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Sign waving event raises awareness for blind people

LIHU‘E — Wailua resident Kim Look Lopez said on Thursday that it’s a good thing Kaua‘i has a club, the National Federation of the Blind, Kaua‘i Chapter, for blind people.

“I learned a lot about blindness,” said Lopez, who herself is starting to lose her sight because of macular degeneration. “I met a lot of people, including Richard whom I ended up marrying 12 years ago. It’s a good thing we have the club.”

Kim and her husband Richard were among the people doing sign waving on Thursday to bring awareness that October is celebrated as Blind Equality Achievement Month.

“It’s about how the white cane is a tool that helps blind people become capable of doing a lot of things we’re not aware they can do,” said Morgan Moises Lopez of the Kaua‘i Lions Club, who joined the group of about a dozen people, including Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and County Council Chair Mel Rapozo.

The event attracted honks of support from the busy morning traffic on Rice Street, fronting the Historic County Building.

The group was also joined by the Vocational Rehabilitation Division’s Zack Barrett and Brooke Jacintho, who made sure sign wavers had this year’s version of the monthlong observance that comes a few days ahead of White Cane Day, which falls on Oct. 15. The National Federation of the Blind has distributed more than 64,000 free white canes to blind,or visually-impaired people since 2008.

The effectiveness of the white cane, coupled with caregiver help, was demonstrated by the blind participants, including the Lopez couple who were perplexed at the question, how do you deal with the chicken holes?

“I dunno,” said Richard who lost his sight from a “powder burn” during World War II. “Ask Doug Moises. He’s blind.”

Kim said despite his blindness, Richard cannot stay still.

“He’s always doing something like repairing things and doing stuff around the house,” Kim said. “You would not even know he can’t see.”

“I no can stay still,” Richard said. “I gotta keep moving.”
Source: The Garden Island

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