Over 4 million Americans experience severe vision loss and blindness, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), puts a $51.4B burden on our annual economy. And with statistics that show out of three Americans with diabetes experiencing signs of diabetic retinopathy — now the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults — the negative impact felt by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the surface many of the challenges to inclusion and opportunity for many individuals experiencing blindness.
The driving force behind the social and economic burden of blindness is the onset of additional debilitating conditions, morbidity, and lost productivity. Collectively, these forces stand in the way of inclusion and independence, deeply weaving their way into the physical, psychological, and social fabric of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. As these harmful barriers assume an even greater impact amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has recognized the potential to elevate a national campaign focused on health and well-being.
Tony Stephens, ACB’s Director of Development and Communications team, shared that “the more we engage individuals most at risk, the better we can create a pathway to empowerment the more they can play a leadership role toward securing full and equal inclusion and independence in our society”.
The campaign aims to increase physical well-being by undertaking a health and wellness campaign entitled “Get Up & Get Moving,” bringing together partners from the public and private sectors to create opportunities for physical activity through safe peer-to-peer and social events, leveraging technology, when possible, to make mobility easy.
ACB’s Campaign committee chair Tom Tobin, affirms that “the more we get up and get moving, the more we can come together and take back our health, showing the world that we can break down the barriers to independence when empowered with the right knowledge, tools, and desire.”
The last 19 months is a powerful indicator of how a diminished physical, emotional, and social lifestyle can place a heavy weight on health and wellness. Now is the time we must drive a national campaign that gets Americans who are blind and visually impaired up and moving.
The 2021 Get up and Get Moving kick-off event will be on White Cane Day October 15th! Stay tuned for more information.
ACB Health and Wellness Podcasts: https://www.acbmedia.org/category/acb-health-wellness/
Get Up & Get Moving Kick-off: https://acb.org/get-and-get-moving-saturday-july-17
History of the Get Up & Get Moving: https://acb.org/get-moving-campaign-out-isolation-full-inclusion-independence