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Via Rail Canada logo.

Via Rail Canada

Founded in 1977, VIA Rail Canada connects and unites cities and people by offering passenger rail services from coast to coast to coast. Every day, VIA Rail Canada strives to provide a safe, accessible, efficient, reliable, and sustainable travel experience that meets the needs of Canadian passengers.
Lynn Kennedy poses for a photo in front of a book shelf. A yellow graphic of hands holding a white heart outlined in black in the bottom left corner

Meet Lynn – Book Club Facilitator

Everyone loves a good page turner, including Lynn Kennedy, who wanted to share her love of reading with others. In 2020, she started volunteering as a book club facilitator.

“CNIB has been a great source of support for my son, and I’m very grateful,” says Lynn. “I’ve taken a keen interest in learning how CNIB helps people with sight loss and the various programs that are available.”
A photograph of Louise Burley smiling and holding a microphone in her left hand. A yellow graphic of hands holding a white heart outlined in black in the top right corner.

Meet Louise – Coffee Chat Facilitator

Louise became a CNIB volunteer in March 2020 to provide support for people who are blind or partially sighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was a time of great need and total isolation for all of us. I wanted to give back to my community as someone with sight loss,” says Louise. “Using the Zoom platform regularly provided us with a feeling of connection. It also boosted our confidence with using the technology.” 
A picture of Louis Levesque standing in front The Château Frontenac. A yellow graphic of hands holding a white heart outlined in black in the bottom left corner.

Meet Louis – Peer Support Group Facilitator

After losing his vision suddenly in 2011, Quebec City’s Louis Levesque began to volunteer as a peer support group facilitator.

“When I lost my vision, I could no longer do my job,” says Louis. “At 55, I was too young to be idle, so it seemed like a natural fit to help those who were facing the same challenges as me.”

With an incredible amount of empathy, Louis is committed to creating safe spaces that welcome the most difficult conversations related to sight loss.
A photo of Emer Ferguson smiling. A yellow graphic of hands holding a white heart outlined in black in the top right corner.

Meet Emer – Cooking Club Facilitator

Kitchener-Waterloo's Emer Ferguson volunteers as a cooking club facilitator. As someone with sight, she has learned a lot from people who are blind or partially sighted.

“Whether it’s using an Instant Pot, a slow cooker or setting aside more time for cooking, they’ve taught me that anything is possible in the kitchen,” says Emer.
Photo of Betty Nobel smiling. A yellow graphic of hands holding a white heart outlined in black in the top right corner.

Meet Betty – CNIB Tech Mate

As a CNIB Tech Mate, Vancouver’s Betty Nobel volunteers to help put the latest tech knowledge at people’s fingertips.

“People need to have hope that they can carry on living independent lives after losing their vision,” says Betty. “CNIB has played a big part in my journey to independence since birth, so I have always wanted to give back.”
Peter and his wife Denise pose for a photograph at the bus entrance. Both are wearing t-shirts that say, "If they can't get there, they can't benefit."

Lion Peter Best: Smashing Transportation Barriers

For many campers, transportation poses a significant barrier to visiting CNIB Lake Joe. With the support of Lions Clubs and dedicated Lion Peter Best, campers from southwestern Ontario have travelled safely and comfortably to Lake Joe on "Peter’s Bus" since 1989.

“In the late ‘80s, I noticed many people with sight loss from the Windsor area were not able to get to CNIB Lake Joe,” says Lion Peter from the Windsor Downtown Lions Club. “It seemed like the people who were least able to travel were those who could benefit the most from CNIB Lake Joe.” 
Jason Mitschele and Dwayne King are standing together at a CIBC Run for the Cure event.

What’s YOUR Mountain? Team Limitless encourages kids to live without limits

Jason Mitschele always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He used to live in Africa and knew others who had made the assent. Blind from birth, Jason thought climbing was a lofty dream, but he is not the kind of guy to hold back. 

As a Federal Crown Prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Jason reached out to his friend Dwyane King, a past police officer and special investigator with Toronto Police Service, to ask if he would be his sighted guide. 

Dwayne laughed, thinking Jason was joking, but a week or two later said, “I’m in.”

“Initially, it was just the two of us with a plan to climb in 2018 or 2019,” explains Jason. “Then someone suggested we fundraise to create awareness too. We created an account called ‘Team Limitless.’”
A photograph of Mark wearing a Mount Royal University hoodie.

How CNIB Scholarships helped support my post-secondary education

By: Mark Rawleigh

Throughout my post-secondary studies at Mount Royal University, I was the lucky recipient of three scholarships from CNIB – totalling nearly $5,000 over five and a half years.  
Cerenna-tee Racey standing in front of the Wellness Centre wearing a grey CNIB Lake Joe sweater, smiling.

Creating a Sensation: Cerenna-tee Racey

“It was overwhelming but in a good way,” says Cerenna-tee Racey when reflecting on her first visit to CNIB Lake Joe at the age of nine. 

“At that time, I was in mainstream public school system and didn’t know a lot of partially sighted kids. At Lake Joe, I met other kids my age, and we did new things together, like wakeboarding. I actually did it…and it was exhilarating!” says Cerenna-tee. “I was excited to meet other kids who had similar struggles. We were able to learn from each other. And on Family Weeks, the parents were also partially sighted or blind. It was important to see adults with a similar diagnosis to me functioning well and continuing with their lives.”