Having experienced these levels of change has made me empathetic to you, if you’ve experienced loss of sight.
Magnify – Low Vision Equipment And Supply is a business built on the foundation of empathy, understanding and support. To experience vision loss at any level can be a traumatic event in most people’s lives. It can lead to depression and lack of hope for what the future may hold. With these three things; empathy, understanding and support, the potential of moving on and moving forward is possible. Empathy will create the feeling that one is not alone and can express to others whatever they are feeling. Understanding will build a safe environment to ask questions and explore opportunities that might help a person with vision loss to move forward. Support allows the person to continue trying new tools and push their comfort levels while feeling like the help of peers is going to hold up in challenging times. With these three tools and the right assistive products, the potential of success is bright.
Kent’s life experience with vision loss strengthens these core values. Leading and helping by past experience will give the customers the confidence to take on new challenges and push their boundaries to more fulfilling levels. Once the stereo-types of people with vision loss are removed and replaced with confidence and a “Yes, I can!” attitude, there are no limits.
The inspiration behind Magnify Low Vision Equipment and Supply is Kent Stewart. Kent is a long time resident of the Okanagan Valley and a member of the low vision community, from a young age. Along with Kent’s lifetime of different levels of vision loss, he brings many unique qualities to this needed service. Kent understands the value of working hard as he once was a ranch hand on one of the largest cattle ranches in the province and rode horseback for many hours, days, and months to help move cattle and provide some of the best beef around. Many people never get the chance to ride a horse let alone fill the role of a “cowboy” which from a young age installed that value of hard work, which continues to motivate him to wake up at 5a.m.! Even though Kent’s vision continued to decline, his need to succeed did not. Kent has an engineering diploma from BCIT and was one of the only people with vision loss to hold an NLGA lumber grading ticket. Among Kent’s many other accomplishments, he has a gold medal in curling at a national level and is a long time member and past manager of the local dragon boat team in Kelowna, the Sonar Dragon’s. Through Kent’s love of the outdoors, he is also a volunteer and participant in the CRIS group in Kelowna. This is an adaptive outdoor adventure group for people with disabilities which helps participants continue their outdoor dreams. Kent was dubbed the “blind Sherpa” after a documentary was made, where he climbed Mt. Begby glacier in Revelstoke, BC.
One of Kent’s greatest accomplishments is starting and continuing to run a peer support group for people in the Kelowna area. Being able to adapt to the current Covid environment and use different technology, such as Zoom, the group continues to thrive and is stronger than ever. Kent’s need to share and encourage others in his community to break down the barriers that hold individuals with vision loss back from obtaining their goals is the motivating factor behind Magnify Low Vision Equipment and Supply. Kent believes that now is a good time to be blind, in regards to all the tools available to those in need.
Magnify Low Vision Equipment and Supply is a business that bridges the separation and need for connection between understanding vision loss and providing tools to excel under these new and challenging changes. Many people may never experience vision loss personally or via a family member or friend. Unfortunately, these types of people are becoming less common. As people live longer and longer lives and spend more time with computer screens and other devices, the strain on the eyes becomes more and more. A variety of eye diseases are becoming more common around the world. Yet, at the same time the number of tools and types of technology also are increasing at a fast pace. Magnify Low Vision Equipment and Supply will combine the tools and technology to assist with the customers current level of vision while also providing support for how to use them to the betterment of the customers day to day life. Through every step of our service, the core values of empathy, understanding and support are the fabric that will hold our services above anything that currently is offered to the low vision community.