Spearfish author shares personal story of White Cane Awareness
Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed October 15 as White Cane Day in South Dakota. A Spearfish man made this topic into a children book titled "Grandpa's White Cane."
SPEARFISH, S.D. — The white cane with the red band around the bottom is used to identify a person who is blind or visually impaired.
A few years ago, Jim Hoxie, began sharing his story about being visually impaired with Spearfish elementary students. He was inspired to also write a book to go along with his education – titled “Grandpa’s White Cane.”
Jim, who is the grandpa in the book, uses a white cane to guide him on daily walks along Spearfish Creek.
He wanted to bring public awareness and to recognize the white cane as a tool of independence for blind pedestrians on our streets and in our communities.
Jim Hoxie, Author, says, “It’s crucial for me that the public knows what that white cane is.”
Jim who was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2001 is legally blind but has some vision.
In the book, he shares his story of being in an altered world and and how he gained back his confidence and independence.
White Cane Day serves as a reminder to motorists of the requirement to stop for anyone using a white cane or walking with the assistance of a guide dog so the individual can safely cross the street.
Jim says, “I use a white cane in crossing streets at lights- that’s how I cross. I’m not looking for the lights- I’m using the white cane so that the public knows that I am blind, and I’m listening and when the traffic stops, I cross.”
Jim wrote the book along with co-author Joanna Jones to educate readers of all ages.
“So it’s for everybody, I think that every person can really learn something from it,” says Jim.
Joanna Jones, Co-Author, says, “When we were researching whether or not this was a good idea to write to book, there has not been a children’s book about a white cane for 30 years, so this is then a really good piece to bring before the public at this time.”
Jim says he appreciates how others in the community interact with him as a visually impaired person while on the sidewalks and trails.
The Spearfish Lions Club helped to publish the book to get in the hands of the Creekside Elementary School students in Spearfish.
“Grandpa’s White Cane” is currently available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle readers.
Alex Portal is the illustrator.