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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.

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Blind Airline Passenger

Any time I travel alone on an airline I always call ahead to request assistance and I always have my white ID cane in hand when I arrive.  I only carry the cane so people recognize my blindness, as it is not apparent. It usually serves its intended purpose however, once people notice that I can see quite a bit, the cane as a symbol sometimes seems to lose its validity.

On my recent trip, since carrying the cane along with luggage can be a challenge, I decided to try going without it. 

So when I called to inform the airline that I’m a disabled traveler and would need   assistance, I told them that I don’t use a white cane but that I wear a checkered eye symbol instead.  I informed them that this was a wearable symbol for low vision and that they could see it at checkeredeye.com. 

It worked! 

Since I had made arrangements for assistance by phone there was no need to make explanations to the service personnel once we met.  I took each opportunity to ask these staff members if they already knew the checkered eye and to my delight, some of them did. 

So the checkered eye was as effective as the ID cane in regards to the assistive staff.  The only time I used the ID cane was when, after an assistant had shown me where the ladies room was and I told her I could find my way back to the waiting area, I had it in hand so the other travelers would allow me back into the “special” seating area without explanation.  I was very glad I had the white cane for that situation because it was a very crowded time and people had moved into the area where we disabled travelers had been placed, including into my seat.  As soon as they saw me with my cane they very politely excused themselves.  Phew!

I am now reaching out to cruise lines in hopes that they also will accept checkered eye information to distribute to their staff and be able to add that bit of understanding to customer care for their demographic which likely has a relatively high percentage of people with low vision.  Fingers crossed!

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Go west!

When my sister moved from Ontario to British Columbia, she shipped some of her belongings and drove herself to the destination in Langly.  Since it would have been a long and lonely drive I decided to accompany her.  

There was only one place we visited that provided their menu in accessible formats for people with visual impairment; The Water Tower Inn in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  I alwasy ask for a large print version and I'm very happy that some places now provide them.

 

Along the way I delivered checkered eye information and was delighted whenever I met someone who already knew about the new symbol for low vision.   I handed out lots of my bsuness card size "booster cards" and put up some posters. 

Here are a few photos of places where I was able to put up our new poster.

Next month I'll tell you about the plane ride home...

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I wish!

I met a fellow recently who said he heard that the checkered eye had been featured on Oprah!  I’m pretty sure I would have known about that, being the head honcho of operations at the international Checkered Eye Project headquarters here in my empty nest!  So I happen to know that this fellow was mistaken. 

I told him so at the time and also mentioned that I’ve been trying to get a hold of Ms. Winfrey for years.  I wrote to her through the show she did for 25 years, but not since she finished that particular project.  I also made a video about 10 years ago, part of which is on Youtube.

After persistent requests, Canadian comedian Rick Mercer taped a promo for The CEP in 2013.

 Among many  attempts to enlist the help of famous people, I also did a video of a song I wrote for a certain Canadian radio show host who has fallen into scandal.  I tried contacting Oprah and others because I figure that people who have some degree of celebrity have easier access to the attention of the masses, and I just need a little bit of that!   Maybe it’s time to try to get a hold of a different celebrity; it’s kind of fun doing the productions and you never know w

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