A blind Whanganui High School student is on a mission to protect the shins of his classmates as well as his cane, known as Shirley.

Darcy Britton has made a video to raise awareness about his cane and the fact he can't see students who he says will too often have their heads in their phones.

"I just did the video to bring awareness that when I'm walking around the school I can't see them ... they have to look out for me a bit, so I didn't keep breaking canes.

He's on to cane number seven - they've all been called Shirley. And the video seems to have worked.


"Everybody gets out of my way now. I haven't had any more canes broken since the video.

"Their heads were in their phones ... I can't see them, they can't see me. They're just too busy looking at their phones.

The name Shirley came by as a bit of a joke between Darcy and his mentor.

"My mentor, one day she goes 'oh what's your cane's name?' I was like oh Shirley ... just thought I was being smart," Darcy said.

"Then she always said to me 'how's Shirley?' and I would say 'oh rather skinny'. She always asked me and so it just stuck."

Darcy always had restricted vision but went blind about four years ago.

"I never had full sight ... had about 40 per cent in my right eye and 10 in my left. No peripheral vision.

"They tested me for diabetes and that. I didn't have diabetes. I was almost 14 and I went blind and then they said something happened in my life and they said [I] went blind through hysterical blindness, which is trauma."


It wasn't until further tests were done and a brain tumour was found.

"I was in counselling and that ... I started getting dizzy and bloodshot eyes. When they looked at my eyes they said the cells are dead. When they took me for a head scan they said I had a tumour that was the size of a small fist and I had about four months to live."

He spent about three months in hospital after that but he's managed to live four years after the diagnosis.

Darcy said learning to get around with Shirley has been just one of the things he's had to figure out since going blind.

"Learning Braille's pretty hard .... mostly cooking because you're burning the elements ... you have to be careful around that. That's probably one of the hardest things to do."

At school he likes automotive and music. He wants to work on small motors when he's finished with school like a motorbike mechanic or a lawnmower mechanic.