Despite some earlier criticism, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s Kelowna Wine’ing’ in the Dark fundraiser is being hailed as a huge success.
The event was organized by the local Kelowna office of the CNIB and was the first of its kind in the Okanagan.
The CNIB says it raised awareness about vision loss and how CNIB Kelowna provides many services to those who are blind or partially sighted in the Southern Interior.
The event was well attended, and raised just under $13,000 and featured tastings from five local wineries.
Earlier this year several members of the blind community complained the event was disrespectful to those living with sight issues, however the group said it was a legitimate fundraiser that would help the organization support those who have issues.
At the event, the CNIB said some people decided to sample wines with a blind fold on for a new experience.
It made them really focus on the tastes and smell of the wines. To add a little extra fun to the evening, each winery asked skill testing questions about the wine.
If the answer was correct people received a ticket for a draw for a case of wine from Meyer Family Vineyards.
Several clients of CNIB attended the event, along with local eye doctors and eye care professionals.
One of the most moving speakers of the event was one of CNIB client Rose-Anne Lyons.
She was in a boating accident in Kelowna July 1, 2008. Among her injuries was the loss of her peripheral vision, leaving her with pinpoint vision.
She uses the services of CNIB Kelowna to learn how to travel independently and safely with her guide dog Margie. Lyons told the crowd she is grateful to the CNIB for its rehabilitative services as well and the emotional support the organization and its staff provides.
She especially singled out CNIB Kelowna staff member Lorena Ordonez who is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist.
CNIB is the primary provider of vision rehabilitation services for Canadians living with blindness or partial sight.
There are 24,000 clients of CNIB across B.C. Here in the Okanagan and Southern Interior, more than 38-hundred people with vision loss came to CNIB last year.
And the numbers keep growing. It’s expected the client base in the Southern Interior will grow by about 100 new clients each year.