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WCB Article 91327035Matt Brandt of Darlington, Wisconsin, was 40 years old when his vision really started to diminish.  He was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy—a result of having Diabetes.  “I did well for a few years.  I could still drive and walk around places, but I got to a point where my vision diminished so much that I could no longer drive, and I couldn’t read road signs clearly.”

Matt eventually lost all his vision but not his desire to remain active and travel safely.  “So many car engines are quiet these days.  I wanted drivers to recognize that I’m legally blind, so I decided to request a cane from the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired.  Now, I would feel lost without it.”

In order to make the most of his white cane usage, Matt completed orientation and mobility training.  The training, he said, “was priceless.  It was great for falls prevention, negotiating street crossing, and becoming much more aware of my surroundings.”

Reflecting on other benefits of using a white cane, Matt remarked, “My cane has become an extension of my hand.  Now, I see with my hands.”  He believes that his white cane has “opened doors to conversation I would never had had, and given me the opportunity to teach others that just because I’m blind, it doesn’t mean I can’t do the things I want.  I just may do things differently or at a slower pace.”

“For me,” Matt says, “a white cane has attracted people in a positive way, kept me safe and independent, and helped me get respect.”