the cane to spend the time it takes so they can keep living their lives outside of their homes."
Other speakers and events will include Sandra D. Jobson with the New York State Department of Transportation, Officer Gerald Verdicchio with the Rockland County Sheriff's Office who will promote awareness, education and advocacy for the white cane safety and a chance for attendees to take a walk while wearing simulation glasses (glasses and guide provided).
The association has been serving the area since opening their doors in 1976 helping both visually impaired and blind residents of Rockland and Orange counties.
Their mission is to help the visually impaired or blind lead full, productive independent lives.
"To us, the white cane represents independence, safety and freedom," said Yolanda Rihlmann, spokeswoman for the organization.
Their services include everything from helping find employment to rehabilitation teaching and training, transportation, volunteer help, support groups and much more.
The special event is open to the public and is co-sponsored by the New York State Commission for the Blind, Rockland Independent Living Center and Lions Club District 20.
For information, contact Yolanda Rihlmann at 845-574-4950.