The Low Vision Shop Deepens Its Mission to The Sight Loss Community


Bari Azman, Founding Partner

The Low Vision Shop Deepens Its Mission to Nurture and Engage With the Sight-Loss Community by Celebrating the Resilience, Success, and Advocacy of Blind Skateboarder Justin Bishop, Track and Field Paralympian Lex Gillette, and Blind Poet Dave Steele

Bari Azman, cofounder of The Low Vision Shop, welcomes the Blind Skateboarder Justin Bishop, track and field Paralympian Lex Gillette, and the Blind Poet Dave Steele to The Low Vision Shop family as they embark on a collaboration to share their remarkable sight-loss journeys.

TIMONIUM, Md. – Jan. 13, 2022: Known as “America’s Low Vision Destination,” The Low Vision Shop deepens its mission to grow the sight-loss community by celebrating the remarkable talent and achievement of three outstanding advocates—Justin Bishop, the Blind Skateboarder; Lex Gillette, track and field Paralympian; and Dave Steele, the Blind Poet. Each of these champions forged a path of excellence while living with sight loss and they are eager to encourage others through their experiences and lessons learned.

Bari Azman, cofounder of The Low Vision Shop, has a passion for building a supportive sight-loss community in the U.S. and beyond so that no one is alone in facing the challenges of living with low vision or blindness. “I feel incredibly privileged in welcoming Justin Bishop, Lex Gillette, and Dave Steele to The Low Vision Shop family as we continue to grow the sight-loss community,” said Azman.“ By sharing their journeys of setbacks and triumphs, of resilience and perseverance, these extraordinary athletes and poet help us understand what it is like to live with a disability. Over time, I look forward to highlighting more individuals living with sight loss who, like Justin, Lex, and Dave, are sure to inspire with their experiences of overcoming adversity and achieving excellence.”

Justin Bishop, a competitive skateboarder from Las Vegas, Nevada, became legally blind at age 20 from retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a hereditary degenerative condition that has no treatment or cure, and went on to lose much of his remaining vision during a single week at age 25. After a difficult year of depression and denial, he received mobility training, learned braille and how to text using voiceover, and eventually landed a position with Sport-Social, an organization that teaches social and motor skills to kids on the spectrum via skateboarding and other activities. ¬¬He continues to pursue his passion for competitive skateboarding as he challenges society’s preconceived notions about living with sight loss. “I am always trying to push myself out of my comfort zone,” said Bishop. “If I am comfortable, I am not progressing. I’m thrilled to be part of Bari’s movement to celebrate the sight-loss community, as we all learn from and inspire each other.”

Elexis "Lex" Gillette excels in track and field as the most accomplished, totally blind long and triple jumper in the history of U.S. Paralympics. He is the current world record holder in the long jump, a five-time Paralympic medalist, a four-time long jump world champion, and an 18-time national champion. He is the only totally blind athlete in the world to surpass the 22-foot barrier in the long jump. Gillette lost sight at the age of eight due to recurring detached retinas despite 13 corrective surgeries and adapted with the help of his visually impaired mother to learn braille, use a cane, and socialize. Off the track, his work as a speaker, author, and singer/songwriter motivates others to overcome personal barriers and achieve their full potential. Gillette authored “Fly!: Find Your Own Wings And Soar Above Life's Challenges,” an inspiring book filled with immense wisdom, and released a song on iTunes, “On the Stage.” “My mantra in life is: No need for sight when you have a vision,” said Gillette. “It’s not our eyes that solely determine success, it’s our ability to see a vision and then do everything in our power to bring it to fruition. At the end of the day, you decide what you can do. And no one else decides that. Being part of The Low Vision Shop family with Bari is wonderful way for us to connect with and empower the sight-loss community.”

When Dave Steele lost the majority of his vision to RP five years ago, the husband and father of four channeled his frustration into poetry as therapy to reach those who struggle with sight loss and help friends and family better understand the challenges of life with RP. His three-volume poetry collection entitled “Stand By Me RP” became the number one best-selling poetry series on three continents. In 2021, he released a children’s book entitled “Austin’s Amazing Adventures” that explores through poetry how a young boy who is slowly losing his sight navigates school and day-to-day life with his best friend and guide dog Joe. ”My goal every day is to create poetry that supports and inspires people who are living with low vision and blindness,” said Steele. “I want them to know that they are never alone and that resources exist to help them. Collaborating with Bari enables me to reach a wider audience with my poetry and to give back to the community that has supported me throughout my sight-loss journey.“

About The Low Vision Shop
The Low Vision Shop is a one-stop-shop for all assistive devices for low vision and blindness, including the latest in wearable technology. We are proud to be the go-to source for best-in-class low vision and blind assistive devices online, in our physical stores in the Baltimore area and South Florida, and with multiple B2B channels. Our trained professionals help individuals explore the latest advancements in low vision technology to find the best solutions for their stage of sight loss. We nurture and engage with the sight-loss community through in-house and virtual events, videos, demos, webinars, sponsorships, and social media.