Last week I got a call from an inspiring lady. Leanne called to order some checkered eyes for a friend. He has low vision and doesn’t use a cane for mobility so, like me, he is often mistaken as fully sighted. She said her friend looks a bit like a rough character even though he is a real sweetheart. She said she’s pretty sure people assume he’s drunk or on something if he stumbles in public. She was heartbroken that he had fallen recently and not a single person offered him a hand. Leanne mentioned that her friend doesn’t have a lot of money so I offered to send his order at no charge. Leanne wouldn’t hear of it, she insisted on paying; she wants to help with our awareness effort.
She was also more than a bit upset with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). She said she had spoken to three different people there and no one would tell her anything about how to find checkered eyes. I have called many of their offices to give them the checkered eye Project’s phone number and web address, and also asked if they could make this information available to all front line contact people. I think this makes sense since people naturally assume the checkered eye is a CNIB project. However, I was told that they wouldn’t make this information available to their info line staff as it isn’t one of their products or services.
Fortunately for Leanne’s friend she persisted and found the checkered eye website. She also has offered to help him inform people in his community about the checkered eye. I always send pamphlets and info cards with all mail orders to help checkered eye users do just that. The symbol works best when people are already aware of it and its meaning so each user can bring information to friends and family and to the businesses they frequent. That way those of us who use it are pioneers and will make the checkered eye more effective for those who follow.
Hats off to Leanne and people like her who take care of their own and do what they can for the greater good.
I glanced through my phone log for the month of October and found there was quite a bit of activity there.
I made 3 custom orders: a tee shirt with checkered eyes on the front and back, a laminated 6 inch checkered eye to be attached to a walker, and a lanyard style checkered eye.
I was contacted by 2 low vision support groups: one ultimately seemed a bit dismissive and the other placed a huge order. I gave them the wholesale price of course!
I was approached by a CNIB staff member who is very supportive of the checkered eye and is trying to get the organization more involved. I contacted some of the CNIB who have been supportive in the past and connected them with this new enthusiast. We'll have to wait and see what happens with that - well, maybe with a bit of prodding here and there!
A lady in California, who wrote and published a self-help type of book about living with low vision, wants to put the checkered eye on the cover of her upcoming re-issue. We have been in discussions about that. I find that very exciting.
One of the custom orders I made this month was requested by a fellow in North Carolina who communicates with me through sign language interpreters – by phone! He uses some kind of video calling, contacts an interpretation service, they call me, and we have a discussion that way – so cool!
Lots of threads to keep pulling…
“Blog” is a shortened version of the term “web log”. To me a log is a record of what happened when. I keep a log of all checkered eye phone calls for example, containing dates, phone numbers, and details of the conversations. I’m noticing that the common use of the term log in the contemporary word blog is different. This is why I have felt like I should choose a topic that is relevant to the Checkered Eye Project (CEP) and write a little essay or article each month.
I think writing stuff like that is fine however I think I will go more toward the roots of the word blog and do a bit of simply logging what’s been going on.
Some of the entries may be brief like: All the CEP did this month was send orders, including one for a custom t-shirt bearing the checkered eye, had a few conversations with an enthusiastic supporter of the CEP who works for CNIB, and got the Mount Forest Chamber of Commerce to publish a blurb. Some might be even more brief but really exciting like: This month I was invited to a face to face meeting with the Senior Director of Health and Wellness Promotion at Loblaws Company Limited where she agreed to come up with a “communication” regarding the checkered eye and its meaning for distribution in 2016.
So, sometimes I may still write an essay. Other times I’ll record the CEP activities of the month. You never know, I may still post a photo or two.
In case you’re wondering, all of the above noted CEP activities did happen in September 2015.