It is difficult to explain exactly how important my cane is to me. I was fully sighted until I was 28 years old, and, as you might expect, losing my vision hit me pretty hard. Suddenly, I was unable to drive a car, or even safely walk down the street. I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t use the microwave or the oven, or the TV, or the computer. There was a very real possibility that I could get lost by simply going outside to check the mail or walking from my back door to the garage. I became somewhat of a hermit, nervous about leaving my house, and not really knowing how to do it safely even if I had wanted to.
And then, I got my first white cane. It was a fairly flimsy little thing, and, as I found out later, it was also far shorter than I should have been using. Even that little cane made a noticeable difference though, and I started to regain some of the independence I had lost. My cane became a sort of catalyst for me to begin mentally healing and moving on with my life.
It is now almost 15 years later, and I am a self-defense instructor specializing in teaching other blind individuals. I have navigated bus terminals and airports, a challenge I could not have imagined taking on when I first started going blind. My cane has become one of the most important objects I own. While it is a necessary piece of equipment for travel, it has also become a symbol of perseverance and overcoming adversity.