Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Hillsborough

Tampa’s White Cane Awareness Day walk a reminder to motorists

Friday’s annual walk is to raise awareness of visually-impaired pedestrians carrying the white cane, a tool that helps them navigate around obstacles.
Sighted and visually impaired walkers participate in the White Cane Walk in 2017, to remind motorists to use caution around and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians carrying the white cane, a tool that helps them navigate around obstacles in their path. [Courtesy of Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind]
Published Oct. 10

TAMPA — If it is too hot Friday, Christine Scourtes said she may turn around early, but she does plan to join scores of people from the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind in the annual White Cane Awareness Day walk.

Scourtes, who turns 95 next week, has coped for 10 years with macular degeneration, which has greatly impaired her vision. She goes to a water aerobics workout four or five days a week and spends a lot of time out with friends, shopping, attending church meetings, going to lunch. She said she might not be on the go quite so much if she could still see to read, a favorite pastime.

“It affects every facet of your life,’’ she said.

Christine Scourtes, 94, said she plans to join scores of people from the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind in the annual White Cane Awareness Day walk. She has coped for 10 years with macular degeneration. [Courtesy of Mary D. Greacen]

While she doesn’t use a white cane or a guide dog, she wants to join in on the walk along Platt Street, Willow Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard Friday to show support for the cause. She said the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind has helped her immensely.

“They teach you how to live independently, how to cut meat, use the microwave and stove — they teach you how to take care of yourself without having to have a keeper,’’ she said.

At about 12:15, about 100 visually impaired people are expected to take part in the White Cane Awareness Day walk, an event that is officially recognized nationally on Oct. 15. Its purpose is to remind motorists to use caution around and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians carrying the white cane, a tool that helps them navigate around obstacles in their path.

They will leave from the Lighthouse, 1106 W. Platt St., and walk on the sidewalk west to Willow Avenue, where they will turn north and continue under the Selmon Expressway and across Cleveland Street to Kennedy Boulevard. They will turn right and gather at the fire station nearby, where they will continue to hoist signs for passing motorists before returning by the same route to the Lighthouse.

Sheryl Brown, longtime executive director of the Lighthouse for the Blind, said that current and former clients have been invited to participate. They’ll first be treated to a hot dog and hamburger cookout at the Lighthouse starting at 11 a.m. After the walk, they will return for an ice cream party. About 20 volunteers will be on hand to help, and the Tampa Police Department bicycle squad will be along to protect the procession.

Scourtes said that while the shots she takes every six weeks will not restore her eyesight, they do slow the progression of vision loss so that it doesn’t seem that different from month to month.

“I still live in a world that’s all blurry,’’ she said, “but at least I can see to walk.’’

Oct. 15 was declared White Cane Awareness Day by a joint resolution of Congress, at the urging of the National Federation of the Blind, in 1964.





ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Philanthropist David Straz Jr. and his wife Catherine celebrate in March after he advanced into the Tampa mayoral run-off election. Mr. Straz has died at the age of 77. TAILYR IRVINE  |  Times
    The former mayoral candidate who lost to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor earlier this year, died Monday while on a fishing trip in Homosassa. His name, and legacy, are integral to Tampa.
  2. Jimi Hendrix fan Chase Corley worked to raise money online for a historical marker honoring his guitar idol. GoFundMe.com
    The historical marker is the first in the Tampa area to honor a musician. Credit the man who founded the UT guitar club.
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The teens were waiting for a HART bus when they were struck by a vehicle involved in a chain-reaction crash, police said.
  4. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. To sort through your options, visit the Times' Medicare guide at tampabay.com/news/health or contact Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a state program commonly known as SHINE. Contact them at 1-800-963-5337 or information@elderaffairs.org. MICHELE MILLER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    About 9 million people with Medicare Part D plans will see higher premiums if they don’t make a change before Dec. 7, a new study says.
  5. The Jackson House in downtown Tampa in February. The historic building was a rooming home for African Americans including celebrities during the segregation era. On Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik announced a $1 million gift toward its preservation. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The gift from the Tampa Bay Lightning owner and his wife will help preserve the African American landmark in Tampa.
  6. Much work has been completed on the Selmon Extension project, but we still have a way to go before the construction and ongoing detours on Gandy Boulevard end by the projected fall 2020 completion date. MONIQUE WELCH  |  Monique Welch | Times
    The ongoing project along Gandy Boulevard began in February but still has a lot of work left before its projected fall 2020 completion date.
  7. In this file photo, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is announcing arrests in a sting operation that targeted unlicensed contractors. [Times (2018)]
    Monday morning, Sheriff Chad Chronister will announce the results.
  8. Hillsborough County deputies are seeking a man and woman suspected of using a stolen credit card. They are shown here in screenshots taken from surveillance video at a Walmart in Seffner, one of six stores where the credit card was used. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Surveillance video shows two people leaving a Walmart in Seffner with a shopping cart full of merchandise.
  9. Sally Carlson of Seminole talks to her newly adopted 5-year-old miniature poodle held by Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center volunteer Mary Claire Streator. Potential owners browsed some of the 300 puppies that were put up for adoption Sunday in the gymnasium at All People's Life Center in Tampa. The designer-breed dogs had been rescued from Trish's All Breeds Pet Grooming in Tampa, where they were found sick and malnourished. Prospective owners were chosen out of thousands who applied during a lottery-type system and were able pick out a dog. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The animals were found in deplorable conditions at a grooming business in September. Their new owners had 15 minutes to make a selection.
  10. For the latest news and information, go to tampabay.com. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating. No arrests have been made.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement