Auckland, 9 September – The Blind Foundation is seeking volunteers to support this year’s Blind Week street collection on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 October. Volunteers play a crucial role in raising funds needed to provide practical and emotional support for New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision.
Liz Anstice, of Invercargill, is this year marking five years volunteering for the cause and she appreciates the significance of Blind Week for many. A Blind Foundation client herself, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) nine years ago in her thirties and admits she never expected to go blind. “No-one knows what it’s like until they have gone through it. The first couple of years are tough but having the staff and the support of the Blind Foundation around you makes all the difference. Once you learn how to use a white cane, how to use voice over and technology, how to do everyday living with a vision impairment, then you just get on with living your life.”
Liz explains Blind Week is important for highlighting how people who are blind or have low vision can live independently. Employed in a busy kitchen, she says she got “the keys” to her independence from the Blind Foundation, which taught her the skills she needed to adjust to living with sight loss.
This year’s street collection will also mark the first in the charity’s new name: Blind & Low Vision NZ. By retaining ‘blind’ at its core and adding in ‘low vision’ the new name more clearly conveys that support is available for everyone whose lives are affected by sight loss. Street collection volunteers will this year be wearing bright orange bibs and collection buckets with the new Blind & Low Vision NZ logo, accompanied by ‘formerly Blind Foundation’ to help people recognise the organisation being represented during this transition time.
Liz says: “We really appreciate your support, for those that give their time or money throughout the country. This is an important cause. It’s important to get your eyes checked regularly so you can prevent blindness, but if its unavoidable and you lose your sight you are going to want some support.”
To volunteer a few hours for Blind Week, visit: blindweek.org.nz or call 0800 787 743