Annual National Vision Health Month celebrated in Parliament

4th Annual National Vision Health Month celebrated in Parliament  with emphasis on the success of blind and partially sighted athletes


OTTAWA, May 10th, 2017 –The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth celebrated the 4th National Vision Health Month in the Parliament of Canada. This celebration is a continuation of Senator Seth’s unanimously passed Senate motion to recognize May as a month to educate Canadians about their vision health and help eliminate avoidable sight loss across the country.


National Vision Health Month is observed every May to encourage practices that save sight and that can help prevent vision loss for thousands of vulnerable Canadians. The campaign also allows parliamentarians, non-profit organizations, educators and stakeholders to organize around the month of May to inform Canadians on well-established methods of eye-disease prevention and the latest technological advances in this field. This year’s reception focused on contributions made in sport by those affected by vision loss.


The event was attended by stakeholders, advocates and supporters, who had an opportunity to mingle with Member of Parliamentarians such as the Honorable Judy Sgro, MP Rob Oliphant, Senator Anne Cools, Senator Jane Cordy, Senator Norman Doyle, Senator Yonah Martin, Senator Salma Ataullahjan, Senator Victor Oh, Senator Chantal Petitclerc and Senator Jim Munson, just to name few.


“Being diagnosed as blind or partially sighted does not mean that you have to give up on your favourite sports, or sports altogether. In fact there are many sports which have been adapted for those who are blind or partially sighted, as well as entirely new sports only open to people with a sight condition.” said the Honourable Dr. Asha Seth. “Be it in rowing, swimming, tandem cycling, goal ball or other sports, we see our Canadian athletes excel at sport, despite vision loss.”


Diane Bergeron, national director of government relations and advocacy for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, was master of ceremonies in the evening. An accomplished triathlon athlete herself, she brought along her tandem bike for guests to examine.


The keynote address was given by Dr. Victoria Nolan, Olympic gold medal winner and author of the book “Beyond Vision: The Story of a Blind Rower”. In her remarks, Dr. Nolan used both humor and emotion to eloquently express to the gathered crowd her journey first through vision loss, and on to a world renowned athlete. Her words were inspiring to all parliamentarians and stakeholders alike.


In her closing remarks, Diane Bergeron made honourable mention of Senator Chantal Petitclerc, herself an accomplished athlete, who was present at the reception; as well as Senator Jim Munson who has been a staunch supporter of CNIB activities and equality for Canadians suffering from vision loss.


The Honourable Dr. Asha Seth further mentioned preparations being made for the CNIB centenary in 2018, an organization for which she sits on the national board. “It has been an exciting year for the CNIB! With our centenary approaching in 2018, there is a buzz around the organization!” beamed Dr. Seth.


The National Vision Health Month campaign will continue throughout the month of May.