Insight E-Newsletter - November 2012

Welcome to the November edition of “Insight”! This month, we celebrate World Diabetes Day and discover what it means for Canadians. Next, get into the holiday spirit with CNIB’s holiday wreath campaign and learn more on how you can help support Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Finally, in honour of Remembrance Day, CNIB recognizes a very special veteran. As always, we welcome your feedback at insight@cnib.ca.



What World Diabetes Day means to Canadians with vision loss

Image of WDD logoWorld Diabetes Day marks an important moment in Canadian history. It’s celebrated on November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who, along with Drs. Charles Best, J.J. Macleod and James Bertram Collip co-discovered insulin. World Diabetes Day was created in response to concern over the escalating incidence of diabetes around the world. It is a global event, bringing together millions of people in 160 countries to raise awareness of diabetes, including children and adults affected by diabetes, healthcare professionals, decision-makers and the media.  

It’s been just over 90 years since the discovery of insulin. Canada is proud to have given the gift of insulin to the world and to celebrate this incredible innovation, but few know the serious vision loss that diabetics diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy experience.

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that affects 500,000 Canadians and can lead to vision loss if their diabetes is not managed properly through consistent glucose level monitoring, exercise, early detection and treatment.

“Prevention of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, requires a two-fold approach: control of diabetes by controlling blood sugar, coupled with regular eye examinations to allow early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy,” says CNIB’s Dr. Keith Gordon, Vice President, Research.

CNIB offers a suite of resources to educate people on diabetic retinopathy and to help them get started on the right track to managing their diabetes and maintaining better vision health. Part of that involves getting your eyes checked regularly.

“On this day of diabetes awareness, CNIB is asking people with diabetes to remember that they need to take care of their eyes and have a complete eye examination by an eye doctor,” says Dr. Keith Gordon. 

Visit CNIB’s Eye Connect website for helpful tips and information on diabetic retinopathy and how you can help give Canadians living with vision loss the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.  You can also download a free copy of “Your Guide to Diabetic Retinopathy​.”

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Spread hope this holiday season 
CNIB celebrates its eighth annual holiday wreath campaign

Image of holiday wreath

With the month of holiday cheer fast approaching, soon it will be time to deck the halls, hang the mistletoe and enjoy festivities with family and friends. This year, make your home inviting and help CNIB celebrate its eighth annual wreath campaign by hanging a CNIB holiday wreath on your door. Celebrate the holidays and spread hope this holiday season by getting a holiday wreath today!

“The holiday wreath campaign always puts me in the holiday spirit,” says Steve Lutz, Vice President of Fund Development at CNIB. “Seeing how our community rallies together for this campaign makes me see the true power of people coming together to support a good cause.”

Every holiday season, CNIB staff and volunteers are out in the community, promoting the limited-time sale of beautiful holiday wreaths to support our rehabilitation services for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. It has become a crucial source of funding for CNIB well into the new year, with Canadians across the country taking part. 

“People just love the wreaths so much, which is why I think it has grown into such a national event,” says Steve Lutz. “They’re so happy with the quality of the one they buy for themselves, that they end up buying more as presents for their friends and colleagues.”

DeLong Farms in Nova Scotia crafts each CNIB holiday wreath with fresh balsam fir trimmings, natural pine cones and holly berry clusters topped with a weatherproof red velvet, gold-backed bow. 

Included is an optional free gift card that buyers can personalize with their own message for the recipient. The $45 cost of the wreath not only includes taxes, but also delivery to Canada's 10 provinces and the continental United States.

What’s more, proceeds from all wreath sales go directly to vital services for Canadians of all ages who are blind or partially sighted – services like emotional counseling and the CNIB Library and independent living services, which empower Canadians with the skills to do everyday activities like travelling and cooking after loss of sight.

“Buying a wreath really is spreading hope and change in our clients’ lives,” says Steve Lutz. “So every single wreath you buy is going to make a difference.”

The last date for purchasing a wreath is December 7, 2012, so get yours today! To order your wreath now, visit cnib.ca/wreaths.

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A real Canadian hero
Seeing the world and seeing beyond vision loss

Image of Charles Goodman

At 86 years old, veteran Charles “Chic” Goodman has seen the world and he doesn’t let vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) keep him from seeing as much of it as he wants to. 

It all started in 1941, when Charles joined the Signal Corps in St. John’s N.B. at 15 years old, and learned to use Morse code before joining the St. John’s Fusiliers a year later. 

“We guarded Pat Bay Airport [in B.C.] until I joined the reinforcements to fight in France,” he says.  

Shrapnel from a large shell injured him in Holland (fighting the Germans who were keeping the Allied navy at bay) and he was hospitalized for two weeks.

He volunteered as a commissioned officer and was sent to the Royal 22nd Regiment, sent to the front line of the Korean War before being promoted to second lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion. 

Charles was promoted to the rank of major before finally retiring in 1975 to start his own scuba diving business in Sidney, B.C., becoming the first national director of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

Three years ago, a sudden black spot in the central vision of his left eye was diagnosed as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Since it was the wet form of AMD, his vision loss progressed rapidly, affecting his ability to read and see people’s faces with both eyes. 

Through the help of CNIB, Charles received special adjustable eyeglass lenses for watching television and a mobility specialist from CNIB came to his home to provide him with an identity cane to help him continue to pursue his love of travel. 

CNIB offers Canada’s largest array of products specially designed to make life with vision loss easier – like magnifiers, talking watches and large-button tools. For veterans, the costs of these products are covered by Veterans Affairs Canada.

“I was reluctant at first, but boy, did it work,” he says, adding that products like the white cane make him feel more confident about travelling. 

Not one to rest on his laurels, Charles visited British Columbia’s Powell River, Half Moon Bay and the Harrison Hot Springs soon after, proving that his vision loss has not prevented him from enjoying more of his beloved Canada. 

Charles’s next trip was to the podium – he was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal this year in recognition of his lifetime achievements as a Canadian.

For more information about CNIB and Veterans Affairs Canada visit cnib.ca/veterans.
To browse our selection of helpful products, visit cnib.ca/shop​

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Shop CNIB

Photo of LED lamp and flashlight

Energy-efficient daylight LED lamp and flashlight, $59.95

This daylight LED lamp is perfect for brightly illuminating documents, family photos or dim areas for easy viewing via a clean energy-efficient source of light. LEDs use 80 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs and offer a brilliant source of illumination.  

The perfect gift for busy, on-the-go families, this LED lamp and flashlight features a two-in-one design that is lightweight and portable. 

While it’s powered by 28 individual LEDs when used as a lamp, the flashlight is illuminated by only six for those smaller jobs. The multi-purpose device provides up to six hours of brilliant, full-spectrum light ideal for recreation, travel and emergency situations. Requires AAA batteries (not included). 

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Image of a woman reading brailleImagine if the joy of reading was taken from you . . .

Many of us know the comforting feeling of curling up with a good book on a rainy day and entering into someone else’s world for a period of time. Sadly, more than three million Canadians are unable to read print because of vision loss. And yet, less than five percent of published materials in Canada are available in alternative formats like audio and braille. Your monthly support isn’t just about purchasing reading materials. It’s about improving lives and giving Canadians who are blind or partially sighted the joy of reading and lifelong learning. Let them into the wonderful world of reading: Reading Partner​ today. 

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