The AMI Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championship, held in Ottawa during White Cane Week, was a very successful event. We had eight team entries from coast to coast. The spirit was high and the competition was equally as strong.
Teams arrived on Saturday and Sunday relatively unscathed, even with delays due to weather or mechanical problems. On Monday we began a week of two games a day, ready for early “get-ups” and a battle for gold. On ice it was down to business and off ice a time for renewal of friendships and formation of new friends.
Once a year we get to do this — a chance to set aside our “disabilities” and get down to showing our “abilities” as a national group of individuals who are curlers. For some, the road is long and difficult, with other disabilities or medical issues slowing us down, but many would never be aware of that as we searched to do our very best and come home proud of our accomplishments.
This year the semi – finals and finals saw some new teams take part. On Thursday afternoon Team Ontario met to play for second and third positions. This was an unexpected event for Team Nova Scotia, having only started curling five years ago and the only “all women’’ team. The team was very excited to be in this position, but experience ruled and Team Ontario sailed to a fine finish. Team NS was very pleased to have the Bronze Medal.
Friday afternoon proved to be an exciting time for all spectators as well as the players, as it came down to Team Canada (Kelowna, BC) versus Team Ontario. Team Canada had won gold for the past seven years.
Both teams played very well throughout the tournament, with this game changing the dynamics of the championship by Team Ontario winning Gold and Kelowna taking home Silver. Congratulations to all players for a great week of curling!
For more information on final standings, as well as the daily draws from the week, please visit the CCB website.
The presentation of awards, banquet and most especially, the dance were highlights. It was a time to see our accomplishments and actually get down and have some fun. The band, Starfire, again was excellent. There was a lot of laughter and dancing all evening.
As National President and as a team-member I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make this possible for us. The Ottawa Curling Club, with all the staff, volunteers, and officials deserve a huge thank you for their devotion to CCB and our curlers for making another very successful event possible. We will see them again next year.
To all our coaches, guides and volunteers in each of our home areas we could not have done this without them. The coaches & guides are the back-bone that keeps us strong and moving forward. Our families and friends also need a big thank you for their continued support. And naturally our sponsors and donors provide the financial backing needed to get us to this event and to promote VI curling to the communities.
Maybe Team Nova Scotia didn’t “bring home the gold” but we are all winners in the fact that we took part in the event. We can all be proud of ourselves for our efforts. To quote a friend, “the impossible is possible”. Go forward, find others who can become interested in the sport and increase our “visibility”. See you all next year on the ice!
++White Cane Week Awards”
The President’s Award, new for 2012, was presented to Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), for their recognition as a group who makes the lives of persons with vision loss easier by providing a service such as they do. Congratulations to AMI!
….to AMI for their major part in making the curling event possible and for providing accessible TV for persons who are blind or partially sighted across Canada. Check out AMI TV for coverage of curling and other CCB events along with their regular programs.
Congratulations are also extended to Len Triffo who was awarded 2012 “Person of the Year”. Len, as we all know, has done a lot of work for CCB for many years, both in his home province of Saskatchewan, as well as in the National Mail-O-Gram tournaments. Len’s wife Charlotte has played a major role in assisting him with these events, as well as assisting countless others over many years.
Thank you to both Len & Charlotte!
++White Cane Week Local Events: Here are just a few of the highlights of local activities from across the country!
BC Division: Report from the CCB Prince George White Cane Chapter: Our Chapter had another successful year of fellowship. Our membership of thirty-three, consists of only six youngsters under seventy-five! Although this limits our activities somewhat, we do enjoy our food!!!!
We are happy to report, for this year's White Cane Week, we invited several visually impaired friends to join us at our monthly luncheon meeting, which included a guest speaker and social activities.
We especially enjoyed our speaker, Diane Quinn, an Operating Room nurse, with extensive experience in research care of the visually impaired, both within and otside the Operating Room.
At present Diane is a Clinical Coordinator for Opthomology in the Operating Room. She spoke to us on Retinal surgery, as well as all other conditions.
Following this we shared lunch, and our usual cribbage, table bowling and catching up. As a result, three of our guests joined as new members.
We have plans to have speakers at the next three monthly meetings. Of note, our 103-year-old member is not letting her macular degeneration stop her in any way. She has been using her computer to e-mail family and friends for the last several years. Go Gal Go!!!!
++Do you ever feel like your sleep patterns are different than the rest of the world? Do you sometimes feel the unwanted urge or need to fall asleep during the day time when you need to be awake? Do you also find that you feel just too wide awake to fall or stay asleep during the night time?
If you are blind, this could be due to a real sleep problem related to the lack of light needed to keep your body's internal clock in sync with the day and night cycle.
Volunteers will be compensated for their participation in the clinical study and will receive study related medication, medical evaluations, and transportation at no cost.
++CCB Ontario Division Announcement: The Ontario Division Board would like to advise everyone of the following two teleconference meetings;
March 22nd, 2012 at 7:30pm - Ontario Division Advisory Board and April 19th, 2012 at 7:30pm - an open meeting for all CCB Ontario Division chapters and clubs. Ontario Chapter members are invited to attend by dialing 1-866-351-5099 ext 229 at the proper time.
++CCB PEI Division Announcement: Congratulations to Prince County Chapter member Heidi White, who just returned home with a seeing eye dog.
Heidi’s new dog’s name is Allie and they trained together from January 16, 2012 to February 9. 2012. We hope Heidi enjoys her independence with her new dog!
++CNIB Ottawa Announcement:
Due to a change in funding and availability of volunteers, CNIB Newsline has been discontinued. CNIB Ottawa thanks their volunteers John L., John A. & James C. for their years of service.
++Access 2 Entertainment card: This card is a 2-for-1 pass sponsored by Easter Seals which allows CNIB clients and persons with disabilities to attend movie houses and other attractions throughout Canada allowing an attendant to pass free.
There is a $20 fee for this card and it is good for 5 years. To apply for the card, forms can be taken off their website at: www.access2.ca
Lori Fry is very pleased to announce that she has accepted the role as Representative for the Blind in Canada with Ice Halo, the Canadian owned and manufacturer of the innovative head band protection for sports or pleasure.
Lori have been granted the authority to offer Ice Halos to all vision impaired curlers in Canada at the wholesale rate of $27.50 for Micro Fleece and $35.00 for furs. It will be necessary to mention the name "Lori Fry - Please provide a discount" as well as "name of organization affiliation and province" in the comments section of the order form when placing an online order and Ice Halo will implement the discount.
Many thanks to Barbara Armstrong, President Ice Halo for such strong support to the visually impaired and blind community of Canada.
Kindly pass on this information to as many individuals as possible under the Bcc line in order to spread the news. Furthermore, Lori would appreciate receiving from all of you, the contact information for any blind curling association or affiliation to blind curling in order that she may contact them directly.
You may also fund the Ice Halo link posted on the CCB National website www.ccbnational.net.
In the News
++Triffo honoured for five decades of service:
Every Saturday, you'll find Len Triffo launching bowling balls at Golden Mile Bowling Lanes.
President of the Regina chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), Triffo has been part of the local blind bowling league for 50 years.
That's the same amount of time he has been involved with the CCB, where he's held seats on the local, provincial and national levels, including nine terms as its national recreation director.
Those decades of hard work have paid off, with Triffo being named as the 2012 White Cane Week Person of the Year.
"It's great, but I don't know why they picked me above everyone else in Canada," he said.
"I just like being able to help people, to help the blind."
While he wasn't bowling at Monday's Media Bowling Challenge - preferring instead to talk to people as the pins toppled in the lanes behind him – Triffo was happy to talk about why he got involved in the sport. "I started when I was young, to get a little exercise and have some fun," he said.
"It's always a challenge, because you want to beat yourself every time.”I'm not a good bowler anymore though, not like I used to be,
with my eyesight getting dimmer all the time."
The blind bowling league isn't the only social event for the visually impaired in Regina.
"There's always something coming along," he said. "There's cribbage, curling and things like dinner meetings, and when people come and ask, I give them information about how to find all that entertainment."
Triffo's wife, Charlotte, also received a shout-out from the CCB, and Triffo says she's his right-hand woman. "She does all the reading and whenever I need to go to meetings she's there to drive me and bring me home," he remarked. "I've been a part of the national board for 18 years and we've travelled across Canada. She's always there by my side."
The bowling event Monday was part of White Cane Week, which takes place each year.
"If you're newly blind, it's a great way to meet people," said Jan Parsons, CCB bowling co-coordinator. "It's also great for kids, because it's not a contact sport but it's a lot of fun."
BY EMMA GRANEY, LEADER-POST FEBRUARY 7, 2012
++White canes are a vital aid for the visually impaired: Friendly help from strangers is a pleasant surprise for Carrie Speers as she finds her way with a white cane. "Some people are so helpful, they go out of their way and it's just so heartwarming," the Kitchener woman said.
But she's also been surprised by people who are annoyed or yell when she accidentally bumps into them, even after explaining her limited vision. Some people avoid her.
"They've actually gone completely around," Carrie said. "It's almost like they feel the white cane is contagious."
February 5 to 11 is White Cane Week, an annual awareness campaign of the Canadian Council of the Blind. "It's important that people know people with white canes have vision issues," Carrie said. "There are a lot of people who do not realize what the white cane is for."
Not all people who use white canes are blind. Many are visually impaired from a variety of common eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
Both Carrie and her husband Gary Speers have some sight and both rely on white canes to navigate the community. Optic nerve damage, likely caused by a medication, caused Carrie's vision loss. First went her ability to see colour, then her sight became blurry and limited to a few feet.
Carrie, 52, also uses a special scope to focus on what's around her. A magnifying glass is always tucked in her pocket, as well as Gary's, for a quick close-up look at something, like when they're in a store.
Gary, 60, has tunnel vision from glaucoma and has been legally blind for about half his life.
Along with using a white cane to alert them to objects and changes in the walking surface in front of them, the couple has learned ways to stay safe when they're out.
Carrie tries to stay on the left-hand side of the sidewalk because her vision is especially limited in that eye and people walking past can startle her because she doesn't see them coming.
When out together, they walk side-by-side to widen the area covered by their white canes. They avoid being out at night because the dark further limits their vision and also makes it harder for pedestrians and motorists to see them.
Even with a white cane, there's little warning when something moves quickly in their path, like a runner or cyclist.
"If you see a white cane, slow down," Gary said. He appreciates it when people offer to help, such as helping across the street, pointing out the light has changed at an intersection or that the sidewalk suddenly ends. Often Gary asks for assistance in a store to find the items he needs.
Sometimes people trying to be helpful may not realize their directions need to be more specific, rather than just saying 'go this way.'
Carrie encourages people to be courteous when they see a white cane knowing that's a sign that the person holding it has limited vision.
The purpose of the white cane is to let people know." By Johanna Weidner, The Guelph Mercury
++Blind man sets new world record by reaching South Pole:
A legally blind MBA graduate of the Haas Graduate School of Business at UC Berkeley has set a new world record by becoming the first visually impaired person to trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
Alan Lock completed the nearly 600 mile trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole to raise awareness and money for the development charity, Sightsavers.
During the 39-day trek this British amateur explorer faced howling arctic winds, snow white outs, freezing temperatures as low as -31°F, sunlight for 24 hours a day and a diet consisting of dehydrated food packs and chunks of butter. Trekking on skis across a distance equivalent to 21 marathons, Alan dragged a sled weighing 130 pounds harnessed to his waist and all with severely limited vision.
The 31-year-old explorer suffers from a condition called macular degeneration, which was diagnosed whilst he was training for a career as an engineer and officer in the British Royal Navy in 2003.
In the course of six weeks, Alan’s vision deteriorated to the point where he felt he was looking at the world through frosted glass. Eight years on and now working in telecoms Alan’s central vision is gone.
By completing one of the world’s toughest mental and physical challenges Alan hopes he has shown that, despite his visual impairment, he can take on significant feats and raise awareness at the same time for his chosen charity, Sightsavers.
Speaking from the South Pole, Alan Lock said: "It feels amazing to have made it to the South Pole, what an adventure. The high point is having the opportunity to make this expedition in the first place. Reaching the pole, having been only one of a handful of people to have ever walked here, is a fantastic experience. There have been difficulties with the terrain but this has all been made possible for me by my great team members.”
“Having such a personal experience of the impact of visual impairment, I am incredibly passionate about supporting the vital, but often neglected, area of avoidable blindness so it has been wonderful to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.”
Joining Alan on the trek, Polar Vision, which started on November 22, 2011 were his two sighted team mates Andrew Jensen and Richard Smith. They met while studying for an MBA in the US. Helping the team complete this physical and mental challenge has been guide Hannah McKean who has now made the trek five times - more than anyone else in the world.
Despite intense training which included a training camp in Iqaluit, Canada where they spent a week traversing the ice pack near the Arctic Circle on skis, and dragging tires attached to their waists along beaches and parks in the UK to develop the muscles needed to pull the sleds, nothing could have fully prepared them for the challenge they faced in Antarctica said Alan. “Trekking for over nine hours each day we have been losing up to 9,000 calories a day. We’ve also suffered many falls and bruises whilst trekking across the rough terrain as there are many big drops and jumps which I’ve relied on my teammates to guide me through.”
This is not the first challenge that Alan has taken on since losing his vision. Alan has competed in 10 marathons including the 151 mile Marathon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert. He has been to a number of mountain summits including the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Elbrus, and in 2008 Alan set a Guiness World Record when he became the first visually impaired person to row across the Atlantic Ocean.
++Brian McKeever earns first gold with new guide
Brian McKeever has won plenty of IPC World Cup gold medals over his career, but Sunday's win was his first with guide Erik Carleton.
The childhood friends teamed up to win the men's 10-kilometre classic cross-country ski race in Sjusjoen, Norway.
McKeever's had success with his brother Robin as a guide in visually impaired races in the past, but began working with Carleton when Robin was injured last year. After winning three straight silver medals to open the meet in Sjusjoen, the pair finally reached the top step of the podium Sunday.
"We have trained more than 800 hours this year, which is right up there with able-bodied skiers," said McKeever, of Canmore, Alta. "Winning isn't easy as we saw this week (finishing second three times in a row), so we have to keep working hard because it hasn't been enough so far."
McKeever and Carleton, from Calgary, finished in 27 minutes 38.2 seconds.
Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarev of Russia skied to the silver medal at 28:50.6, while teammates Stanislav Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov earned bronze with a time of 29:39.9.
++Scroogle Scraper--a more accessible Google interface: This is an accessible Google interface that seems to work well without lots of the superfluous Google clutter:
++Accessible Social Networking: Inclusive Planet is more than just a website for the visually impaired. They are a social networking community who seek to support one another by sharing resources and best practices. To sign up and learn more go to: http://www.inclusiveplanet.com
++Add VoiceOver to iPad 2: If you're visually impaired, you can add VoiceOver to your iPad. When you have trouble seeing what's onscreen, VoiceOver can read the names of screen elements and settings to you.
VoiceOver also changes the way you provide input to the iPad.
In Notes, for example, you can have VoiceOver read the name of the Notes buttons to you and, when you enter notes, read words or characters you've entered.
VoiceOver can also tell you whether features such as AutoCorrect are on.
Turn VoiceOver on your iPad 2:
Turn on VoiceOver when you need its help to figure out what's on-screen.
To turn on this feature, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen. Tap General and then Accessibility.
The Accessibility options appear.
Tap the VoiceOver button.
The VoiceOver options appear.
Tap the VoiceOver On/Off button at the top to turn on this feature.
You see a reminder that VoiceOver changes gestures that you use to interact with the iPad.
Tap OK once to select the button, and then tap OK twice to proceed.
Tap the VoiceOver Practice button to select it, and then double-tap the button to open VoiceOver.
With VoiceOver on you must first single-tap to select an item such as a button, which causes VoiceOver to read the name of the button to you.
Then you double-tap the button to activate its function.
When you're done practicing, tap the Done button and then double-tap it to return to the VoiceOver options.
Tap the Speak Hints field to turn that feature on.
With Speak Hints, VoiceOver speaks the name of the item when you tap it.
This is helpful when you first use VoiceOver, but may become annoying.)
Tap the Home button.
You're returned to the Home screen.
Use VoiceOver on an iPad 2
After VoiceOver is turned on, you need to figure out how to use it.
Tap an item to select it.
VoiceOver then speaks its name
Double-tap the selected item.
This action activates the item
Flick three fingers.
It takes three fingers to scroll around a page with VoiceOver turned on
-Flick right or left. : Select the next or preceding item
Tap with two fingers.: Stop speaking the current item
-Flick two fingers up.: Read everything from the top of the screen
-Flick two fingers down.: Read everything from the current position
-Flick three fingers up or down.: Scroll one page at a time
-Flick three fingers right or left.: Go to the next or preceding page
-Flick four fingers right or left.: Go to the next or preceding section (as on a web page)
If tapping with two or three fingers seems difficult for you, try tapping with one finger from one hand and one or two from the other. When double- or triple-tapping, perform these gestures as quickly as you can for them to work.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!
“May there always be gold at the end of your rainbow!”